There’s much more to specifying diecast aluminum enclosures than meets the eye. Don’t let their disarmingly simple appearance blind you to the wealth of technical features on offer. It always pays to explore the benefits in more detail. Here are six key questions to consider…
An obvious first question but a vital one. All ROLEC diecast enclosures offer a high degree of ingress protection compared with most sheetmetal housings (though ROLEC manufactures fabricated stainless steel enclosures with high IP ratings). Our diecast enclosures start at IP 66 (providing protection against powerful water jets) and usually offer the option of IP 67 (protection against immersion in water). Some are rated IP 69K – safeguarding your electronics from high pressure steam cleaning and repeated jet washing for applications such as food processing.
Diecast electronic enclosures are designed to cope with some of the world’s most punishing environments, such as such as heavy industry and farm vehicles. Will you be attaching your electronics to the side of an tractor or truck? If so, you won’t want to open the enclosure lid during installation – not if you want to protect your fragile electronics from damaging dirt.
‘Lid closed’ installation is a must for situations such as this. Separate channels for the lid screws and mounting screws mean the sealed chamber stays shut: preserving seal integrity…and your sensitive electronics. This feature isn’t just for challenging outdoor locations. It is important for factories, particularly those in heavy industry. Diecast enclosures with lid closed installation include our premium aluCASE range.
But what if the operational environment is even more hazardous? What if your end users need to spend as little time in the danger zone as possible? The solution is this instance is aluCLIC, which simply clicks into place on a pre-installed mounting foot. This is an important safety feature for maintenance teams working in very hazardous conditions. With a screwdriver they can disengage the snap lock that holds the enclosure in place – take it to a safer environment for inspection and maintenance – then return to click the housing back in place.
Not every industrial location requires ‘lid closed’ or click-to-fit installation though: aluNORM has single channels to accommodate both the mounting screws and the lid assembly screws – freeing up more space inside for components.
Aesthetics are playing a greater role than ever in the design of industrial electronic enclosures. Long gone are the days of prosaic metal boxes: ROLEC saw to that with modern designs that revolutionized the market. Smart, modern designs – many with concealed fixings – are proof positive that strength, toughness and high performance need not be at the expense of appearance.
Nor is there a hard and fast rule that says all enclosures must be rectangular prisms. ROLEC created the world’s ‘round’ diecast aluminum enclosures for industrial electronics in the form of aluDISC. Visually, the design language of these tough diecast aluminum housings says ‘round’ – thanks to the main recessed area on the lid. But in reality our designers took their inspiration from the shape of a watch, giving you the added benefit of two flat surfaces for connectors.
Innovative aluDISC has proven so popular for applications such as pipework that we recently launched a plastic version, technoDISC, to give you a choice of materials – it’s ideal for Industry 4.0 and IIoT applications.
Using a standard enclosure – even a customized one – will always be more cost-effective than a fully bespoke housing. Especially where lower volumes are concerned.
And it always pays to specify the enclosure before you choose the PCB size. That may sound counterintuitive but it’s actually good practice because it helps you to define the component layout and save space. You’re much more likely to finish up with a more compact product – reducing manufacturing costs – if you have a defined target to aim for in the first place.
Opting for an enclosure model that offers a great range of sizes will make it much easier to specify one with the capacity to accommodate your electronics without wasting space. Our aluCASE range is available in a huge range of sizes.
Alternatively, there is aluPLUS which is cast in industry-standard sizes – making it easier to replace and upgrade your existing enclosures.
Here’s a dilemma facing many designers: you need RFI/EMI shielding for your enclosures…but you’re worried how long the notoriously fragile shielding gaskets will survive the rigours of regular lid openings during servicing.
The solution is to specify diecast enclosures with built-in shielding. ROLEC’s conFORM and conTROL housings both feature a patented tooth system that is pre-cast into the base and lid – making the perfect connection every time, maintaining electrical continuity.
Industrial machine control requires a particular type of standard diecast enclosure – one with a deeply recessed collar that will protect the buttons and help prevent them from being pressed accidentally.
The aforementioned conTROL is designed specifically for this role. And yet it still retains the discrete design language that’s so vital for all standard enclosures (be they diecast aluminum, fabricated steel or molded plastic). The perfect standard enclosure must be smart, modern and eye-catching so that it enhances the device. But not ‘too distinctive’ – the enclosure must be understated so it doesn’t overshadow the product. And no designer wants to see the standard enclosure they’ve specified also being used on a rival product.
What if you need two chambers on your enclosure? So that you can separate the terminals from the electronics during servicing? Or so you can open one sealed chamber for maintenance without needing to disturb the seal on the other? There’s no need to opt for a custom housing: ROLEC offers aluTWIN specifically for that purpose.
And it’s even possible to combine some of design features listed above while still specifying a standard diecast enclosure: the KTE version of aluFACE offers a deep collar and twin chambers.
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