Farming and agriculture already rely on many different technologies, and the sector will become increasingly technical as it strives to increase productivity and meet the demands of a growing world population. Distributing electrical power around farms brings some special requirements, which enclosure manufacturer Spelsberg is well equipped to address.
Many people are surprised when they realise that electrical installations and equipment within agricultural environments are exposed to mechanical, thermal and chemical loads as high as, or higher than, average industrial settings. As an example, when livestock is kept indoors, even if it is only overnight, the ammonia and humidity levels build up in the atmosphere to the point that it can accelerate corrosion of susceptible materials.
Similarly grains harvested by arable farmers create large amounts of dust which can become problematical in storage buildings and silos, while beets and other root crops also generate dust because of the drying out of soil adhering to their surfaces. Straw not only creates dust, but is also highly flammable – yet it has to be stored under cover and kept dry.
Often farm buildings are unheated so extremes of cold can be experienced during the winter, while in the summer months internal temperatures can build up until they are significantly higher than those outside. Finally there is the ever-present possibility of mechanical shock, which can come from a clumsy cow, a dropped hand tool or a reversing tractor.
All of these possibilities mean agricultural installations can be very demanding on equipment such as electrical enclosures. The demand for high-performance electrical equipment within all areas of farming has been growing rapidly for some decades, including forced draught ventilation and even air conditioning, electronically controlled feeding systems, animal and environment monitoring systems, lighting, pumps, sprinkles, etc.
Robust industrial-quality electrical enclosures are generally the only sensible choice in such demanding environments. These will have been tested and certified to confirm their suitability of use in demanding industrial environments, and indeed there are similar standards and regulations operating in the agricultural industries that must also be met.
Many of the standards pertaining to agricultural equipment will be applicable across Europe, with many of them based on specifications originally drawn up by the German Agricultural Society (Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft or DLG). With its origins in Germany, enclosure manufacturer Spelsberg has incorporated the DLG specifications into many of its products and developed enclosures that are reliable, long lasting and fully suited to agricultural installations.
Spelsberg enclosures that bear DLG certification are able to withstand an ammonia concentration of 750ppm (parts per million), an air temperature of 70°C and air humidity of 70% during the course of 1,500 hours continuous testing. They are therefore suitable for use within the agricultural sector.
In fact Spelsberg has a growing number of products that are DLG certified, including enclosures, junction boxes and accessories, allowing systems with full certification to be built.
DLG certified products include:
- Abox-i 6² to 240² junction boxes, which are weatherproof and resistant to ultra violet (UV) degradation and feature raised terminals for ease of installation. These junction boxes are available in a range of different sizes and are used both within agriculture and in other industries; they are a popular choice for fitting out wet rooms and other high humidity applications.
- TK-PC enclosures which are made from grey polycarbonate with a transparent or grey polycarbonate lid and have an integrated polyurethane cover gasket. They are resistant to most acids and alkalis and have an IP66 ingress rating, an IK07 impact resistance and a flammability rating of VDE 0471, UL94, 960 °C / V2. Their operating temperature range is -35degC to +80degC
- TG PC enclosures which are free from silicon, PVC and heavy-metals. The base and cover are made of grey polycarbonate, while polyurethane is used for the sealing. Each one is fitted with a stainless steel quick release fastener for the cover screw, while a recess in the lid enables attachment of a printed film or a membrane keyboard
- AK Air small distribution units represent an innovative new technology which enables the exchange of air, and so reliably prevents moisture from forming inside enclosures. They also ensure permanent pressure equalisation between the enclosure interior and the surroundings, yet maintains IP65 ingress protection.
In addition to standard agricultural products, Spelsberg UK can customise enclosures and other equipment, thus allowing them to meet the exact needs of any application. Sales Engineers understand the industry demands for reliability and low maintenance costs and will work with contractors and end users to design complete packages, which can be installed and delivered as a turnkey solution.