To protect the industrial network switch from the harsh environment, the enclosure plays the core role in fitting the standard of industrial grade. Compared to the most used material, iron, aluminium, another widely used metal material, has several advantages for shell material choice.
These advantages are listed below:
Light Weight & High strength-to-weight Ratio
As a known lightweight metal, it has a specific weight of approximately 2.71 g/cm3, according to Fiberroad.com. It’s about a third of iron’s weight, making it easier and cheaper to transport than most other metals. What’s more, aluminium is not much weaker than steel in strength with only 1/3 weight. So, the impact resistance performance is undoubted for an industrial network switch.
Aluminium is a corrosion-resistant metal that naturally generates a protective coating (Al₂O₃). The coating formed is skinny and is generated when aluminium comes into contact with an oxidising environment. This protective aluminium oxide layer helps protect the surface of the metal from corrosion. Additionally, getting surface treatment such as painting or anodising can further improve the overall corrosion resistance of the metal.
Heat Dissipation of Industrial Network Switch
Aluminium is not only a better conductor of heat than iron or steel but also one of the best conductors of heat within the common economical material. It permits heat to move to the surface, which can dissipate (by radiation or conduction to the air).
Here listed the ability to hear conductivity for some common metal material (In watts per meter per degree (K):
Pure Iron: 83
Carbon steels: 30 to 60.
Cast Irons: 14 to 48
Stainless Steel: 18
Dust Proof of Industrial Network Switch
The shell could fulfil the standard of IP40 by adopting aluminium as a material. Thanks to better heat dissipation of aluminium shell, additional heat protection method no longer seems necessary. There is no need to remain small holes on the enclosure to increase heat dissipation. Thus, the shell is a whole sealed object with better dust protection. This is the critical issue that distinguishes IP40 Industrial Network Switch from IP30.
Another benefit of Aluminum for heat resistance is that it is a good reflector. This means aluminium shells can reflect heat from the environment better than iron. This also enhances the industrial network switch performance to resistance against extremely high temperatures, up to 75℃.
Cold Weather Applications
While iron becomes brittle in freezing temperatures, aluminium becomes stronger as the temperatures fall. This makes industrial network switches an excellent choice for cold weather applications and environments where strength and durability are required for use or operation. The aluminium alloy is highly resilient and can even flex under loads or spring back from the impact shock. This is why custom and standard aluminium extrusion has become valuable to the transportation industries.
Contrary to what most people think, aluminium is 100% recyclable, and during the recycling process, it retains all of its original properties. Thus, people can produce less aluminium for the exact demand of material. In addition, ideally, no scrapped aluminium would enter the ecological environment. Conclusively, aluminium material is more environment-friendly than iron.