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Five wrong assumptions about metal electronic enclosures

Blog - June 2017

1. I need an enclosure to fit my PCB…

Fitting my PCB in enclosures

You’re half right. Actually it’s the other way round…

You need a PCB to fit your enclosure – because you should be thinking about your housing at the start of the design process. Before your PCB is finalised.

Getting the enclosure right early on will help you to determine component layout – especially if you request a 3D model so you can see how your PCBs will look in the finished enclosure.

It can make a crucial difference. You may be able to use a smaller enclosure than you expected (saving you money) – or a better housing than you had first envisaged. Thinking ‘enclosure first’ makes absolute sense. After all, the case and the controls are the first (and possibly only) part of your product that your customers will see and touch.

2. Custom enclosures are expensive…

Custom Unidesk Enclosures

No, they’re not.

Not if you’re smart about it and specify ‘customised’ rather than ‘custom’ enclosures.
We can fold our sheet aluminium any way you want to make any kind of electronic enclosure you need – but it’s much more cost effective for you if we operate within the parameters offered by standard sizes.

Machining a custom front panel or adding some extra ventilation slots is much easier (and therefore quicker) than designing a bespoke aluminium enclosure from scratch.

But it can still be very easy to make an enclosure larger or smaller than our standard sizes…it just depends on which dimension(s) you need to change. For example, it’s much easier to lengthen or shorten our UNIDESK table-top enclosures than it is to change their height or depth.

3. I need to order in large volumes to make customisation cost effective…

Custom Datamet Enclosures

Not these days. New technology has reduced set up costs, making it possible to offer customisation in small volumes.

Take digital printing of legends and logos for example. It’s a much quicker process than traditional silk screen printing. Batch size is of much less importance.

4. 19” Rack mount enclosures don’t differ much...

Custom Combimet 19

We beg to disagree. And we can write at great length about this – but for the moment we’ll keep it brief. There are many reasons we offer four different ranges of rack mount enclosures. They include:

  • which dimensions can be specified as custom lengths/widths/heights
  • ventilation options
  • which panels can be removed.

Here’s a useful at-a-glance guide to the differences between our COMBIMET, METTEC, UNITEC and VERSAMET ranges and why these variations are so important. Each enclosure offers its own benefits so it’s hard to pick a favourite. But it’s harder still not to admire the sheer versatility of COMBIMET with all its custom size and ventilation options (and its distinctive handles).

5. Enclosures are all pretty similar inside – it’s just a question of size…

Actually it isn’t. Take these two ranges for instance – our UNIMET desktop and portable instrument enclosures and our advanced UNIMET-PLUS cases. With a name like UNIMET-PLUS, it’s easy to assume that it’s simply a bigger version of UNIMET. In reality they’re virtually the same size (but every size of UNIMET-PLUS is 3 mm deeper than its UNIMET equivalent).

The big difference is how they accommodate PCBs:

  • UNIMET has mounting holes in the base for fitting PCB screw pillars
  • UNIMET-PLUS has guide rails so you can slide in multiple PCBs quickly and easily – reducing installation times.
Unimet - With PCB mounting in base

UNIMET

Unimet-Plus - With PCB guides inside

Unimet-Plus

Which would you prefer? Mounting holes or guide rails? Decisions, decisions…

Still undecided? Try our brand new TECHNOMET instrument enclosures (below) which offer both options - see below customised versions

Customised Technomet Enclosures

All of which brings us back to point one: the sooner in the design process you think about enclosures, the better it is. Speaking with your specialist enclosures partner early on can save you time and help you to get your product to market faster.

Our sales engineers can give you expert technical advice on selecting the best enclosure for your electronics – and how to get the best from it.

Contact us for more information – and don’t forget to download 3D models/drawings!