Non-metallic enclosures: the future for trackside installation

Samuel James is a manufacturer and supplier of points heating systems for the UK rail network, helping to ensure that in cold weather Britain's travel infrastructure doesn't freeze. The company is committed to improving its technology to prolong the lifespan of its products and maximise their safety. Chris Wall, Samuel James Design Engineer, explains why he believes that a move away from metallic enclosures at track side is vital. Similar arguments are applicable to other types of equipment and machinery located in harsh outdoor environments.

When designing any external electrical application one of the first, and most vital, considerations is the choice of enclosure. Apart from the obvious considerations, such as its level of ingress protection and how it will stand up to the massively varying temperatures that will be experienced, it is important to think about the location of the product and any possible hazards that it may face during its lifespan. In the rail industry there are many of these hazards that spring to mind.

Life by the trackside can be very tough. Fumes and brake dust can be very abrasive and debris is often sent flying at extremely high speeds. All Samuel James products are delivered with a 25-year lifespan guaranteed, so it is vital to be sure that the enclosures in which they are housed will not corrode or weaken in the harsh environment. With the proposed investment in electrification which is coming into effect across the UK it is also important to consider the danger of electrocution to maintenance workers.

Samuel James' points heating systems are installed at thousands of railway junctions across the UK. Each system consists of a large control unit which is designed to constantly monitor and maintain the temperatures of multiple points at a pre-determined, optimum temperature.

Connected to these control units are approximately four or five smaller units, located by the track, which each provide the information for an individual set of points. These units include external temperature probes which require a further, smaller, trackside enclosure.

With each installation featuring 10 or more enclosures placed right by the trackside, a lot of time is spent considering options to guarantee that 25-year promise. Increasingly, this has led to a move away from the traditional metallic enclosures - which are prone to corrosion, denting and are highly conductive - to non-metallic alternatives. Samuel James now exclusively use the Spelsberg range of glass reinforced polyester (GRP) enclosures for trackside installations and the polycarbonate TG range to house the temperature probes.

Maximum internal space

Spelsberg's heavy duty GRP enclosures provide effective corrosion resistance for electrical and electronic controls in the harsh and abrasive environments found trackside. The material offers a high level of rigidity at minimal thickness, meaning that maximum internal space is provided for installation while protection from external impacts - such as stone chippings - is assured.

Having subjected the enclosures to rigorous testing, it was found that the tough GRP and polycarbonate construction provides improved protection against knocks when compared with traditional metal enclosures. In addition, they provide IP68 protection, are resistant to the corrosive effect of brake dust, fumes and the weather, and afford superb electrical insulation - in turn improving safety for maintenance crews.

Doors can be left or right mounted, and the hinging allows door opening to up to 240 degrees for easy access into the enclosures. An integral drip shield directs liquids away from the door shield in external environments, and options include key locks for security and a stylised window door which provides easy visual inspection of interior components.

CNC machining of plastic enclosures is readily available, and all enclosures are received fully assembled with entry points pre-drilled and fitted with hinged lids to improve access once on site.

Together with the ability to customise designs, this means that installers simply need to mount three or four terminals and they are finished, which reduces trackside installation times significantly. With sponsorship from its customers, Samuel James expects to receive PADS (Parts and Drawings Systems) approval for the new enclosures which will allow their use for all future projects.

Customisable enclosures

There have been many benefits from having a partner with the technical expertise and in-house manufacturing facilities of Spelsberg. Its GRP and polycarbonate enclosures are available in many standard sizes, which can then be quickly customised and assembled in large or small order quantities. Entry points can be sealed with traditional IP68 dome topped cable glands or quick action grommets which provide IP67 seals with installation in under a minute.

Spelsberg also offer a range of modular enclosures which allow the user to build large enclosures to specific dimensions. Development work is taking place with the company's sales engineers to develop a product for the larger main control units.

Working trackside will always be a dangerous place for maintenance crews and a harsh environment for equipment. As manufacturer, Samuel James has a responsibility to ensure that all components prevent further hazards from being introduced whilst simplifying the work that needs to be undertaken. Having found that plastic enclosures provide significant benefits to the protection and longevity of trackside electronics, it is now committed to investing in this technology and providing complete electrical insulation at every stage on all systems.

For further details about non-metallic enclosures from Spelsberg, go to www.spelsberg.co.uk.

Spelsberg Els UK Ltd

Unit 1B Queensway Business Park
Hadley Park West
TELFORD
TF1 6AL
UNITED KINGDOM

+44 (0)1952 605849

sales@spelsberg.co.uk

www.spelsberg.co.uk

More from Spelsberg Els UK Ltd

On the charge!

Posted 6 days ago

Switching into LV switchgear enclosure mode

Posted 1 week ago

Fast prototypes for industrial enclosures

Posted 2 weeks ago

The path to faster development of industrial enclosures

Posted 1 month ago

New configurator has it figured out

Posted 2 months ago

Protection reaches a critical junction

Posted 3 months ago

EVs – a highly charged topic

Posted 4 months ago

Industrial enclosures – more than just the box

Posted 4 months ago

Developments in charging technology

Posted 6 months ago

Mini size junction boxes now available

Posted 6 months ago

New fire-resistant enclosure maintains electrical system safety

Posted 8 months ago

Enclosure customisation is key for fire safety control unit

Posted 8 months ago

Enclosures for outdoor electrical installations

Posted 11 months ago

Hand sanitiser dispenser manufacturer demands rugged enclosures

Posted 1 year ago

Customised enclosures for extreme and challenging environments

Posted 1 year ago

Spelsberg UK working hard to maintain UK stocks

Posted 1 year ago

Take a virtual tour of Spelsberg's electrical enclosures

Posted 1 year ago

Spelsberg GRP enclosure installed in UK's deepest mine

Posted 1 year ago

Movie of the month

Posted 1 year ago

Quick delivery on printing and labelling of enclosures

Posted 1 year ago

How to specify enclosures for environmental management systems

Posted 1 year ago

Spelsberg helps UK machine builders to beat Brexit uncertainty

Posted 1 year ago

Fast turnaround on customised enclosures

Posted 1 year ago

GEOS enclosures are suitably rugged for coastal applications

Posted 1 year ago

Extensive stocks of Spelsberg enclosures held in the UK

Posted 2 years ago

Overnight customised enclosures thanks to in-house machining

Posted 2 years ago

Video shows the extreme tests endured by Spelsberg enclosures

Posted 2 years ago

Praise for Spelsberg UK's Pro-Active technical telesales service

Posted 2 years ago

Spelsberg customised enclosures feature in educational rig

Posted 2 years ago

Movie of the month

Posted 2 years ago

Spelsberg enclosures speed fast-food kitchen fit-outs

Posted 2 years ago

GEOS enclosures provide protection in aggressive environments

Posted 2 years ago

Enclosures ensures lift passengers can make emergency calls

Posted 2 years ago

Drives and Controls celebrate 18 years of Spelsberg distribution

Posted 3 years ago

Spelsberg and CED offer top-class junction boxes to wholesalers

Posted 3 years ago

Spelsberg UK turns 20: learning from the past, moving forward

Posted 3 years ago

Combating condensation in enclosure installations

Posted 3 years ago

Spelsberg aids efficiency in offsite heat exchange builds

Posted 3 years ago

Where to position electrical enclosures

Posted 3 years ago

John Clarke is new Spelsberg Area Sales Manager for West region

Posted 3 years ago

Free expert advice from enclosureanswers.com

Posted 3 years ago

Distribution board helps keep divers' pressure stable

Posted 3 years ago

Next-day custom enclosure samples keep projects on schedule

Posted 3 years ago

Spelsberg custom enclosures in dairy farming applications

Posted 4 years ago

Tough enclosures bring safety and endurance to road tankers

Posted 4 years ago

Spelsberg shows its true colours for superior customer service

Posted 4 years ago

Spelsberg appoints Chris Smith as South West Area Sales Manager

Posted 4 years ago

Ultraviolet considerations when specifying an enclosure

Posted 4 years ago

Spelsberg fit and forget thermostat keeps frost and snow at bay

Posted 4 years ago

Bespoke cabling systems company grows with Spelsberg enclosures

Posted 4 years ago

Spelsberg aluminium enclosures expected to prove a hit

Posted 4 years ago

Spelsberg offers farmers world-class electrical enclosures

Posted 4 years ago

WAGO uses Spelsberg enclosures for new pre-mounted products

Posted 4 years ago

Spelsberg laboratory approved for in-house UL certification

Posted 4 years ago

Spelsberg offers upgrade to classic Abox design

Posted 4 years ago

Enclosures speed rewiring of automated manufacturing systems

Posted 4 years ago

GRP: the best of both worlds for trackside enclosures?

Posted 5 years ago

Commercial salad growers box clever with Spelsberg

Posted 5 years ago

Modular distribution enclosures improve "˜Smart Building'

Posted 5 years ago

Managing heat in electrical enclosures

Posted 5 years ago

Spelsberg slashes lead times on custom orders

Posted 5 years ago

Customised standard enclosures are quick and cost-effective

Posted 5 years ago

Spelsberg UK plans for growth in 2016 to support market demands

Posted 5 years ago

Spelsberg Pro-Active simplifies ordering for reduced lead times

Posted 5 years ago

Stealth enclosures for covert operations

Posted 5 years ago

Quickly find the right enclosure with new Spelsberg UK website

Posted 5 years ago

High-quality GRP heavy duty enclosures from Spelsberg

Posted 5 years ago

Spelsberg launches steel enclosure range

Posted 5 years ago

Ready-made enclosures for water treatment industry

Posted 5 years ago

1000+ bespoke enclosures moulded and assembled in 4 weeks

Posted 5 years ago

A-Z of electrical enclosures

Posted 6 years ago

Integrated ventilation with Spelsberg's AK Air enclosures

Posted 6 years ago

Trace heating thermostats keep water treatment plants running

Posted 6 years ago

Innovative electrical enclosures for new aircraft carriers

Posted 6 years ago

How to select the best material for an electrical enclosure

Posted 6 years ago

The questions to ask when specifying an electrical enclosure

Posted 6 years ago

Spelsberg expands current TK enclosure range

Posted 6 years ago

Metal vs. plastic: specification of large outdoor enclosures

Posted 6 years ago

Rapid-Box: bespoke fire-resistant junction box

Posted 6 years ago

Specialised coatings improve enclosure performance

Posted 6 years ago

Spelsberg claims largest selection of non-metallic enclosures

Posted 7 years ago

Spelsberg WKE enclosures used for emergency systems

Posted 7 years ago

Bespoke moulding service speeds up repeat orders from Spelsberg

Posted 7 years ago

Customised enclosures help prevent freezing pipes

Posted 7 years ago

Service over supply from Spelsberg

Posted 7 years ago

Spelsberg appoints David Mills as Area Sales Manager for NW

Posted 7 years ago

Chris Lloyd confirmed as Spelsberg UK MD

Posted 7 years ago

Abox Magic GT gel provides IP68 ratings to 15 metres

Posted 7 years ago

How to select correct IP ratings for electrical enclosures

Posted 7 years ago

An introduction to electrical enclosure specification

Posted 7 years ago

Customised enclosures reduce costs and improve quality

Posted 7 years ago

Flexibility and reliability for airflow control unit enclosures

Posted 8 years ago

Spelsberg reduces lead times with new UK headquarters

Posted 8 years ago

Composite junction boxes for aircraft carrier lighting systems

Posted 8 years ago

Composite junction boxes used on RN aircraft carriers

Posted 8 years ago

Understanding ingress protection in electrical enclosures

Posted 8 years ago

Spelsberg will improve lead times on customised products

Posted 8 years ago

Revamped GTi range speeds up switchgear installation

Posted 8 years ago

Spelsberg UK sales team is strengthened with new appointments

Posted 8 years ago

Spelsberg launches its 'Space for you' campaign

Posted 8 years ago

New B-Box from Spelsberg offers quick, waterproof installation

Posted 8 years ago

Which is the best material for your application's enclosure?

Posted 9 years ago

Waterproof gel-filled enclosures are reusable

Posted 13 years ago

Non-metallic enclosures cope with harsh outdoor environments

Posted 13 years ago

Rugged Norma PC and ABS enclosures are sealed to IP65

Posted 13 years ago

IP66 enclosures selected for water shut-off valve controls

Posted 13 years ago

Custom junction box moulded in high-grade black plastic

Posted 13 years ago

Spelsberg products available through Farnell

Posted 14 years ago

Modular enclosures maintain IP65 protection

Posted 14 years ago

Rugged enclosures are suitable for fire engine applications

Posted 14 years ago

TK enclosures are tough enough for classrooms

Posted 14 years ago

More technical articles