MITIGATING CONDENSATION WITHIN ENCLOSURES – Hoffman
One of the biggest challenges the food and beverage processing industry faces is condensation. Although enclosures are designed to protect sensitive systems and controls, it is difficult to prevent moisture from collecting and forming condensation within an enclosure.
Quick Condensation Lesson:
Condensation results when moist air is cooled or comes in contact with a cool surface that is at or below its dew point, which inhibits the air’s ability to hold moisture and causes water vapor to condense on available surfaces.
Condensation = Corrosion -> Effects of Corrosion:
- Increased electrical resistance • Additional generation of heat
- Decreased and inconsistent component performance
- Rusting of critical electrical components
- Increased risk of circuits shorting out
- Dangerous occurrences of arcing and sparking.
How to best solve:
|ENCLOSURE DESIGN||In selecting an enclosure, it is important to examine the application it will be placed in. Then select an enclosure while taking into consideration the certifications, shape, material, hinge type and latching mechanism to decide whether it matches your specific needs.|
|GASKET MATERIAL||A more robust solution is the use of a solid membrane gasket material such as food grade silicone rubber. It includes a more durable seal and cannot retain moisture within the gasket material which can harbor bacteria.|
|COOLING SOLUTIONS||Air conditioners resolve heat related component failure and are an effective method to reduce humidity levels within an enclosure. An additional benefit is that the air inside of the enclosure is sealed from the outside, which eliminates contaminants from entering the enclosure.|
|HEATERS||Heaters provide a sufficient ambient temperature to hold the relative humidity from condensing in the enclosure while processing lines are not in operation. It can also prevent hot washdown water from creating a vacuum inside the enclosure that will draw in liquids.|
|VENT DRAINS||Vent drains are a simple way to allow liquid accumulated in the bottom of an enclosure to drain out. A rated one-way Type 4/4X Vent Drain will prevent washdown from entering through the drain. It will also provide the benefit of equalizing the pressure within the enclosure, further preventing water ingress.|
|DEHUMIDIFIERS||Thermoelectric dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air within an enclosure, providing an inexpensive yet highly effective way to protect electrical components from condensation.|
|THERMOSTATS||Thermostats can be used to control heating or cooling equipment, or both. This may be useful when enclosed components are producing excessive amounts of heat during production and then need to be heated to prevent condensation when equipment is idle.|
|HYGROTHERMS||Electronic hygro-therms sense ambient temperature and relative air humidity, then adjusts a connected device to maintain temperature and humidity set points.|
|HYGROSTATS||Mechanical hygrostats control relative air humidity inside enclosures to prevent condensation and corrosion that can damage components. It can also be connected to an enclosure heater, cooling fans, warning lights or other devices. The critical relative humidity level for most components is 65 percent. Above that level, condensation can form and cause electronic equipment to malfunction.|
|CORROSION INHIBITORS||Although corrosion is impossible to completely eliminate, corrosion inhibitors provide an advantage when battling residual traces of moisture inside of an enclosure. Inhibitors contain a special chemical combination that vaporizes and condenses on all surfaces in an enclosed area. Vapors will redeposit as needed in the event that condensation reoccurs. These vapors reach every part of an enclosure, protecting all interior components. Spraying, wiping or greasing are not required.|