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Category Archives: Electronic Enclosures
As the year draws to a close, I cannot help but think back on what an eventful year we have had at Bud Industries. From innovative new products to corporate milestones, 2013 has been a very good year for all of us at Bud. Perhaps the highlight of 2013 was the introduction of the Board-ganizer. This creative product solves several issues for the development board user:
- It helps organize the workspace of the designer who is using several development boards such as raspberry pi, arduino, freescale freedom boards, and others or the various accessories that have sprung up for these products.
- It allows these boards to be mobile…to allow for the transportation of your boards easily without having to disconnect the cables or other components.
This product has been an overwhelming success with hobbyists, schools, and many companies. It even led to a very clever film about how to use the Board-ganizer with the boards to create a fish tank controller and camera. Check it out, it’s very funny.
Specifying enclosures is technically very easy compare to the engineering skills required for many of the components that inhabit the box. In most cases, all that is required is to determine the necessary internal or external dimensions, pick a material, and you are ready to protect your equipment. While the technology is easy, the actual selection process can proved daunting. Typical enclosure manufacturers have thousands of standard products available in a variety of shapes and materials and wading through many internet pages of product descriptions can not only be daunting, but may prove incredibly time consuming. We have solved this problem with Bud’s unique product selector program. It now becomes a simple process of selecting a range for the length, width and depth of the enclosure if it is a box and the panel space if it is a cabinet rack. This is done with sliders, so it is easy to adjust the range rapidly to increase or decrease the options. The alternatives instantly will appear even as you adjust the slider, with color photographs and more complete descriptions and dimensions to assist in your selection. Searching is possible with either internal dimensions (component mounting space) or external dimensions to insure the best possible fit is being provided. The products have links provided that allow for a quick jump to more detailed product information including CAD or PDF drawings, product videos, and even optional modification opportunities.
Also on the product pages is a quick link to pricing and availability at our distributor websites, so not only can you pick the proper product rapidly, but even place an order at the same time. Bud now makes the selection of electronic enclosures as easy as possible. Check it out today on our website at www.budind.com. There is a link right on the home page to get you started.
Thanksgiving is often a time of reflection. For us at Bud Industries, Thanksgiving week marks a special time in our corporate life as Bud Industries marks our 85th Anniversary. Founded in 1928, the company is still privately held and is in the 3rd and 4th generation family management. Our company’s first product was a radio antenna eliminator. This product was literally what it said, a unit that you could attach to the back of your radio to avoid having to connect to a rooftop antenna to gain reception.
The company expanded into all kinds of antennas including the revolutionary concept of car antennas and then microphones but phased out of that business in the mid 1930’s as other product lines grew more rapidly. During the Depression, we sold radio kits for people who were unable to afford a finished radio for their homes.
The Bud Board-ganizer was introduced this year as a totally unique solution to a frequent engineering/developer problem. When working with multiple development boards, the logistics of organizing the workspace and gaining capabilities to move the product without damage are daunting. The Board-ganizer is a simple and elegant solution to this challenge by using double stick pads to attach the boards and breadboards, and then marrying them together in a foldable enclosure. There are videos that show this process well.
This week, Design News gave the board-ganizer a glowing review. In fact, the reviewer has said that he is planning to use one for his next project….the best review of all. In addition, I chatted with various Newark Electronics sales people today who have been approaching universities with increasing success about outfitting their student labs with these enclosures. The response has been overwhelming. They reported that their unit sales on the product are doubling each month.
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: