Material Selection Guide

Material Selection Guide

Things to consider when selecting the right material

Enclosure Materials

B&R Enclosures supply a wide range of enclosures in different enclosure materials. There are various reasons why you would choose one material over another and a brief summary is provided below.
Please note that specific site conditions can significantly influence the choice of enclosure materials. The best way to select the right material is to look at the performance of similar materials on site. As such the following are general guidelines only.


Steel can be used for applications where there is little chance of corrosion or in locations where the enclosure will become scratched or damaged. Steel enclosures are strong and robust, but steel can be susceptible to corrosion from the environment once the powdercoated surface is damaged.


Powdercoated aluminium can be considered as the next step up for resistance to corrosion. It is substantially better as resistance to salt water, although in many cases should not be used for applications where strong alkalis might be present.

Aluminium is a great choice for applications in remote locations due to this higher corrosion resistance and its lighter weight which enables it to be manually installed rather than machine lifted in many applications.

Stainless Steel

B&R manufacture a range of enclosures from 316 grade stainless and offers excellent resistance to salt water and other forms of environmental corrosion. These tend to outlast enclosures in any other materials. The use of 316 stainless steel is also aesthetically pleasing.

B&R use a special N4 surface finish that helps minimise corrosion and provides a great ‘brushed metal’ look.


Used for enclosures with few requirements and for resistance to corrosion that would be problematic for metal enclosures. Plastic enclosures are a versatile choice. The disadvantage is that they are not as strong as metal enclosures and cannot be built to anywhere near all the sizes required for industry. They can also be susceptible to damage from the sun.

More Detail on Material Options

What materials we use

At B&R, we choose only the best materials when manufacturing our enclosures. This superior quality ensures you can trust the product and us.

316 Stainless Steel
The main benefits of using stainless steel are its structural strength, aesthetic appeal and high level of corrosion protection due to naturally occuring chromium-rich oxide film formed on the surface of the steel.

Grade 316 stainless steel can be used successfully in coastal locations where many other grades
may experience corrosion due to the higher levels of chlroide present in the environment. It is also the preferred material used in food processing applications, it can be easily cleaned and resists many organic chemicals, dyes and a wide variety of inorganic chemicals.
B&R Enclosures use only the highest quality 316 stainless steel materials, manufacturing and finishing techniques and are accredited by the Australian Stainless Steel Development Association (ASSDA). For more details on ASSDA visit

Surface Finish
We finish our stainless steel products in a way that is aesthetically pleasing and also ensures superior protection. We apply an N4 surface finish, with a maximum Ra or 0.4μm. This Ra rating is a key factor in the corrosion protection and ‘cleanability’ of our products.

Surface corrosion, often referred to as ‘tea staining’ is common along the coast fringe and high salinity areas of Australia. Tea staining is a discolouration of the metal surface which is unsightly, but does not affect the structural integrity of the enclosure.

For more details on tea staining visit Staining.pdf

Zinc Coated Steel
We use primarily zinc coated steel for our B&R branded products. This is a matte, hot dipped, zinc iron alloy which when combined with chemical pretreatment and powdercoat finish offers the best possible corrosion protection for enclosure systems.

A B&R branded zinc coated steel enclosure is punched, bent, welded and ground on the way through our factory. Following fabrication it goes through an automated process which consists of the following:

  • Alkaline cleaner
  • Reticulated freshwater rinse
  • Iron phosphate coating
  • Reticulated freshwater rinse
  • Demineralised water with polymer additive

Titration tests are also conducted to ensure that the material meets the required specifications.

Powdercoat Finish
The powdercoat paint is applied at an average coating thickness of 100μm for a ripple finish and 70μm for a gloss. The minimum coating thickness is 60μm on the exterior of the enclosure and 25μm on the interior (conforms to AS/NZS 4506:1998).

The powdercoat paint finish is tested extensively to the following standards ensures consistent paint finish in terms of both quality and colour across our range of enclosures.

  • Powdercoating thickness test (AS1580.108.1:1994)
  • Cure Test, solvent resistance method (AS/NZS4506:1998)
  • Adhesion, cross cut test (AS/NZS 1580.408.4:1993)
  • Paint colour comparison test (AS2700:1996)

Material Selection Guide

Material Selection Guide

This brochure is a guide to assist when choosing the best material for an electrical enclosure. Download

Tea Staining on Stainless Steel Report

Tea Staining on Stainless Steel Products

Tea staining of stainless steels is a phenomenon that occurs where water with a significant chloride content is in regular contact with the metal surface. Download