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Many industries around the world use sensitive electronic equipment to help monitor their networks. The problem with this is that these devices can be susceptible environmental factors such as water, dust, and shock. In order to ensure that no gear is damaged and any outages are experienced, many companies began to manufacture protective cases. In order to make it easy to compare the relative strengths and tolerances of various equipment, a standard of measurement called NEMA Ratings came to be.
The National Electronics Manufacturers Association came up with a system of ratings. These are typically known as NEMA Ratings. Similar to the IEC IP codes, NEMA Ratings are intended to create a simple standard for all enclosures for electronic equipment.
With electronic devices in a wide range of atmospheres, these ratings can go all the way from simple enclosures to avoid indirect contact with harmful environmental elements. While the higher rated cases can protect against caustic substances, strong impacts, or even total submersion.
NEMA Type 1 enclosures are rated as the lowest protection level of the NEMA standards. Providing no water or dust resistance, these cases are typically used as storage lockers. They're also used as equipment housings and preventative safety measures.
NEMA Type 3R enclosures are designed to offer protection to equipment and personnel in a wide variety of environments. Enclosures built to this standard are intended for conditions that are more extreme than Type 1 cases.
Type 4 NEMA cases are intended for use in a variety of situations. With builds designed for indoor as well as outdoor applications, they provide a durable security measure against damaged equipment as well as protection for personnel against dangerous gear.
A full list of NEMA enclosure types is available. For more information, read more about different nema case types here.