Not every industrial electronic enclosure has to be manufactured from diecast aluminum: plastic enclosures are becoming increasingly popular because they’re lighter, more cost-effective and they’re insulated.
The evolution from grimy 20th century workshops to the futuristic smart factories of today has transformed what is required from an industrial electronic enclosure. Yes, these housings still have to be tough. And yes, they still have to offer the right ingress protection – but no, they don’t always have to be metal.
Welcome to the world of ABS, ASA and ASA+PC electronic enclosures…
ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is a two-phase polymer that was for a long time the top choice for plastic enclosures. It’s a good all-rounder – strong, with good scratch resistance, and capable of withstanding low temperatures (-20°C). ABS provides good resistance against impact and also against chemicals. But it is less resilient when exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods. For superior UV-stability, specify ASA instead – or better still, an ASA blend.
PC (Polycarbonate) is a tough thermoplastic polymer used for riot shields, greenhouses, eyewear lenses, Blu-ray disks, DVDs and CDs. It withstands impact but has a low resistance to scratches. Furthermore, it is not recommended for applications involving strong alkalis. Polycarbonate can be used indoors and outdoors (-20°C to 140°C). It has a good resistance to sunlight but an ASA+PC blend is better in this respect.
ASA (Acrylonitrile styrene acrylate, also called Acrylic styrene acrylonitrile) is an amorphous thermoplastic developed as a UV-stable alternative to ABS. Blending ASA with PC adds further strength and resilience. This is the plastic to specify if your enclosures are to be used outdoors. It’s also excellent for indoor use; you’d be surprised how damaging the sun’s rays can be, even inside a building.
Plastic enclosures are generally not as resistant to water ingress as their diecast aluminium counterparts. But they still have good IP ratings, making them a sound, dependable choice for most applications:
Most plastic enclosures are not rated to IP 69K (protection against high pressure steam cleaning) – though our technoPLUS enclosures for outdoor electronics are. Read our guide to IP ratings to find out more about ingress protection: view this page and click on the tab ‘IP Ratings Explained’.
There are five models in our plastic enclosures range – each with their own benefits – to suit a wide range of industrial electronics applications…
starCASE (IP 66) is an advanced ‘go anywhere’ enclosure for walls, bulkheads, ceilings or machines. These ASA+PC (UL 94 V-0) enclosures can be installed ‘lid closed’ – protecting the seal and electronics – thanks to separate channels for the lid screws and fixing screws (all of which are hidden under hinged trims). The trims can be specified in red, blue, anthracite or light gray as standard, making color coding or branding more cost-effective. Integrated retaining straps support the lid when it is open. Options and accessories include a security key lock.
technoDISC (IP 66, IP 67) is the ASA+PC version of diecast aluDISC (IP 66, IP 67, IP 69K). Their wristwatch-style shape combines circle-based design language for ‘round’ applications (such as pipework) with two flat surfaces for the installation of cable glands. Like starCASE, they too can be installed lid closed. But this time the trims that conceal all the screws are not hinged – they clip in and out.
technoPLUS (IP 66, IP 67, IP 69K) plastic enclosures are designed to fit masts and poles (Ø1.18"-2.76" and Ø>2.76"). A unique attachment allows these UV-stable ASA enclosures to be mounted (lid closed) either vertically or horizontally using either plastic or metal straps. Integrated retaining straps hold the lid in place – very useful when technoPLUS is being installed at height. Again, all the fittings are hidden beneath plastic covers.
technoCASE (IP 66, IP 67) offers a simple but smart multivariable configuration that enables you to combine either a lid and base, two lids or two bases to create a wider range of sizes. How? Very easily – both sections feature a generous recess to accommodate a membrane keypad or product label. So either top or bottom can be the lid. Like starCASE, these ABS enclosures feature integrated lid supports and a choice of colored trims to hide the fixing screws (but this time there’s a wider choice of colors: red, yellow, green, blue and light gray). Options and accessories include a lock, DIN rail mounting kit, hinges, feet, and a supporting rail for series terminals.
technoBOX (IP 66) is a cost-effective ABS enclosure for electronics and electrical devices. Its bevelled lid gives it a smart, modern look. Options and accessories include a lock, internal or external hinges, external mounting brackets, mounting plates, feet, and a supporting rail for series terminals.
Order your plastic enclosures fully customized – ready for your electronics. Our customization services include CNC machining, engraving, laser processing, display windows, photo-quality digital printing, RFI/EMI shielding, special materials, membrane keypads, and assembly/installation of accessories.
View the full range of customizing options here >>
It’s always good to get the right advice when specifying enclosures for industrial electronics – especially when it comes to plastic housings. You need to be certain that you’re specifying not just the right enclosure model but also the right plastic for it.
Need a tougher or more UV-stable plastic for your preferred model? Ask us about special materials. Contact us now to discuss your enclosure requirements.
1. Browse the product sections or use the search feature, to find the right product.
2. Review our products and detailed technical information. Add the articles and accessories you need to your list using the “Add to my list” button on the product pages.
3. Return to your list using the top menu “MY LIST” link on any page. You can modify the list and then submit your quotation and/or sample request.