Custom enclosures house electronic equipment and protect it from pollutants, weather, and other damaging interactions. There are indoor and outdoor enclosures, and they are used to protect their contents from dust, dirt, dripping water, rain, sleet, snow, and ice formation according to the type of enclosure.
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Applications of Custom Enclosures
Though the range of applications is broad, there are 5 basic categories of enclosures. Portable enclosures are small enough to fit in a pocket or be held in a hand, like a remote car starter. They may incorporate a battery compartment or LED. Desk top enclosures can be customized with foot pads, removable stands, and engraving. Boxes with clear windows and touch screens are common display enclosures that can be adjusted for size and mounting configuration. Wall mounted enclosures can be customized to make installation and access easier while maintaining security and safety. Lastly, cabinet enclosures usually house standard 19 inch audio and video equipment or computers but can be modified to fit virtually any need.
Characteristics of Custom Enclosures
Electronic enclosures are generally box-like in shape but custom-made enclosures tend to have more variety because customization allows curves, contours, and complex shapes that are otherwise not available. Generally, aluminum, stainless steel, or galvanized steel are used for their strong and durable properties. Some enclosures are made from plastic because it is easier to work with when creating small or complicated enclosures.
Manufacturing Process of Custom Enclosures
Custom enclosures are necessary when readymade enclosures are the wrong size, shape, material, or finish. The electronic industry (or any industry that uses electronic equipment) is constantly making innovations and developing new technology that requires new housings in order to maximize space and minimize costs.
The process of customizing enclosures begins with design and product engineering. A punch, mold or die is created, depending on the material, and the product is formed. Plastic or composite materials can be molded or punched. Some metals are cold-rolled into sheets, then spot or seam welded. Other metals are cast or extruded. Extrusion forces a bar of steel or aluminum through a die and is used when complex cross sections are required. Knockouts and openings are cut and removed, then vents are added if necessary.
After this, the enclosure is cleaned and deburred to leave a smooth surface. Some receive a finish, such as powder coating, enamel, or silk-screening, or they may be left plain, depending on the aesthetic requirements. The enclosure is assembled and given its final hardware and accessories, which can include handles, slides, shelves, panels, drawers, fans, blowers, power strips, wire management, and doors.