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Integra Enclosures: An Introduction to Stainless Steel Enclosures


June 24, 2021

Why Choose Stainless Steel Enclosures?

Stainless steel enclosures improve workplace safety by protecting sensitive electronics and other components. Today, when electronic systems play a crucial role in industrial settings, stainless steel enclosures are a durable and effective long-term solution for eliminating hazards and ensuring that all processes run smoothly.

Uses for Stainless Steel Enclosures

The extreme conditions found in many industrial settings call for special protective measures. Extreme temperatures, corrosive substances, and rain can be constant threats in many industrial facilities. Stainless steel enclosures can safeguard sensitive components from all these threats and can be adapted to the specific needs of different industries.

Stainless steel encloses are often used in locations that involve the following:

  •    –   Oil and gas processing
  •    –   Food and beverage production and packaging
  •    –   Waste and water treatment
  •    –   Seafood processing
  •    –   Pharmaceutical products manufacturing
  •    –   High level sanitization

Enclosures made from stainless steel can be installed in factories, warehouses, power plants, hospitals, ships, ports, marines, and other locations. They are a versatile solution that can be implemented across industries.

Benefits of Stainless Steel Enclosures

Stainless steel enclosures are some of the most durable, reliable, and versatile enclosures available. They are easy to install and maintain. Here are the key benefits you can expect.

Temperature resistant

Stainless steel enclosures provide internal as well as external heat protection. They are a safe choice for enclosing electronic systems that generate heat during use. At the same time, they are ideal in industrial settings where high temperatures from external sources may damage the enclosed components.

Damage resistant

Stainless steel enclosures are extremely strong and resistant and can withstand accidental damage and other accidents. Few materials have a better strength-to-mass ratio than stainless steel.

Resistant to corrosion

Due to its chromium component, stainless steel has a thin oxide layer that protects it from corrosion resulting from weather conditions and other common corrosives.

Facilitates sanitization

Stainless steel is bacteria-resistant because of its non-porous surface. It’s an easy to clean material, which makes it a preferred choice in food and drink processing factories as well as medical facilities where sanitization is imperative.

Highly customizable

Stainless steel can be forged into any shape without loss of strength. This ensures that stainless steel enclosures can be adapted and customized according to your needs.

Visually attractive

Enclosures made from stainless steel are easy to integrate into almost any industrial setting because of their professional, timeless look. They blend in seamlessly with other materials and textures.

Fully recyclable

Stainless steel enclosures are an environmentally friendly choice that can help improve sustainability in your facility. Because of its durability, stainless steel can remain in good condition for decades, which makes it fully recyclable at the end of its life cycle.

What to Consider When Choosing Stainless Steel Enclosures

Functionality and durability are key considerations. However, to make a fully informed choice, it’s important to consider a few other essential factors.


Height, width, and depth vary depending on where the enclosure will be installed and what it will protect. Both standard sizes and custom sizes are available.

Environment Rating

Some stainless steel enclosures are designed specifically for indoor use while others can also be installed outdoors.

Door Type

The enclosure may feature one or more doors as well as different opening mechanisms, such as hinged.

Latch and Lock

Determines the type of locking system built in for protection. For example, patented locking systems may work with padlocks.

Type of Mount

Enclosures can be mounted on the floor or on walls. Other mounting options may be available for custom enclosures. Choosing the right mount type facilitates both installation and maintenance.

NEMA Rating

The NEMA rating defines what kind of protection the enclosure can provide—that is, whether it can protect from dust, gases, rain, etc. Learn more about this rating later in the article.

Steel Quality

100% stainless steel enclosures provide the best protection and finish and the longest long-term value.


Most enclosures tend to provide some form of ventilation, but it’s important to choose one that provides sufficient crossflow ventilation for the electric components to function optimally without overheating.


Grounding specifications ensure that the enclosure design can protect the equipment it encloses as well as workers from the adverse effects of electric shocks. The best stainless steel enclosures conform to the standards published and promoted by NEMA, IEC, and UL.

Light Duty Versus Heavy Duty

In addition to basic protection for the systems they enclose, heavy-duty enclosures can provide additional protection against vandalism and other types of damage, intentional or otherwise.

What You Need to Know About Stainless Steel Grades

There are many stainless steel alloys in use.  When it comes to stainless steel enclosures, the most commonly used grades are 304 and 316. When choosing between the two, it’s important to consider their resistance to corrosion as well as other factors determined by the quality of the steel, such as strength and heat tolerance.

304 Stainless Steel Enclosures

304 Stainless Steel contains a high concentration of chromium (18% ) and 8% nickel. A heavy-duty material, it’s often used in kitchen appliances, hospitals, and waste treatment facilities.


  •    –   Heavy duty
  •    –   Affordable
  •    –   Resistant to corrosion
  •    –   Bends without loss of strength


  •    –   Susceptible to damage resulting from high-salinity environments and other strong corrosives.

316 Stainless Steel Enclosures

This high-grade material contains 16% chromium, 10% nickel, and 2% molybdenum. 316 Stainless Steel offers the same benefits as 304 Stainless Steel with the addition that it’s more resistant to corrosion. It’s the natural choice in environments where 304 may withstand corrosion or salinity-related damage.

Understanding NEMA Ratings

Stainless steel enclosures that meet NEMA ratings can withstand corrosion and other adverse environmental conditions. NEMA ratings can guide your choice and ensure you select the right enclosure for your needs. There are dozens of NEMA enclosure ratings—you can find the full list here.

Here’s an overview of some of the key ratings you need to know.

  •    –   NEMA 1– Protection against solid objects for indoor enclosures.
  •    –   NEMA 2– Protection from solid objects as well as falling water.
  •    –   NEMA 3R– Weather protection including rain, snow, or dust, as well as drainage in humid environments.
  •    –   NEMA 4– Protection against ice, rain, dust, and water from a hose for indoor and outdoor enclosures.
  •    –   NEMA 4X– Provides the same protection as NEMA 4 with additional protection for corrosion.
  •    –   NEMA 12– Protection from non-corrosive liquids and the effects of external objects for indoor enclosures.
  •    –   NEMA 13– Protection against non-corrosive coolants, external solids, and oil.




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