Stahlin Non-Metallic Enclosures solves the need for major utility company to reliably protect pump controls in an extremely hot and humid environment.

The Situation

A large east coast utility company was experiencing failure of controls installed in manholes vaults underground that were monitoring the water level in steam tunnels and underground vaults.

The controls managed floats and pumps for pumping water and fluid from steam tunnel vaults situated below city level. These controls are critical for sump pump operations because they will turn on the pumps whenever the water reaches a level deemed unsafe for city streets.

When the utility engineering team initially specified the nonmetallic enclosure option to house the controls they were under the impression that the controls would be at least 12 feet away from the steam. After some research, the team deemed that a polycarbonate option would be the best cost effective option and was purchased for the application.

However, after initial installation of controls housed in the polycarbonate enclosure, the engineering team discovered many field failures because many of the installed controls were closer to the steam than 12 feet, thus, they failed due to high heat and humidity that would transfer through the steam tunnels and conduit raceway. The team needed to find a better enclosure material option.

The Challenge

The environment these controls are placed in is extremely tough on the enclosures and controls inside. The environment is hot, humid, and exposed to corrosive elements such as chemicals every minute of every day.

As these utilities engineers discovered, polycarbonate is not a good non-metallic option for these extreme conditions. They had to start over and find the best material that could protect the controls properly.

The enclosure needed to protect controls from:
• Possible submersion
• Working temperature 150-212° F
• Humidity – 100%
• Chemicals – Road salt, rain water, oil, grease, diesel, and
others unknown

The Solution

The engineering team selected several fiberglass enclosures to test, including the J Series from Stahlin Non-Metallic Enclosures. The team tested the enclosures in a submersed vault, registering more than 212 degrees. The goal was to see what option could last the longest.

The Stahlin J Series survived for two to two-and-a-half months before being removed for inspection and was found still in working order while a competitor’s product failed within weeks.

Putting an enclosure in the field for testing is essential, especially when you need to prove the change will guarantee a 90 percent uptime of the controls.

Because of the success of the Stahlin enclosures during the field-testing in this high heat and humidity application, the utility company continues to purchase Stahlin J Series fiberglass NEMA 4X enclosures for these critical controls.

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