The Problems with Mixing Washdown Enclosures and Mild Steel

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Jun 12, 2014

The main role of any enclosure is simply to protect electronic equipment from the elements in plants and factories. For this reason, any good enclosure is made out of stainless steel because it is both strong and resistant to the elements.

washdown computers

NEMA-4X Washdown Rated SS Enclosure

Most enclosures these days aren’t made out of mild steel because it would have to be painted to resist rusting from washdown procedures, and the paint wears off and needs to be replaced as well. Stainless steel is always the best options because you can get it wet and never have to worry about rusting. However, just because a company promotes stainless steel doesn’t mean that they have the best handling practices with it.

A lot of people don’t realize that good stainless steel can become “contaminated” or mixed with other steels if they come into contact.

washdown computer

Basically, when you machine and polish mild steel, it tends to flake off and stay on whatever machines or tools you are working with. If you use those same machines to work with stainless, you could inadvertently push those flakes into the stainless steel with enough pressure. When mild steel impregnates stainless steel this way, it is nearly impossible to detect. Because of this, poorly-handled enclosures might be spotted with small areas of rust here and there, where the flakes are embedded.

There are many precautions that we take to avoid this happening with our enclosures and most of our other products as well. We make sure that any other metals are entirely separated from our stainless steel starting with incoming raw material until we actually have shipped the final products.

When being shipped in and out, the stainless steel sheets we use are usually covered in protective plastic to keep it from scratching up against any other metal. We make sure not to use the same machines or tools for each type of metal.

Without this sort of attention to detail, we wouldn’t be able to provide people with enclosures that can stand up to some of the harshest environments. If you have heavy washdown cycles in your plant, they would make a great addition.

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