Are you over-specifying your cabinets and enclosures?

Are you over-specifying your cabinets and enclosures?

Over-specification is more common than you think

We’re regularly approached by customers asking for cabinets or enclosures that, once we delve into the detail with them, are over specified for the job they need to do. When you consider the critical equipment that will be inside the enclosure; it’s through life operating costs and the important role it will play, it’s very easy to see why you want to ‘gold-plate’ your enclosures. But unnecessary features lead to higher purchase and potentially higher maintenance costs.  

Here are just a few of the common areas that risk over-specification which we see time and time again. 

Water resistance

For most exterior enclosures, an IP rating of IP54, which gives water protection from any direction, will usually provide all the moisture protection needed, even factoring in wetter and stormier winters.

Thermal load

Predicting the heat load from the equipment within the enclosure and the likely additional solar load on the exterior of the enclosure can be difficult. It’s common for customers to use the rated capacity of the equipment’s power supply as a baseline for thermal load, but this can create high figures that will demand expensive cooling systems and even air conditioning. In practice, the thermal load generated is likely to be significantly lower. A more relevant baseline for predicting thermal load is thermal data collected from equipment operating in the field.   


Overly stringent specifications regarding the impact of an enclosure on its environment can have a significant of impact on the complexity of the enclosure’s design. Let’s take electromagnetic emissions from the enclosure as an example. The fact is that almost all modern electronic equipment is designed to be compliant with electromagnetic compatibility regulations, so it’s only in very exceptional cases additional protection will be required. 

Multiple enclosures

Another area that can lead to huge over specification and run away with budgets is specifying for a large fleet of enclosures with a single enclosure design. The outcome, especially in cases where hundreds of enclosures housing multiple types and combinations of equipment are involved, means that the vast majority will be over specified. The best approach to avoid unnecessarily complex enclosures is with modular design, making changes to a standard design only where needed. 

By specifying for the job in hand, rather than ‘throwing everything at it’, will save you money at the outset, potential lifetime maintenance costs and lead-time.

We always recommend specifying outdoor cabinets through consultation, especially for the rail, telecoms and data sectors. Our methodology is Consult, Make, Design and Protect; we take the time to understand your needs, that of your equipment, its purpose and location and then bring our wide experience and knowledge to design cabinets are fit for their actual purpose, ensuring all potential challenges are accounted for.

Get in touch today with one of our experts and we’ll take the over-specification out of your brief. 

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