Choosing the right enclosure has far-reaching consequences. Yet, businesses don’t spend much time on designing electronic enclosures; they are mostly concerned with the technology and the internal components. Picking up a box may sound simple, but choosing the best electronic enclosure for your application can be daunting since there may be several options. Indeed, such a multiplicity of options can create anxiety. So, here is a step-by-step guide to designing a custom enclosure for electronics.
The size that fits your components
In designing small enclosures, manufacturers mostly come up with their standard sizes. There is no universal standard. So, sizes may vary between companies, albeit by very low margins such as a fraction of an inch or a millimeter or two. However, even a slight difference can be a bad one for your product. So, you need to specify things like space between holes of the mounting rails, etc.
There is no alternative for prototyping. You do need to make some prototypes and see if they are meeting all the criteria for your product. However, prototyping is costly since you need all the infrastructure including molds and tools to make even a few prototypes. A toolless environment for making a custom enclosure for electronics can be a good idea. This can bring down the cost of making prototypes and also the time to make them.
The right material
Choosing the right material for your project is a very important step. You need to weigh factors like weight, impact resistance, durability, ability to withstand water, flammability, etc are some of the important factors to consider in selecting the right material. You may go for steel, but if you need lighter weight Aluminum can be a good choice. You can also go for polycarbonate or ABS. ABS is less expensive compared to polycarbonate, but it is also less durable than polycarbonate.
A hazardous environment?
Do you expect the custom enclosure for electronics to operate in a hazardous environment? In that case, you need certifications like NEMA and IP ratings which certify that the enclosure is capable of withstanding conditions like water, snow, flammability UV rays, etc.
Choosing the right custom enclosure for electronics is not an easy job. You need to make sure that you are considering all the factors that would come into play in a real environment. Size is a very important factor, but there are many other factors that you need to ponder over.