Metal vs Plastic Industrial Electronic Enclosures

January 2019

Industrial electronic enclosures are almost always metal…and often diecast (as opposed to the folded metal cases found in rack cabinets). And with such a huge choice of diecast sealed enclosures, it is easy to assume that aluminium will always be the number one choice for your heavy duty housing.

But there is an alternative – plastic – which is more cost effective and easier to customise than metal.

Why Plastic Enclosures?

Not all plastic enclosures are made equal. There is a big difference between the average ABS enclosure destined primarily for indoor use and an industrial plastic housing designed to withstand a hard life in a factory.

Heavy duty plastic enclosures moulded from an ASA+PC blend are tough enough to cope. And they are not just impact resistant – they are strong in other ways too.

Acrylic-styrene-acrylonitrile (ASA) polymers have similar properties to ABS but are far less vulnerable to outdoor weathering. ASA is UV stable so it can withstand the degrading effect of the sun’s rays. Add polycarbonate (PC) and the resulting blend is even tougher. Never forget that PC is the plastic of choice for riot shields!

Plastic is also lighter (ideal for applications where weight is a crucial issue) and it is electrically insulated. You don’t have to paint it either – simply specify your chosen colour at the moulding stage.

technoDISC enclosures

New technoDISC Round Plastic Industrial Enclosures

No matter how ideal plastic may be for your industrial application, it can often be harder to specify the right case because of the market’s natural bias towards diecast metal cases for industrial electronics.

But ROLEC is different because it offers plastic versions of some of its most popular diecast aluminium enclosures. The newest addition to the range is technoDISC, an ASA+PC version of aluDISC, the world’s first diecast aluminium standard enclosure designed specifically for ‘round applications’ such as pipework.

Like aluDISC, new technoDISC has managed to overcome the almost impossible challenge of being visually round while still offering two flat sides for mounting cable glands, connectors and switches. The designers took their inspiration from the shape of a wristwatch.

Both technoDISC and aluDISC offer key technical features that set them apart:

  • ‘lid closed’ installation – protecting the seal and electronics from water or dust ingress when the cases are being installed in challenging locations
  • clip-on covers to hide the lid and fixing screws – and provide them with further protection from the elements
  • a generous integrated recess for membrane keypads or product labels
  • optional lid support straps.

If you need ingress protection to IP 66 or IP 67, then technoDISC could be a cost-effective option for you. If you need a higher IP rating – IP 69K – then we would recommend aluDISC round aluminium enclosures.

View technoDISC enclosures >>
starCASE enclosures

ROLEC’s Leading Diecast Aluminium Enclosures – What’s The Plastic Alternative?

One of ROLEC’s most popular diecast aluminium enclosures is aluCASE and it’s not hard to see why. They are tough and resilient with smart, modern aesthetics and concealed fixings. Features include lid closed installation and high IP ratings. And there is a huge choice of sizes (29). But what if diecast aluminium is not essential and you want the plastic equivalent? Just like aluCASE, starCASE plastic enclosures are at home anywhere in an industrial setting. They can be mounted on walls, bulkheads, ceilings or machines.

Durable starCASE is moulded from flame-retardant Luran and rated to IP 66. Lid closed installation comes as standard (as does the generous lid recess). All the fixings are hidden beneath hinged trims that are non-detachable to prevent them being lost.  Choose from eight sizes. Accessories include an insert key lock, an anti-tamper seal kit, an internal mounting plate and DIN rails (TS15 or TS35).

View starCASE range >>
technoPLUS pole mount enclosures

IP-Rated Plastic Enclosures For Poles And Masts

There can be fewer places more exposed to the weather than the top of a mast. Electronics enclosures mounted here must be able to withstand merciless buffeting by everything that Mother Nature can throw at them – 24/7/365.

Surely such an enclosure would have to be made from stainless steel or diecast aluminium to survive such punishment?

Not necessarily so.

Advanced technoPLUS enclosures (IP 66) are designed for pole-mounted electronics – and they are moulded from UV-stable ASA Luran. Features include a unique attachment that offers a choice of horizontal or vertical mounting with either plastic or metal straps. They also come with integrated polypropylene lid supports – because there is nothing more frustrating than climbing to the top of a very high telecoms mast to install some electronics…then accidentally dropping the lid.

View technoPLUS rage >>

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