As IoT and M2M applications become more prevalent in smart cities, agriculture, transport and other industries, the level of protection needed for IoT projects cannot be underestimated. Whether the project is outdoor or in a dusty and dirty environment, the requirement for rugged enclosures to protect the delicate and mission-critical IoT hardware is essential.
Electronic enclosures need to be resilient and reliable. They must be able to perform in the most volatile of conditions to ensure the level of connectivity needed for a project or setting is not impacted by any environmental challenge.
Take no chances
This is where a passivation, or coating, is key. Hexavalent passivation is a less expensive option and the production control requirements are low, but enclosures with this type of coating are far more susceptible to damage including water and dust leakage. This is common of enclosures that are simply not robust enough to cope with the conditions they are exposed to. Water leakage typically results in a rusty motherboard while dust leakage significantly impacts the operation of electronics.
Moisture damage is another concern when a coating isn’t durable enough. This generates a build-up of condensation that can have destructive consequences. Although EN 60950-22 and IP67 rated enclosure solutions are highly effective at keeping out moisture, this problem can still occur where there is an imbalance of pressure inside and outside of an enclosure – when its vent fails to provide rapid pressure equalisation and release.
Your IoT equipment needs the best
The protection of your IoT equipment is paramount and that is why the protection of coatings such as that offered by SurTec® 650 is essential. It can provide enclosures with the best possible protection. SurTec® 650 is a chromium(VI)-free trivalent coating for aluminium. It is suitable for alloyed and casted aluminium and pre-treatment before lacquering, powder coating and gluing. Easily managed in immersion, spray and wipe application, SurTec® 650 has a low contact resistance and is heat resistant up to temperatures of 100°C – while maintaining impressive corrosion resistance. This is the difference between this liquid concentrate and a more commonly used hexavalent passivation – its excellence in delivering protection against corrosion thanks to its resistance to water, heat and contamination.
Stronger together: A sophisticated coating – and vent
Every enclosure has a vent, but not all vents can endure volatile conditions. A lighting enclosure, for example, requires more robust protection from both contaminants and condensation. Typically, a lighting enclosure will have higher internal temperatures and pressures, and transparent lenses make condensation more visible. This heightens the need to ensure pressure equalisation and to prevent any internal condensation, dust or dirt entering the enclosure.
This is exactly where GORE® vents come into play. From industrial lighting to marine lighting, GORE® vents have the capability to help protect enclosures from contamination and condensation in the harshest of environments, ensuring full functionality and preserving the life expectancy of sensitive electronics within them.
They are also hugely effective in maintaining enclosure sealings. Sealings are affected by extreme conditions and this again results in differing pressure. Pressure must be dissipated – a sudden decrease in temperature can create a vacuum inside an enclosure that puts constant pressure on housing seals, which over time will allow moisture and contaminants to be drawn inside. A vent that isn’t robust enough is a hidden killer. An electronic enclosure is better protected with a comprehensive coating, but if its vent doesn’t complement this high level of protection then electronics could be vulnerable to condensation and contamination.
The best of the best
GTT Wireless are proven experts in protecting electronics in challenging conditions. Our mSmart-Box® range of EN 60950-22 and IP67 rated enclosures are SurTec® 650 treated and are further enhanced by GORE® vents. These products and associated components are readily available in the UK and beyond – and designers can easily customise and visualise their order through our online enclosure design tool. GTT Wireless offers the highest possible quality vents and enclosure treatment as standard – so why settle for anything less in your wireless deployment?
Andy Bird, Managing Director, GTT Wireless