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Enclosures: adding value for the customer

27 June 2011

A close relationship between a customer and supplier is desirable at any time. When it comes to the enclosure, however, the closer the relationship is, the better the result, as illustrated by the co-operation between WEMSinternational and its enclosure supplier

WEMSinternational is a trading name of Adam Communications Systems International, a company founded in 1990 to develop a series of advanced wired building energy management systems. The re-branding to WEMSinternational (WEMS standing for Wireless Energy Management Systems) took place earlier this year, but back in 2007 the company had already established its reputation in this market following the launch of an innovative wireless building management system that reduces installation costs by 40%, causes minimal disruption during installation and typically accelerates return on investment by 12 months.

Moreover, these systems are web-enabled, which means they provide simple, remote access to control settings at any site, as well as instant reporting of system performance and business critical alarm monitoring. And as installation cabling is not required, these systems are commercially viable for even the smallest buildings. The company’s products have been embraced by various blue-chip customers, including some well-known retail groups that are now enjoying lower energy costs as a result.

A significant proportion of WEMSinternational products are housed in enclosures supplied by CamdenBoss. Five product lines use the latter’s DIN rail mounted enclosures while a further three room sensors are packaged in an injection-moulded enclosure supplied by the Mildenhall, Suffolk based company. In fact, the relationship with CamdenBoss goes back over a number of years and there has been ongoing close co-operation between the two companies’ design engineers to ensure these products combine functionality with an aesthetically pleasing appearance.

As is common practice among today’s manufacturers, WEMSinternational has ‘outsourced’ the production of components to contract manufacturers – one in Scotland and one in the West Midlands. Key to the success of this arrangement is timely supply of complete component parts to ensure uninterrupted final assembly. CamdenBoss’s approach is to supply the DIN rail enclosures to the subcontractor fully customised so that all they need to do is remove a cover, mount PCBs into the enclosures and replace the cover. There is no need to fiddle about with the spring-loaded DIN rail mounting clips, terminal covers, enclosure vents or any other sub-components. This approach also has the benefit of ensuring there are no hold-ups in production due, for example, to a shortage of one particular part or another.

Treating the DIN rail enclosure as a single component has provided significant benefits as far as WEMSinternational’s manufacturing process is concerned, particularly at times of high demand. For example, it makes the ordering process considerably simpler as there is only one, as opposed to several parts to consider, thus reducing the incidence of errors and omissions.

With success comes growth, and WEMSinternational is no exception, tripling in size in the wake of its wireless product developments. Growing pains are to be expected but CamdenBoss is able to assist its client by holding buffer levels of stock to meet spikes in demand comfortably.

When energy management systems are being rolled out in premises across the UK, ranging in size from 4,000 to 17,000m², WEMSinternational must have confidence in the knowledge that enclosures will be available to meet demand.

The five product lines using CamdenBoss DIN rail enclosures include the WEMSprogrammer wireless system processor, two WEMSSERIAL communications modules (USB/485 and RS232/485 versions) and the WEMScontroller3 and 4 wireless controllers. These products are all generally housed within a building’s control panel so DIN rail style enclosures are ideal.  For the sensor products, however, something more aesthetically pleasing was needed as these are usually sited in visible positions around offices and buildings.

There are three such products – WEMSsensor Temperature, WEMSsensor Temperature & Light Level and WEMSsensor Temperature & Light Level & Presence Detection – for which CamdenBoss has designed, tooled and injection-moulded the enclosures. Again, by working closely with its client’s designers, the company was able to come up with a tooling design that delivers a suitable enclosure for all three products, including a modification to enable a window for the PIR detector needed in the Presence Detection model.

CamdenBoss’s long experience of tooling for injection moulded products also proved useful during the re-branding exercise. When the company expected a five figure charge for retooling, CamdenBoss managed to update the logo on the original moulding tool, avoiding the expense of completely remaking the tool. Yet another illustration of the importance of a close working relationship between customer and supplier.

Besides DIN rail and injection-moulded enclosures, CamdenBoss also offers its customisation service on all standard injection-moulded, die-cast and sheet-plastic enclosures. With custom colours, surface coating and RFI shielding, engraving and silk-screen printing, labels and membrane keypads, as well as the company’s in-house machining centres to mill apertures for all types of connectors, fixings and control components, CamdenBoss can turn standard enclosures into finished housings ready made for the design engineer’s application.

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