Specifying Bespoke Aluminium Enclosures For Your Electronics
Bespoke vs Customised Enclosures
Ask for a custom 19” rack case or instrument enclosure for your electronics and we’ll almost always recommend a customised housing: a solution based on one of our many standard models.
That’s because customised enclosures require less design and machining – giving you production-line-ready housings at a price that is viable even for low volumes. Most of the time, going customised is quicker, easier and more cost-effective than specifying a fully bespoke enclosure that has to be designed from the ground up.
But bespoke enclosures are not always more expensive than customised cases. They can be more cost-effective, if you opt for the right design…
Why Specify A Bespoke Aluminium Electronic Enclosure?
METCASE standard enclosures are designed not to look ‘standard’: every housing should be easily customisable so it differentiates your product from those of your competitors. And the more standard models we offer:
- the more likely you are to find an off-the-shelf enclosure that matches your requirements
- the less customisation work is needed
- the easier it is to differentiate your product.
All of which saves you time and money – and it means you can get your completed PCB-ready enclosure more quickly.
But sometimes only a fully bespoke enclosure will do. Whether it’s because you need an enclosure to fulfil specific technical requirements. Or because you want a housing that’s even more distinctive than a customised solution. Or because the case you need is so simple that it’s even more cost-effective than a customised standard housing…
How A Bespoke Enclosure Can Be More Cost-Effective
Just to be clear, opting for a fully bespoke enclosure usually costs more because of all the extra work involved. But not always – so it pays to ask. There are two basic rules that’ll help you to manage costs more effectively:
- Keep it simple – such as a two-part housing with a U-shaped wraparound top
- Do not specify bezels.
A U-shaped wraparound top offers many advantages. Not only is it easier to manufacture but it also gives you quick and easy access to your electronics; this speeds up installations and maintenance. U-shaped sections are such a good design solution that we’ve used them in a number of standard models (such as our VERSAMET 19” rack cases). In fact, they work so well that our UNICASE instrument enclosures have two – a U-shaped top and bottom.
But folded aluminium enclosures don’t have to be two-part to be simple. Models such as our bestselling COMBIMET 19” rack cases prove that. What helps to make COMBIMET so customisable and such excellent value is the second rule – do not specify bezels.
Why Bezel-less Electronic Enclosures Are More Cost-Effective
Bezels are a robust and smart way to mount front and rear panels. But they’re more than just a form-follows-function way of securing your electronics in a robust housing. They make a strong design statement visually – they exude quality. And so you’ll find bezels in many METCASE enclosures, such as our TECHNOMET instrument enclosures and TECHNOMET 19” desktop mini-racks. Bezels work well and look good.
But that excellence comes at a price. Bezels are not manufactured from sheet aluminium; they consist of die castings and extrusion profiles. This adds extra processes: more time, more money. So you’ll enjoy cost savings if you specify a design – either bespoke or standard – that doesn’t include bezels.
And your enclosures will still look good. Bezels might offer an advantage when it comes to aesthetics but they are not a pre-requisite: going without them does not mean compromising the appearance of your case. We can show you plenty of standard models that prove that.
How Soon Will I Get My Bespoke Aluminium Enclosure?
Customised enclosures are almost always quicker to manufacture than bespoke housings. But that doesn’t mean you’re in for a long wait. You’d be surprised how quickly our engineers can turn ideas into designs and prototypes for your approval.
They can design your unique enclosure in a few weeks – and manufacture it in a further four to six weeks (depending upon its complexity). The key to a rapid completion is having your component layout finalised. This is why it pays to get advice from our engineers as early as possible.
We always say that you should specify the enclosure before you specify the PCB size. This may sound counterintuitive but there are good reasons for it:
- the enclosure will help you to determine the final layout of your components
- you’re more likely to specify a smaller enclosure (resulting in savings) if you aim to fit your electronics into a pre-defined space.
That second point is particularly important when it comes to specifying a bespoke enclosure (rather than a standard housing). It can be all too easy to keep increasing the dimensions of a housing that’s still to be finalised. After all, the enclosure is bespoke; it can be any size you want. But instead you should review your board layout to see how it could be made smaller. It’s the harder way to solve the challenge but it’s more rewarding: it will save you money.
At first glance, this may look like a chicken and egg situation: ‘I need to specify the enclosure before the PCB…but the enclosure doesn’t exist yet because it’s not a standard model.’
Don’t worry. You can still work to a ‘target space’, based on drawings, 3D models and advice from our experienced engineers. With all their years in enclosure design, they can guide you to the best solution for your requirements and help you to overcome any design challenges.
Creating Your Bespoke Metal Enclosure
Designing a bespoke housing is more difficult than customising a standard case so it pays to partner with a specialist enclosures manufacturer such as METCASE. Involving our engineers in the design process early on will help you solve any project challenges more quickly. Less time, less hassle, lower costs.
We know how important it is to make customising enclosures as easy as possible. That’s why our website enables you to specify customisation features (such as cutouts, fixings, inserts, powder paint colours) as if they were products; each has its own product code that you simply click to add to your basket.
And it’s why you’ll find videos (with exploded views) for our standard enclosures, and why you can download 3D models – so you can see how your components will look in your finished enclosure. All this is intended to make specifying your customised enclosure quick and easy.
But bespoke enclosures are different because you’re starting with a blank canvas. You may need much more advice on the opportunities available and any pitfalls to avoid. With all our experience, we can suggest ideas that’ll inspire you and designs that’ll help you to overcome possible hurdles.
And most of all, we’ll help you to specify enclosures with a ‘wow’ factor. After all, isn’t that the whole point of going fully bespoke? It’s about creating a unique enclosure that’s absolutely right for your product and yours alone.
So let’s make that happen for you.
Get Expert Technical Advice
Need more information? Contact METCASE for specialist technical advice on bespoke, customised and standard aluminium enclosures for electronics.
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