You need a standard enclosure to keep project costs down but it mustn’t look ‘standard’.
Differentiate! You don’t want your cutting edge electronics to look like another company’s product that uses the same case – especially if it’s a direct competitor in your market segment. For decades that dilemma was a huge problem because most heavy duty standard enclosures were boxy, prosaic and functional. Aesthetics took a back seat.
But now there’s no excuse. Smart modern industrial enclosures are designed to be discreet. So it takes only a little customisation to set them apart from the herd.
Metal enclosures are usually the first choice for challenging industrial environments. It’s tough and dependable. But that’s not the end of the story. Not by a long shot…
Aluminium is tough and light which is why we cast so many IP rated enclosures from it. But if your electronics are destined for the marine and offshore sector – or need to sustain heavy impacts – then we would recommend stainless steel instead. A2 offers high protection; A4 even more so. And specify electropolishing for added corrosion resistance. And remember – metal is not the only choice. Glass reinforced polyester (GRP) offers high resistance to chemical attack. And plastics such as UV stable Luran are able to survive constant exposure to sunlight.
There are varying degrees of ‘waterproof’ – so make sure you’ve opted for the correct IP rating.
Do not make the mistake of choosing IP 67 cases (immersion-proof) when you really need IP 69K enclosures (capable of withstanding high pressure water jets).
All that ingress protection you’ve just specified isn’t going to help if you have to open the case to install it during a howling rainstorm and water gets it. Consider an enclosure with separate screw channels so you can install it ‘lid closed’.
Will your enclosure need a recessed lid for a membrane keypad or product label? Or retaining straps (or integrated hinges) to stop you from dropping the lid when installing the case at height?
And what if the product will need continual maintenance and servicing? Or easy replacement? It would be better to specify an enclosure you can unclick then reclick into place. That sounds great but what if you need an enclosure that offers easy installation/removal but with more security? Think about an enclosure with a screw-fit mounting bracket.
What about EMC shielding? If you continually have to remove the lid then replacing the conductive gasket is going to become very expensive. Save money by specifying an enclosure with built-in EMC shielding. Similar-looking enclosures can offer significantly different technical features. So make sure you select the right ones.
Many industrial enclosures spend their lives bolted to walls, bulkheads or machines. But that’s no reason to downgrade the importance of ergonomics.
Control enclosures must feel right no matter where they sit. They’re the crucial point of human contact. And this is even more important for handheld enclosures. Plastic cases must always be comfortable to hold – and metal handheld enclosures even more so because they’re heavier.
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