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Finding the right enclosure for you

03 February 2020

Specifying the correct enclosure onto your bill of materials can be as, if not more, important than the housed electronics and PCB assembly. Not only providing product identity, it also needs to provide protection and should be specified to the expected working environment. The choice of enclosure can either make-or-break the functionality of the end product, and therefore requires some degree of planning and research.

Enclosure are available to meet a huge variety of specifications, with manufacturers designing new products to target certain industries and applications. Such applications present their own environmental conditions and enclosures must therefore be designed to meet these needs. 

For example, the requirement of an indoor enclosure will be different to an enclosure equipped for working outdoors. Outdoor enclosures encounter the elements, in the form of water and ultra-violet radiation, and must be able to withstand these. Equally, an ergonomically shaped housing will perform better than a large ruggedised enclosure as a handheld device.

Selecting the material is a good place to start when specifying an enclosure. Plastic housings are generally cheaper than metal boxes, whilst providing a good level of protection against impact and chemicals; some offer a good level of UV protection, for example polycarbonate or ASA. Plastic housings are also very easy to machine and customise. Assuming the enclosure is designed accordingly, plastic enclosures can provide the highest levels of ingress protection (IP). As such, plastic is a good choice for a vast selection of applications.

Read the full article in the February issue of DPA.

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