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Cooling Switchboards with Filter Fans

Current Trends, Vol.2 - Issue 3

Vol.2 - Issue 3

October 2014

Cooling Switchboards with Filter Fans


Introduction
As electrical and electronic
components are getting densely
packed in enclosures, systems
are becoming more sensitive to
external factors such as dust,
oil, moisture and temperature.
IEC 60529 standard specifies the
degree of protection provided
by enclosures and the required
tests for verifying the different
degrees of protection. In the
IP(Ingress Protection) code, the
first characteristic numeral
shows the protection of the
enclosure against ingress of
solid foreign objects and the
second characteristic numeral
shows the protection of the
enclosure against ingress of
water. According to IEC 61439,
the
minimum
degree
of
protection
required
for
switchboards is IP 2X.
Electronic
components
are
highly sensitive to temperatures
and it has been proven that
component life is halved for a
10C rise in temperature. To
guarantee proper functioning of
the electronic compartments in
an enclosure, heat needs to be
dissipated properly.
Heat transfer takes place in any
system by three processes:
conduction, convection and
radiation.
Conduction: Transfer of heat
energy through matter, without
the displacement of the matter

itself. The heat energy is


passed
from
particle
to
particle.
Convection: Transfer of heat
energy through a medium. The
transport
medium
absorbs
energy in the form of heat and
releases energy as heat.
Radiation: Transfer of heat
energy from one body to
another in the form of radiation
energy, without any material
medium.
The
popular
degrees
of
protection (DOP) specified for
panel boards are IP 4X and IP
54/55. In IP 4X panels, louvers
and hoods are provided for
better ventilation and to obtain
optimum
temperature
rise
results. But when the system
requirement is more stringent
IP 54 panels, the panels are
fully
enclosed
and
the
temperature rise values will be
higher than those obtained in IP
4X panels. To optimize the
temperature rise values in IP 54
panels, we can opt for filter fan
units to be mounted on the
enclosure doors to provide
forced cooling. Forced air
systems can provide much
greater heat transfer rates than
those available with natural
convection
and
radiation,
thereby reducing localized heat
concentrations.

Selection of Filter Fans:


A fan can be used in an
enclosure
for
cooling
requirement if the ambient-or
surrounding air- is cooler than
the desired temperature to be
maintained
inside
the
enclosure. A fan and filter unit
can be selected to protect
system from dust and other
impurities with the desired
ingress
protection
(IP)
requirement. The amount of
cooling air flowing through an
enclosure
determines
the
temperature rise inside the
enclosure due to the heat
input. More the air that flows
through the enclosure, lower
the temperature rise.
Fans operating in free air
generate the maximum possible
flow rates, but when fitted
within an enclosure the fan is
required to overcome the
inherent air flow resistance For
a given enclosure and fan, the
operating point of the fan is
determined by the point at
which
the
characteristic
enclosure
curve
and
characteristic
fan
curve
intersect (Refer Fig 1). At this
point, the pressure loss of the
enclosure is just compensated
by the pressure increase of the
fan and this point determines
the flow rate that is available
within that enclosure.

Cooling Switchboards with Filter Fans

Current Trends, Vol.2 - Issue 3

Filter fans can be installed in an


enclosure in three designs:
push, pull and push/pull design.
In push design, an inlet fan
pushes cooler air into the
enclosure and the hot exhaust
air is taken out through the
outlet filters (Refer Fig 2). In
pull design, the hot exhaust air
is pulled out of the enclosure by
the exhaust fan, thereby pulling
in the cooler air through the
inlet filters. In push/pull
design, an inlet fan pushes
cooler air into an enclosure and
an outlet fan pulls the hotter
air out of the enclosure.
Push/pull
design,
having
maximum air flow, is preferred
only
for
tightly
packed
enclosures as it uses two filter
fans and is more expensive.

Fig 1

Fig 2
more turbulence inside
Filter
fans
are
typically
installed using the push design
in an enclosure for the
following reasons:
1. An inlet fan pushing in
air into the enclosure
raises the internal air
pressure within the
enclosure, which will
help to keep dust and
dirt out of an enclosure
that is unsealed or
opened frequently.
2. A blowing fan pushing in
cooler air at the inlet
will produce slightly

the enclosure, which


improves
the
heat
transfer characteristics
within the enclosure.
3. Fan life is prolonged in
the push design since
the fan is located in the
path of the entering
cooler air, rather than
the hot exhaust air in
the case of an exhaust
fan.
The air inlet should be located
as far as possible from the air

outlet to achieve maximum


cooling. If the outlet and inlet
are adjacent to each other, the
hot outlet air will be drawn into
the inlet, thereby reducing the
cooling efficiency. In general, it
is recommended that the
enclosure air inlet be on the
side of the enclosure near the
bottom and the air outlet be
located on the opposite side
and near the top, for cross
ventilation.
Filter fans should not be
mounted adjacent to an area
that restricts the free flow of
cooling air. The forced cooling
system should have an air

Cooling Switchboards with Filter Fans

Current Trends, Vol.2 - Issue 3

outlet area at least equal to the


air inlet area. For best results,
the exhaust opening should be
1.5 times the area of the inlet
fan opening.

enclosure
surface
area
depending on the enclosure
installation type as specified in
IEC 60890 is shown in the table
below (Table 1)

Calculations for Fan Selection:

Heat to be dissipated:

To select the fan of our


requirement, there are three
variables that need to be taken
into account: Surface Area,
Heat to be dissipated and Air
flow.

Once the effective surface area


of the enclosure is found out, it
is possible to either calculate
the heat contained in the
enclosure with a temperature
difference (for a previously
completed system), or to add
up the heat loss from installed
components (for configuring a
new system).

Surface Area
Without using any external
energy, heat flows in only one
direction - from a hotter region
to a cooler one. In natural
convection,
heat
loss
is
dissipated to the outside via the
enclosure panels. The prerequisite for this is that the
ambient temperature must be
lower than the temperature
inside the enclosure.
The thermal output dissipated
by the enclosure not only
depends on its actual surface
area, the installation type of
the enclosure also plays a
decisive role. An enclosure
Which stands in a room
unobstructed on all sides may
dissipate more heat than one
placed against a wall or in a
corner. For this reason, there
are precise specifications on
how to calculate the effective
enclosure
surface
area
depending on the type of
installation site. The formula
for calculating the effective

When the heat loss within an


enclosure is unknown, but it is
an already tested system, we
can calculate the actual heat
loss of the system. Using the
measured ambient temperature
Tu and the maximum measured
temperature Ti inside the
enclosure, the installed heat in
the system can be found out as:
Qm = A x K x Tm
where,
A is the effective surface area
calculated above
K = 5.5 W/m2 C for a
painted sheet steel enclosure
3.5 W/m2 C for a
polyester enclosure
3.7 W/m2 C for a stainless
steel enclosure
12 W/m2 C for an
aluminium enclosure
Tm = Ti Tu, the maximum
measured temperature rise
without forced cooling in C.

Enclosure Installation Type according to IEC 60890

Enclosure within a suite, for wall mounting, covered roof surfaces


where,

Now we find out the heat


exchange across the effective
enclosure surface area by
natural convection with the fan
installed.
Heat exchange across enclosure
surface in watts,
Q = A x K x Tr
where,
Tr = required temperature rise
in C of enclosure with forced
cooling
Finally, we calculate the heat
to be dissipated by the cooling
system by subtracting the heat
exchange across the enclosure
surface from the installed heat.
Heat to be dissipated by cooling
system in watts,
Qv = Qm Q
Air Flow
The altitude at which fan is
operating
will
affect
its
performance.
As
altitude
increases,
the
average
barometric pressure drops and
air density decreases. The
system
cooling
efficiency

Formula for calculating Effective Enclosure Surface Area, A (m 2)


A = 1.8 x Hx (W+D) + 1.4 x W x D
A = 1.4 x W x (H+D) + 1.8 x D x H
A = 1.4 x D x (H+W) + 1.8 x W x H
A = 1.4 x H x (W+D) + 1.4 x W x D
A = 1.8 x Wx H + 1.4 x W x D + D x H
A = 1.4 x W x (H+D) + D x H

Single enclosure, free standing on all sides


Single enclosure for wall mounting
First or last enclosure in a suite, free standing
First or last enclosure in a suite, for wall mounting
Enclosure within a suite, free standing
Enclosure within a suite, for wall mounting

A = Effective Enclosure Surface Area, m2


H = Height, m
W = Width, m
D = Depth, m

The installed heat can also be


determined by adding up the
individual heat loss of all the
installed components in the
enclosure,
which
can
be
obtained from the product
datasheets. This calculation is
exact, so an additional 30%
capacity is added to the
installed heat to provide a
safety factor.

Table 1

A = 1.4 x W x H + 0.7 x W x D + D x H

Cooling Switchboards with Filter Fans

Current Trends, Vol.2 - Issue 3

changes with altitude because


of reduced air density. Air flow
through an enclosure should be
increased when the air density
decreases at higher altitudes.
The air flow rate required can
be calculated, once the heat to
be dissipated by the filter fan is
determined.
Required air flow of the cooling
fan in m3/h,
V = f x Qv / Tr
where,
f = coefficient related to the
altitude above sea level

= 3.1
0 to 100 m
= 3.2
100 to 250 m
= 3.3
250 to 500 m
= 3.4
500 to 750 m

m3 C /Wh for
m3 C /Wh for
m3 C /Wh for
m3 C /Wh for

In most scenarios, there is a


filter fan, an enclosure, and an
outlet filter such that the fan
pulls the air into the enclosure,
pushing against all of the air
that is inside the enclosure, and

then force the warmer air out


through the outlet filter. When
outlet filter is used with the fan
and filter unit, the air flow of
the filter fan is reduced
considerably. So we should
select a filter fan taking into
consideration the outlet filter
installed in the enclosure also.
It is recommended to select a
fan having air flow rate higher
by 30% to 40% to take care of
the
system
impedances.

Conclusion
To maintain the inside of switchboards in an optimum operating condition, it is very important to keep
electronic equipment running normally. When filter fans are used for cooling enclosures, it is important to
determine airflow required on the basis of effective enclosure surface area, heat to be dissipated and effect of
system impedance on the fan performance. Use of filter fan as a forced cooling measure inside enclosure should
be planned at design stage to get optimum results.
Want to know more?
Contact us

ese-cmt@Lntebg.com

Author: Rony Koonthanam


Design by CMBC; Edited and distributed by CMT