A DIN rail is a strip of metal upon which you can mount electrical and industrial control equipment. The DIN rail enclosure is a protective case, which fixes onto the rail, protecting components mounted on it
DIN rails are in widespread use, on a worldwide scale. They come in various different types and provide several major advantages in providing mechanical support to components.
What Does DIN Mean?
DIN stands for Deutsche Institut für Normung, which is the German Institute for Standards.
Germany first designed and manufactured DIN rails in the 1920s, and in the 1950s, the German Institute for Standards first published the specifications for this now-familiar racking system.
The first such design came in 1928, meeting the demands of industry for something that would help to connect different parts together.
Together, a German electrical utility, RWE, and an electrical supplies company, Phönix Elektrizitätsgellschaft, came up with a new modular system.
The original design for this was a small porcelain tray containing a metal bar, through which two wires could connect using screw terminals. The porcelain tray would hold them in place.
Further refinement of this concept led to the design of an asymmetric metal rail, into which you could clip terminal blocks. It had a G-shaped profile, which provided a firm connection but also allowed the terminal blocks to slide along the rail to get them in the optimum position.
The founder of Phönix Elektrizitätsgellschaft was Hugo Knüman, and it was this G-section design of his that other manufacturers went on to adopt. Soon there was another commonly-used DIN rail type, the top hat section.
In the 1950s, DIN standardised the different mechanical and design specifications for these rails.
Since then, the DIN rail has become a global standard, including widespread adoption in North America and across Europe.
What are the Benefits of a DIN Rail?
As a system for mounting hardware, the DIN rail has several major benefits:
• It saves on time and effort, because you simply snap components into place on the rail, or slide them onto it, without needing to mount components separately
• The DIN rail saves on space, as it allows for tight arrangements of components, and you can use it to bring external and internal wiring circuits together even where there is limited space
• It’s cost effective, as a system in its own right, but also because it lets you carry out high-density mounting, reducing the amount of wiring and cabinet space you need
• The DIN rail is better for safety and for easier maintenance, because it promotes tidy and well-organised layouts of components
• It follows universal protocols for sizing and mounting, making the DIN rail highly adaptable for use in a broad range of settings and situations.
How Cross-compatible are DIN Rails?
A key reason why this system has endured to this day is the way it is designed to work with a series of universal standards when it comes to mounting different hardware.
Because of the widespread recognition of DIN rails as an industry standard, you can rely on them to work across a whole suite of component products, regardless of who has manufactured these different parts.
This means you can mix and match the components you mount using a DIN rail, giving you a high degree of flexibility.
The actual names of the different DIN rail types and sizes can vary from country to country, so it’s worth checking first. But the specifications for the different categories, are universal.
What are the Different Types of DIN Rail?
Since the original G-section design, DIN rails standards have evolved, taking in these major types:
• Top hat sections, TS35 – the most readily available industry standard, 35mm wide from edge to edge
• Miniature top hat sections, TS15 – the same shape as the above, but only 15mm wide
• C sections, TS32 – 32mm wide, edge to edge, with a symmetrical curve to the outer edges
• G-type sections – featuring a deeper recess at one side than the other.
How Does a DIN Rail Enclosure Work?
The DIN rail enclosure protects the components mounted to the DIN rail and can act as a connector. Enclosures come as modules in different shapes and sizes.
You can mount them on walls, panels or rails. One of the most common types of DIN rail connector is the terminal block.
With DIN rail enclosures, it’s important to buy the right enclosure for your DIN rail size (35mm, 32mm or 15mm), and the right type of material for the DIN rail metal you’re using.
Most rail enclosures are made from polycarbonate, which will safely pair with any type of DIN rail metal.
The two things you should consider before choosing a DIN rail enclosure are:
• The type of enclosure application – whether you’re installing the rail inside the enclosure, or mounting the enclosure on the rail
• The environment where you’re installing it – if it’s in harsh, outdoor conditions, there are specific enclosure designs and materials for this purpose.
Get in Touch
For more information about DIN rails and DIN rail enclosure, please contact us. We’ve a team of helpful, qualified engineers who can advise you on installation solutions.