What is the difference between 4 and 4X NEMA enclosures? Is there anything specific to brewing that makes them important?

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NEMA, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, assigns grades to all of its enclosures in order to describe the preventative action that they take. For breweries, grades 4 and 4X are typically required of enclosures, as this means that they are watertight. The difference between 4 and 4X is that the latter means the enclosure is also corrosion-resistant, which is important and sometimes required in a setting with high pressure and liquid components, like a brewery.

The reason this is important is because to operate a commercial brewery, a number of inspectors will have to make sure that only approved methods and equipment are being used. Although state and local laws vary, virtually all NEMA-approved electrical enclosures of grade 4 and 4X will meet minimum standards. Of course, it is always advised to check with local regulations.
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