Electronics Protection - November/December 2012 - (Page 14)

Feature Don’t Call it a Box! Instrument Cases Can Combine Strength and Eye Appeal Justin Moll, Vice President, US Market Development Pixus Technologies Electronics enclosures have all types of monikers: cases, chassis, shelves, racks, enclosures and box. A rose may be a rose and an enclosure is an enclosure, but the design of any desktop or portable instrument case should be attractive without breaking the bank. Unless your new product is an upgrade of a highly successful device or if you know you have an instant winner, you probably won’t be hitting the volumes to merit a highly-customized aesthetic design off the bat. When trying to launch your product, what probably suits your needs the best is an off-the-shelf or “modified standard” of a modular enclosure. A modular design allows the flexibility in the sizes and configuration, keeping design time and costs low. But, when it comes to off-the-shelf, you don’t have to settle for bottom shelf in the aesthetics department. Let’s face it, a lot of instrument case look like metal crates, not exactly the way you want to present your analyzer, test/diagnostic device or other electronics equipment. There are several ways an enclosure can be designed for aesthetics and practical use. First, rounded corners can be employed as opposed to straighter edges that hurt if you bump into one. Even better if the corner members or other part of the enclosure can come in different color options that add a nice eye appeal. (See Figure 1). An enclosure that allows accentuations, such as color matching caps, groove segments, and curvaceous designs add an extra appeal. Even a nicely-finished hinged door on the front or glazed acrylic glass door can imFigure 1. Corner members of the encloprove aesthetics. sure protect the equipment and come Accessories for the in various colors and styles for aesthetic appeal. These shown can also act as eninstrument case should closure feet while providing an air gap. also stand out. The same old straight handle with a simple rubber grip can be boring. Designs with curved reserveangle styles and quick attachments in standard color options are more interesting. These types of handles add to both aesthetics and ergonomics. The options like the plastic or rubber polyamide molded feet can come in different styles and colors, matching the frame of the enclosure. It should also be pointed out that a stand-alone desktop or mounted system can be much more attractive than a rack. A 19 inch rack with several enclosures plugged in is fine for the back room, but not ideal for the showroom. The device maker can mount the enclosure onto a cart for easier HMI (HumanMachine Interface) with an attractive appears. Often wheels will be mounted for portability. An important consideration for many applications is EMC. The design of the covers and inside components can inherently help with EMI, while additional gasketing can be employed. The all-metal design with contact points provides EMC protection. EMC expansion flanges can be incorporated in certain types of designs to allow for extra gasketing. Even simple Figure 2. The same enclosure components such as corner caps, type for a desktop enclosure is which accentuate the design while rugged enough for many emprovide a gap (like feet) between bedded applications. The figure the enclosure and the desktop. shows a custom backplane in a This provides extra space for air10U communications case. flow, while protecting the desktop from being scratched by the enclosure. Design Versatility As design engineers have a wide range of requirements for their application, it’s important to offer versatility. A modular design provides flexibility with a wide range of depths, heights and configurations. The enclosures can have threaded inserts with tapped holes at regular intervals for all type of shelf and component mounting. Further, optional fans can easily be mounted on the rear or bottom of the chassis for front-to-rear or bottomto-top cooling. Perforated covers for each cooling type can also easily be provided in a modular design configuration. Grounding or earthing sets can be incorporate with ease. Modular enclosures can also be easily modified into different types of configurations. This includes tower enclosures, facilitated with pre-set mounting holes to rotate a horizontal enclosure on its end and utilize the extrusions for the internal mounting, feet, etc. Accessories such as flip-down keyboard lids, keylock doors, adjustable height feet, front Figure 3. An exploded view of an handles, and mounting flanges, instrument case with options such as add to the versatility of flavors an acrylic door, swivel carry handle/ for the enclosures. A variety of stand and flip-down keyboard holder/lid. acrylic or glass doors also enhances the enclosure appeal. See Figure 3 for a unit showing several of these options. Not Just a Pretty Face The Right Solution Aesthetic enclosures have also been used for backplane-based systems. The enclosure can be rugged enough for industrial use. Figure 2 shows a 10U enclosure with a custom backplane for embedded applications. The insides of the cases can be designed to allow a wide range of options. Using modular extrusion-based materials, the case can allow flexibility in not just the placement of shelves, grounding contacts, but also a card cage with guides for Eurocard type boards. 14 Success in the instrument case market is finding the right solution for the customer that meets their quality, lead time and price expectations. A modular design of the components allows unique configurations at a sensible price even for smaller and medium volumes. But, incorporating the modularity of aesthetics into the enclosures offers a way for each new design to appear fresh unique, and not just another “box”. For more information please visit www.pixustechnologies.com November/December 2012 www.ElectronicsProtectionMagazine.com http://www.pixustechnologies.com http://www.ElectronicsProtectionMagazine.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Electronics Protection - November/December 2012

Electronics Protection - November/December 2012
Buckeye Shapeform Provides Nuclear Lab New Case Options
Collaborative Design of Custom Enclosures - An Overview of the Process
Lowering Data Center Energy Bills: DCIM to the Rescue
What the New NFPA Workplace Electrical Safety Provisions Mean for Data Center Managers
Mitigating Risks Through Power Distribution Design
Don’t Call it a Box! Instrument Cases Can Combine Strength and Eye Appeal
L-com Adds New Sizes to Its Non-Powered Weatherproof Industrial Enclosures Line
Nusil Presents Thermally Conductive Electronic Packaging Material
Lapp’s Cable Glands Deliver EMI Protection and Simple Installation
New Surge Suppression Solution to Shield Electronics from Surge Energy Let-Through
Chatsworth Products Increases Surface Area on Cable Pathways by 400 Percent
Industry News
Calendar of Events

Electronics Protection - November/December 2012