An electrical enclosure is a cabinet which contains various electrical and electronic components. It serves two purposes: protecting the user from electrical shock and safeguarding the parts it covers from external damage. Electrical enclosures are designed to be functional as well as provide aesthetic value. They may also need to exhibit favorable properties with regards to electromagnetic interference, power dissipation, and electrical breakdown. The requirements of electrical enclosures are governed by various national regulatory standards. Stringent regulations are applicable to those used in hazardous areas facing fire or explosion risks, particularly applicable to locations such as coal mines and chemical plants where potential risks include flammable gases, combustible dust, and other volatile vapors or particles. Areas prone to lightning strikes or floods may also warrant use of special types of electrical enclosures.
Electrical enclosures protect electrical equipment such as power generators, transformers, and various telecommunication devices and contain electrical components such as knobs, switches, and displays. They are available in various sizes; although broadly, those used for industrial applications are larger than those used in residential areas. This market can be segmented into two groups: enclosures used in the power generation process and those used for transmission & distribution (T&D). This market can also be segmented by the type of material used to manufacture the enclosure into the following categories: plastics, plastic composites, metals, and metal alloys. Plastics typically used for electrical enclosures include acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polycarbonate, and styrenic polymers, which can also be reinforced with glass or carbon fibers to increase their mechanical and temperature resistance. PVC was commonly employed for this purpose but its usage has been discouraged as it does not meet modern standards. Among metals and alloys, stainless steel, carbon steel, and aluminum find wide usage. Metal enclosures are sturdier, durable, and offer better protection to environmental elements but are also costlier and difficult to mold compared to plastic enclosures.
Increasing demand for energy and electricity is driving the global electrical enclosures market. China is likely to be a lucrative market due to the rapid industrialization in this country. Expansion of the electrical enclosures market in developed countries in Europe & North America is projected to be moderate (as power infrastructure is already well-developed in these regions) and driven by the installation of power stations running on renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind energy. The need to upgrade the power infrastructure in emerging countries is likely to propel the market for electrical enclosures in the near future. India, Indonesia, and Nigeria are estimated to invest substantially in the utilities sector in the next decade as several parts in these countries do not have access to reliable sources of electricity. The use of better quality materials to manufacture electrical enclosures is also anticipated to become prevalent in these countries with low-cost materials such as PVC expected to be phased out. Demand for good quality electrical enclosures is high in the oil & gas industry. Other major end-users of this market include the power generation, water & wastewater, and mining industries.
The global electrical enclosures market is highly competitive and fragmented with the presence of a few prominent companies and a high number of smaller players in the unorganized sector. Key players in this market are Eaton Corporation, ABB Ltd, Rittal GmbH & Co. KG, Schneider Electric SE, Hubbell, Inc., Emerson Electric Company, Legrand, Eldon Holding AB, Pentair Plc., and AZZ Inc.
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