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Category Archives: Electronic Enclosures
I recently had the opportunity to go to one of our major distributors, Digi-Key, to train their technical sales team. It was a fairly intense time with six 30 minute sessions focusing on our products with a special emphasis on our NEMA enclosures and our Five Day Modification Program. What impressed me was the caliber of the people. People often joke about Digi-Key’s location in upstate Minnesota where in January you can go for long periods of time with the temperature remaining below zero. But what they really have is a team of people who understand the company, its mission and its culture. They are bright, motivated, curious, and eager to learn. While enclosures are not the most “sexy” components in the industry, they quickly understood how the product related to what they are doing and how it increases the value of the sale. It was a very energizing experience and one that explains why our industry continues to grow and evolve.
We thought that we had heard of all of the potential unique applications for Bud enclosures. With the advent of our NEMA enclosures that are sealed to keep out water and other environmental conditions, we were inundated with unique product in use stories. Many of these were farming related such as one that tracks the fertility and production of chickens, improving egg output and advising farmers when a chicken is not meeting expectations. Several were related to pest spraying such as the unit that could be set to fumigate your yard at a specific time so that you can enjoy the outdoors bug free as you return from work.
Recently, our sales service team received a call from a distraught gentlemen seeking to buy one of our plastic NEMA 4x enclosures from the NBF series. He had some questions about the size and the ability to get it quickly. Apparently, he had just lost his pet dog and was needed a “casket” rapidly. Our NBF series was the perfect size to ease his pup’s journey into the hereafter. He was referred to one of our distributors who had the inventory and would ship the same day. Although it is an unusual story, we have also mourned the loss of a beloved pet. We were glad that our products could provide some sense of comfort for them and that our service and broad offering could help them in their time of need. There is never an end to the applications for a Bud enclosure.
I recently returned from Asia on a trip to see our factories there. I continue to be amazed at the rapid development of the infrastructure in these countries. There are many new roads, buildings, and transportation hubs being developed. The factories have new issues to deal with, labor shortages, rising prices, inconsistent government policies on growth, all of which create an unstable business climate. Yet I continue to be impressed with the strong desire of the companies that seek to export, especially to the US. With a product that is as large as electronic enclosures, export can often be a challenge, so they have to continue to improve their productivity and creativity to remain competitive. We continue to see that with our various enclosure factories, developing improved products in areas ranging from large cabinet racks to extruded boxes. We have also seen some creative us of plastics in mounting boards and tablet screens. Yet we still find that the most creativity comes from the US and the ideas that our customers present to us to meet their specific needs. As the economy becomes more global, the improvements in productivity will continue to be important, but the creativity will drive the market.
As development boards such as the raspberry pi and freedom platforms have swept the industry, we at Bud Industries have created enclosures to house the boards and their peripherals. As we chatted with engineers and other users, we heard about several problems. First, they were often not using one board, but several. Second, as they used these boards, they found themselves with a jumble of boards, cables and components scattered across their workstation. Finally, when they had to move the boards, it required taking them all apart or balancing them in some way to avoid damaging the connections.
We turned these issues over to our design team, and they came up with a simple solution to all of these challenges. Check out this video on the board-ganizer. Bud Board-ganizer video Basically, it is 4 plastic panels on which you can mount the boards or breadboard, using double stick pads. This means it will work with virtually any size development board including the Raspberry Pi, arduino, beagle boards, olimex, and freedom boards.. The plastic panels connect to each other using metal dowels, and then can be rolled up into an enclosure that’s 5 x 5 x 3 without disconnecting anything. You can then set it aside to avoid damage, take it with you to visit a colleague, or take it home. Priced well below $20, these are an economical solution to an annoying problem. The Board-ganizer will be in stock by mid-June. Check it out.
What distinguishes a simple metal or plastic box from a functional electronic enclosure? Most often, it’s the modifications necessary to allow access to the interior, stabilize and protect its contents, and present the appropriate appearance. Enclosures typically need a minimum of one cutout for a power cable and often many other modifications, which can include holes, cutouts, tappings, gaskets, pre-assembly, and finishing.
Education is one of those areas that is on everyone’s “to do” list. We all know we need to keep up in today’s fast moving marketplace yet finding the time to attend classes, even virtually, is a huge challenge. Even more difficult is finding options that are quick, meaningful, and easy to attend. Newark Element 14 is hosting a series of Webinar 101 sessions that are run by their top vendors and are meet those needs and if the timing does not work for you, there is an opportunity to listen to the session later although the live question and answer period will not be available.
Of great interest to me is that I will be hosting a session on Electronic Enclosures that is titled “How to avoid the top 10 pitfalls in designing and specifying an enclosure”. The session will be held this Tuesday, April 23 at noon central time. You can sign up below:
The Freescale™ Freedom Development Platform Model FRDM-KL25Z is a development platform designed to work with other minicomputers such as the raspberry PI and other development boards such as the Arduino Uno. Bud’s new FBB-3665 enclosure has been manufactured to fit the Freedom Platform and is made of four separate parts (top, bottom, front, and rear panels.) We have created accessibility in the front panel to allow connection to KL25Z USB, Open SDA USB and the reset button. The side slot is designed to accommodate flat cables from both IO header banks and the PCB can be removed without removing the cables. There are round knockout plugs to accommodate optional miniature cable glands (NG-9511). Plus, it is well ventilated to allow heat to escape. This enclosure has added to our board development driven enclosure line which includes our PS-11591 Pi Sandwich and PP-11594 Pi Plate for the Raspberry PI programming board. Check out our video on this exciting enclosure.
It is often difficult for a company to shift course, especially when it is an 85 year old business. However, here at Bud, a recurrent theme has been the need for speed. Customers need enclosures fast and not just standard enclosures, but modified electronic enclosures as well. To meet this demand, we have created a 5 day delivery program on modified enclosures. To do this, we changed two things. First, and foremost, we have streamlined our order processing, implementing a rapid engineering process and a cad to CNC download program that significantly improved our speed. We then increased our inventories on standard products, allowing us to pull the standards from stock, modify them, and get them to the customer in only 5 days. This is an industry leading delivery time, and has created a huge demand for our services at a time when others are talking about an industry slowdown. We have over a 98% on time rate on these orders and will continue to improve on that record. We may be 85, but we are becoming as nimble as a teenager and look for other ways to be even more responsive to our customers needs.
I have just returned from Electronica in Munich and was amazed by its size and scope. There is nothing like it in the US, both for the breadth of products that are represented as well as for the numbers of companies who go to extremes to make an impact at the show. From people demonstrating chips by dancing “Gangham” Style to race cars to Marilyn Monroe look alikes, this show has it all. But what delights me is the impact that all components, especially Electronic Enclosures has in creating a truly whole industry. It still attracts companies of all sizes, we are all still innovating, we are moving with the market as electronics becomes an innate part of our lives. I listened to an economist forecasting the future of our industry and he noted that with areas such as medical electronics, products to provide support for the aging, information technology of all sorts, the future of our industry is even greater than it has been with the consumer electronics explosion. For all of us, as we learn to develop new skills and new services, we will continue to evolve and lead the world economy.
Perhaps we are counter-intuitive, but we, at Bud, feel this is a great time to invest in our business. With our greatest focus on North America, we feel now is the time to upgrade our equipment, take advantage of the tax policies, and continue to improve our offering. With that in mind, in the last 3 months, we have acquired a new panel bender and brake, investing over $1 million. These pieces of equipment offer a number of advantages:
- Reduces setup time per bend from 30-40 minutes to 2-3 minutes including programming on repeats
- Reduces the need for old style experienced brake operator who have become very difficult to find – allowing for a more flexible work force
- Increased product run flexibility – can run one piece, can run large quantities, can run all components in series vs production runs, reducing inventory and increasing throughput. It eliminates the need to focus on an economic order quantity, allowing production to focus on customer needs.
- Improved energy savings
- Ability to make new products here cost effectively. For the last 15 years, virtually all new products have been made with our overseas partners. Now that we have this equipment, we are developing two new product families that can be produced in our facility.
We have a video of the new panel bender that you can view.