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Keeping enclosures cool in a hygienic way

06 November 2017

Climate control of electrical enclosures using water cooling can be an efficient solution, especially if there is already a central cold water supply available in the production plant. Because water has a higher thermal capacity than air, liquid cooling can dissipate large quantities of heat. All that’s left to do is to mount suitable air/water heat exchangers on the enclosure. 

However, in the food industry, there are other considerations, relating to hygiene. Machinery, plant and components must be able to withstand daily cleaning with pressure washers and jet steam cleaners. All surfaces must also be easy to clean, and/or designed to prevent contaminants from adhering to them. The new Hygienic Design air/water heat exchangers from Rittal are designed for just such environments. 

With Hygienic Design, no air exchange takes place between the enclosure and the environment, reducing the risk of contamination. The design has recently been modified in a number of ways. The attachment to the enclosure wall using threaded bolts and nuts, for example, has been designed so that the screw fastening is not visible from the outside. The enclosure is made from stainless steel with a brushed grain size of 400, producing a surface roughness Ra of less than 0.8 µm. The smooth surface finish is easy to clean and disinfect. There are no hard-to-clean gaps where contamination could collect.

The silicone seal between the enclosure and the case prevents the transfer of colourants, flavourings and unwanted odours. The seal eliminates gaps between the air/water heat exchanger and the enclosure which would be difficult to clean. 

The seals are dyed blue in accordance with FDA Guideline 21 CFR 177.2600, making them clearly distinguishable from contaminants such as food residues. The flat seals on the water connection fittings are likewise dyed blue, and geometrically designed to sit flush against the shape of the fitting. A metal end stop prevents compression of the seal, so that edges cannot protrude and allow contaminants or micro-organisms to accumulate.

Tested hygiene
The top of the enclosure tilts forwards by 30° to prevent objects from being placed on top of the enclosure, while at the same time ensuring that liquids, such as detergents and disinfectants, run off quickly. 

Air/water heat exchangers have protection categories of IP56/59, meeting the demanding requirements of pressure washing and steam cleaning.

The Hygienic Design was tested by the DGUV Food department testing and certification agency in accordance with GS-NV 6 (test principles for hygiene). The devices comply with standard DIN EN ISO 14159:2008 and are suitable for use in the food sector in conformity with DIN EN 1672-2:2009.

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