What do you need in an Enclosure Cooler?

Need something quick?

Need something cheap?

Is this a one-off design?

If you answered yes to all of these, skip this blog and check out our Enclosure Cooler Selection Tool and existing ‘off the shelf’ Enclosure Cooler Products to find the closest match and get something quick and cost-effective.

Now, if you have a unique design and are going to utilize the cooler across dozens of cabinets, a custom design is often the most suitable option. It can be designed specifically for your application. As many of our defense, aerospace, medical and industrial customers will confirm, going with a 100% custom solution will bring Benefits: higher performance, better form factor… and some Drawbacks: Non-recurring expense and longer schedules.

Many customers go the “off the shelf” route with success and others go with 100% custom designs that they then own; both options make sense in certain scenarios. HOWEVER, there’s also an option of a semi-custom design. What does semi-custom mean? In this case, we’re talking about customizing aspects of an existing off-the-shelf enclosure cooler, so that we leverage economies of scale of inventoried parts, take advantage of already optimized fans/fins and proceed to further optimize a few design areas based on your components or surroundings. This method results in a shorter schedule and lowers development cost compared to a fully custom solution, as well as higher performance than an “off the shelf” design.

There are endless possibilities of how we can do this, but let’s take a look at a couple of examples for our Heat Sink Cooler (HSC) line…

The Direct Mount…

A traditional enclosure cooler circulates air inside the cabinet to collect heat to the internal fin stack and transfer heat to the external heat sink for rejection to ambient air. In a scenario where a small number of components are generating the heat, it makes more sense to mount those components directly to an external heat sink. This can be achieved very easily by removing the internal heat sink and fan and adding simple mounting features to the baseplate. No changes are required that will impact the seal, the easy mounting, or the external heatsink performance. Thermally, the solution is significantly better by eliminating the internal, air-side delta T and shortening the conduction path. This solution also still allows ACT to maintain the cost efficiencies on common components; primarily the mounting plate, external heat sink, and fan which are used across many types of coolers. This type of minor modification would not impact life, warranty, or NEMA-rated seal.

Chilled Water Cooler (CWC)

As thermal engineers, we always wish there was a source of chilled water nearby! When that wish is granted, and you have a source of chilled water, the CWC allows you to take full advantage for a minimal cost. Similar to the Direct Mount design, this concept alters one-half of the HSC; in this case, replacing the external heatsink/fan combination with a liquid cold plate. The liquid cold plate is fully integrated with the modified HSC and maintains all internal functionality and seal. The liquid cooling provides a robust heat sink which should allow for more heat removal than a standard air-cooled solution. The modified HSC-45 is shown to the right:

The CWC can be built using 316 Stainless Steel materials to provide a NEMA-4X seal, L10 performance-rated fans, and continuous operation for 100,000 hours! This solution is ideal for outdoor facilities that have chilled water and fluid control systems available.

Quiet Environment?

The Low Noise Cooler (LNC) was designed for cabinets that are located in noise-sensitive environments. In a similar fashion to the other examples, this patent-pending variation of the HSC Series utilizes a larger, extruded aluminum heat sink bonded to the exterior side of the common mounting plate.
The larger, extruded heat sink side has several ultralow-power fans for quiet, fan-assisted, natural convection heat dissipation to the outside ambient air while multiple heat pipes are embedded in the mounting plate, efficiently spreading heat from the smaller heat sink side to the larger heat sink side.

Additional options

High Voltage Applications:

ACT engineers can work with customers dealing with cabinets under high voltage, offering customized covers, additional grounding, and alternative bonding techniques to meet requirements.

Custom Color Match:

ACT’s Enclosure Cooling products come standard in a dark grey, RAL7043. For an additional charge, ACT will provide units in a specified color, although this may increase lead times. This can be of benefit for either aesthetics or temperature control.


Across all of the ACT Enclosure Cooling series, our products leverage common, high-performance components; featuring dual axial ball bearing fans for years of maintenance-free operation, rugged high-quality construction, easy installation (although with an increased weight), and the minimum number of penetrations possible by cover fasteners, mounting fasteners or external fan wires.

Not all applications are straightforward and able to take advantage of Off-the-Shelf cooling solutions, and that is just one of the ways ACT is proud to leverage our excellent team of engineers. ACT can partner with customers to provide high-performance customization options.

Contact ACT to discuss your project today!

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