Solving the Problem of Creating Watertight NEMA-4X Stainless Steel Enclosures

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Mar 26, 2014

Making a NEMA-4X rated enclosure might seem like an easy task to some. Most people assume that an enclosure should be impervious to moisture as long as it has a good sealant on the door, but that isn’t always enough to keep your equipment safe.

stainless steel enclosure

When we make enclosures, we make sure to use a durable, non-porous rubber sealant to keep airborne moisture out, but this is only really the first step in making a good enclosure. A bigger problem in modern day industrial facilities is the impact of high pressure water when equipment is being washed.


If the sealant has nothing to protect it, high pressure water can be pushed through cracks or actually damage the sealant if the washdown is done carelessly.

The second step in waterproofing an enclosure to survive in a washdown environment is some sort of protection for the sealant. For this, we use “rain gutters” where the enclosure contacts the door. These gutters are basically a curved lip that runs around the edge of the enclosure opening.

stainless steel enclosure

The purpose of the rain gutters is primarily to redirect incoming water away from the seal. When water hits the rain gutters, it hits the curved lip and is redirected in the opposite direction because of the angle of the lip. This takes a majority of the pressure away from the seal so that it can focus on keeping airborne moisture or particulates out.

The rain gutters and sealant are an important combination, but the last essential piece is a proper door latch. The seal doesn’t mean much without something to hold it in contact with the enclosure. To do this, you need a door latch that both keeps the door shut and applies pressure. The door latch we use turns to lock in place and the latch squeezes the door down as it enters the closed position.

These three parts function as a whole to make some of the best watertight enclosures you can find, and as long as you respect the enclosure when it comes to cleaning and maintenance, they should last a long time.

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