There are all sorts of electrical certification available today – ISO certifications for quality standards, environmental standards, various country or regional certifications again, usually related to materials used and quality.
Meeting any standard adds cost to a product. Of all the standards that are very critical to most product buyers and users, it is those related to electrical use. No one wants to worry about an electrical plug melting when it is “plugged in”. In fact, such an incident would invite immediate government investigation (and in fact, has indeed done so!). Sometimes, the electrical certification is overlooked with vortex tube operated enclosure coolers because they do not use electricity. But, as they are used on electrical panels, ignoring the approvals can be a significant risk.
Nex Flow™ Air Products Corp. has a ULC electrical certification (RUL actually) for their vortex tube operated Panel Coolers to assure they meet USA electrical but also Canadian CSA standards which can be more stringent. This involved extensive testing by the Underwriters Laboratory organization to be assured that any water does not get into a control panel, that it is used properly (properly mounted) and in addition, meets quality requirements in materials used. For example, for NEMA 4X (IP 66) that the materials are appropriate for a corrosive environment and that a direct wash down does not cause water to get into an electrical enclosure. The UL organization does regular checks to assure the product maintains the standard as per the test results performed.
Nex Flow™ recently did a cursory investigation into some competitive products, in particular those that have not received UL or any particular certification while they claim that they meet particular and various NEMA standards. While not appropriate to mention names, we were shocked to find that despite their claims, some of these companies failed to meet the standard to keep water out of a control panel. Some units from others worked well to prevent moisture from getting in, but no assessment was made on materials used. When UL tests these devices, the materials used must also meet certain standards and they are evaluated as well.
If moisture gets into a control panel, it can be a costly expense as significant damage can occur. So just like when you purchase an electrical motor, a razor, an electric toothbrush, an electric screwdriver, etc. you want certain electrical approvals to be confident the items do not smoke, burn or otherwise cause potentially major damage. The importance of electrical certification on even a non-electric, vortex tube operated electrical enclosure cooler can be a major factor to reduce the risk of potentially major damage to an electrical enclosure.
Electrical certification on vortex tube operated control panel enclosures IS important.