Electronic enclosures are generally box-like in shape but custom-made enclosures tend to have more variety because customization allows curves, contours and complex shapes that otherwise are not available. Generally, aluminum, stainless steel or galvanized steel are used for their strong and durable properties. Some enclosures are made from plastic because it is easier to work with when creating small or complicated enclosures.
Though the range of applications is broad, there are 5 basic categories of enclosures. Portable enclosures are small enough to fit in a pocket or be held in a hand, like a remote car starter. They may incorporate a battery compartment or LED. Desk top enclosures can be customized with foot pads, removable stands and engraving.
Boxes with clear windows and touch screens are common display enclosures that can be adjusted for size and mounting configuration. Wall mounted enclosures can be customized to make installation and access easier while maintaining security and safety. Lastly, cabinet enclosures usually house standard 19 inch audio and video equipment or computers but can be modified to fit virtually any need.
Custom enclosures are necessary when readymade enclosures are the wrong size, shape, material or finish. The electronic industry (or any industry that uses electronic equipment) is constantly making innovations and developing new technology that requires new housings in order to maximize space and minimize costs. The process of customizing enclosures begins with design and product engineering. A punch, mold or die is created, depending on the material, and the product is formed.
Plastic or composite materials can be molded or punched. Some metals are cold-rolled into sheets then spot or seam welded; others are cast or extruded. Extrusion forces a bar of steel or aluminum through a die and is used when complex cross sections are required. Knockouts and openings are cut and removed, and vents are added if necessary.
The enclosure is then cleaned and deburred to leave a smooth surface. Some receive a finish such as powder coating, enamel or silk-screening or may be left plain, depending on the aesthetic requirements. The enclosure is assembled and given its final hardware and accessories, which can include handles, slides, shelves, panels, drawers, fans, blowers, power strips, wire management, doors and more.
Custom Enclosures Informational Video