Electric.ie March/April 2023

ELECTRIC.IE • The Magazine & Website for the Irish Electrical Industry • 45 www.rittal.ie RRititatall Whilst untreated aluminium can be affected by corrosion if its exposed long enough to the outdoor elements. Aluminium doesn’t act like stainless steel does. When untreated, aluminium comes into contact with oxygen and it forms a thin coat of aluminium oxide that chemically bonds itself to the surface of the metal. Now this oxidisation doesn’t ake like rust does and therefore will stay intact unless its removed but, it can also regenerate if oxygen is present creating a protective layer over and over. Therefore, its reactive nature can be seen as a great asset to the material. The oxidisation of aluminium can look like a white powder on the surface of the material. If we look at using aluminium for outdoor enclosures, the material will have also been supplied with a powder coated surface. This powder coating offers yet another layer of protection increasing the lifetime of the material. Another consideration to all of the above is cost. When looking at these two materials on an enclosure basis, aluminium will be more cost effective than its stainless steel counterpart. Aluminium won’t be right for every application but neither is stainless steel. However aluminium is a serious contender and needs to be considered as a viable option for outdoor enclosure applications. All too often enclosures are chosen based on the wrong perceptions. The enclosure is there to protect the internal equipment from the outside elements and vice versa. In many cases the enclosure is housing critical infrastructure controls for power, airports, highways and rail to name a few. The equipment inside is only as good as the enclosure it is housed in. For further information on the entire Rittal range visit www.rittal.ie or check out our linkedin page @rittal-ireland