From simple junction box to central nervous system control of complex processing plants, the contents of enclosures are crucial to the safety of many people. Control enclosures in large chemical plants, electrical generating facilities, airports, mass transit systems or hospitals can house equipment critical to the well-being of numerous individuals.
Unauthorized or Accidental Operation
Rigorous security requirements are designed into key locations to prevent access by unauthorized or accidental operation of control equipment. Beyond external security measures, direct access to the enclosure is secured by the choice of hinges and latches and appropriate locking mechanisms.
In some applications the monetary value of the mounted equipment in an enclosure may be significant enough to justify additional security costs. A greater concern, however, is the economic consequences of unauthorized or accidental operation of a control system could have more severe implications than the value of the equipment.
Considerations When Selecting Enclosures
The most vulnerable part of enclosure access is the lock, NOT the box, regardless of the material. Various hinge and latch combinations are available to secure the contents of an enclosure. Although the security requirements will be unique for each application, the selection process should include at least the following considerations:
- Some enclosures are designed with hidden hinges and quarter turn latches or camlocks with security key access to make these features less prominent and subsequently, less vulnerable.
- The foremost consideration is access frequency. Whether an installation must be accessed daily, monthly or annually is very significant. Keeping unauthorized persons out is only slightly more important than insuring that keys or tools are available when access by authorized personnel is imminently required.
- Will the location or any specifications require a tool for opening? Will it require a padlock or other considerations for latches? In many cases when the enclosure is selected the hinge type is automatically selected because the hinge is an integral part of the enclosure. For some enclosures it is possible to select the hinge or an available hinge-less option.