Electronics Protection - March/April 2013 - (Page 14)

Feature From the Inside: The Configurable Plastic Enclosures Revolution Robert Cox, Vice President of Marketing OKW Enclosures, Inc. Plastic enclosures are undergoing a something of a revolution that has the potential to transform the way in which electronics design engineers approach projects. Long gone are the days when designers needed three different enclosures for wall mounting, desktop and handheld applications. Now one configurable plastic housing does it all. Today’s ranges of configurable plastic enclosures come with numerous base units, wall brackets and ergonomic carrying options, enabling engineers to create flexible products for an increasingly demanding world. Today’s highly mobile and design-conscious end users often need data gathering and communications devices that can be handheld, then perhaps cab-mounted in vehicles and finally clipped into desk units for data download and mains charging. Meeting these ever-changing needs requires versatile enclosures that be configured and re-configured quickly, easily and cost effectively as requirements evolve. Engineers are turning to plastic enclosures that can be easily configured to house membrane keypads, touch screen displays plus charging/data download sockets, merely by clipping in different sections They know that specifying configurable plastic enclosures early in the design process not only makes for a better end product, it can significantly cut manufacturing costs and shorten time to market. In the past, design engineers often faced a dilemma, either they could compromise and use a standard plastic enclosure or bite the budget bullet and invest in their own custom enclosure. Now they can get the best of both worlds by choosing configurable standard plastic enclosures that can be tailored to their needs. OKW’s Interface-Terminal range exemplifies the modern face of configurable plastic enclosures with: • Front Covers and Plates – For use with membrane keypads and glass touch screens (a world first) • Rear Plates – Including snap-in strips for versatile mounting and lowered mounting pillars for extra space • Handheld Options – Such as battery compartments and charging points • Desktop base units and wall mounting options. But the journey that led OKW designers to Interface-Terminal actually started 30 years ago. This has been quiet revolution that first started back in the 1980s. Configurable plastic enclosures took their first steps with OKW’s Vario-Box, a range of rugged enclosures still in production today. Vario-Box was aimed initially at mounting machinery controls to factory walls. At that time, desk-mounting was not seen as a priority but the range has since acquired carry handle bars that make the housing desk-friendly as well as hand-portable. 14 Fast forward to the 1990’s and the focus had shifted from heavy industry to the world of retail. Growing numbers of point of sale applications needed attractive and consumer-friendly enclosures that could be configured in any number of different ways. Allied to the demand in retail was a growing market for facilities management and building access control equipment. It needed to be desk dockable, as well as portable and wall mountable. So design styles softened as the emphasis switched from the factory wall to the office wall and the desktop, as exemplified by configurable plastic enclosures ranges such as OKW’s DatecTerminal range with its sloping fronts and wide range of lid options. Datec-Terminal was the first plastic enclosure that could directly accept a bar code reader or a magnetic strip reader, putting it firmly in the point of sale world, but it was also used widely in light industry to house control equipment. Like Vario-Box, it is still in production today. Ten years on and configurable plastic enclosures entered the 21st century with OKW’s Art-Case, a step forward in both functionality and aesthetics. As the name suggests, Art-Case is as modern and attractive as it is versatile. Circles and gentle curves are the hallmark of Art-Case that, as well as wall, desk and handheld options, offers ceiling mounts to accommodate smoke or gas detectors and similar monitoring devices. Art-Case offers four housing shapes – circular, lozenge-shaped, square and rectangular that can then be configured with a choice of: • Domed and recessed tops • Three angles of inclined cases • Raised level and raised inclined cases • Europlug connection and battery compartment. Typical applications include transmitter and receiver units for building services, detectors, medical and wellness devices, security systems and peripherals. Then in 2010 came the Interface-Terminal, the first ever configurable plastic enclosures to be compatible with touch screens. Options include: • Four Standard Versions – Fixed desktop, two part desktop wall, mobile and mobile with station • A Variety of Front Panel Styles – ABS cover and flat panel, aluminum front panel and glass panel • Battery compartment (5 by 1.5 v AA cells) and charging points Units are mounted not with old-style fixed connections but plug-in connectors to create a fast, easy and rational solution that removes the need for fault-prone rewiring. Development of the Interface-Terminal continues into 2013 with the launch of an installation kit that allows the basic enclosures to be flush mounted into a wall or control panel. The unit is mounted behind a bezel which means there are no visible screws. OKW March/April 2013 www.ElectronicsProtectionMagazine.com http://www.ElectronicsProtectionMagazine.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Electronics Protection - March/April 2013

Electronics Protection - March/April 2013
Newer Technology Releases Next-Generation Power2U AC/USB In Wall Charging Solution
Specifiers of Enclosures for Components in Outdoor Applications: Be Aware of Material Selection Issues
How to Protect Electronic Circuits from Power Surges
Testing for Ingress Protection of Portable Electronic Devices
Increasing the Lifespan and Reliability of Electrical Components
From the Inside: The Configurable Plastic Enclosures Revolution
Tips for Selecting and Designing a Membrane Switch
HP Intelligent Series Rack Models Available for Networking and Demanding Server Requirements
Polyonics Antistatic Tapes Solve ESD Problems Before They Damage Static Sensitive Devices
OptoTherm Introduces IR LabMate Infrared Camera Solution
Falcon Electric Offers NEMA 3R/4 Enclosures with SSG UPSs
PEM SpotFast Fasteners Enables Flush Joining of Two Sheets
Industry News
Calendar of Events

Electronics Protection - March/April 2013