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Category Archives: Plastic Enclosures
Many consider the safest way to protect electronic components in a hazardous environment is to use a completely plastic NEMA enclosure. This eliminates the possibility for rust even in such often overlooked area as the latches and hinges. An entirely plastic enclosure provides the ultimate in low weight for the toughest durability. Bud’s very popular NBF series is the ultimate combination of great protection (NEMA/IP) and a value price.
Sometimes, here at Bud Industries, we take a look at some of our long term products such as our plastic rack mount chassis and are pleased to see that they are still as relevant today as they were when they were introduced more than a decade ago.
A bonus in the use of enclosures is that while the applications and, of course, the components will evolve over time, a product such as this chassis is flexible enough to accommodate the technological updates. It represents a simple solution to many of the engineers racking problems.
We are always delighted when a customer sends us a photo of one of our enclosures in use. It fascinates us to see the diversity in applications where electronics needs to be enclosed in industries of which we had no idea needed them.. From farming where enclosures are used in chicken coops to track the productivity and safety of the chickens to health care where motorized wheelchairs have their motor enclosed, the usage is impressive. But every so often, an application comes from an unexpected source and we find an enclosure is being utilized to solve a problem we never thought about.
We have known the Poncher family in the Electronic Component Industry for generations. Chuck Poncher’s father and uncle founded Newark Electronics in the early days of the industry at about the same time my grandfather founded Bud Industries. Chuck has a photo of a Bud truck delivering product to them dating back to the 40’s. After their business was sold, Chuck founded Hawk Electronics in the Chicago suburbs and that distributor still carries Bud products under the leadership of his son Kip. Kip, like me, the father of 4, recognized he had a tech problem in his home. The chargers for their electronic devices kept disappearing. To solve this, he grabbed a trusty Bud enclosure (CU-388-MB, a Bud plastic utilibox) and created a charging station for his home. The multi-purpose plastic enclosure proved perfect for housing allToday, once again, peace reigns within the Poncher household and our multi-generational friendship continues.
Between the new discoveries of water movement on Mars, and the Matt Damon movie, the Maritan, space and space travel is in the news. It is probably little known that Bud Industries played a small but important role in early space flight. For those old enough to remember, the astronauts carried with them a large metal box, its use was classified and we never learned exactly what it did. We thought it might have to do with generating oxygen or temperature controls for the space suit. Bud manufactured these boxes to their exacting standards and did so for nearly a decade until they were no longer required. In the intervening years, Bud has provided NASA products for a variety of applications, mostly involved in research and testing.
Today, Bud quality is internationally known particularly for products that protect components in harsh environments. While we have not tested our products on Mars, we have tested them under a variety of extreme weather conditions. One of our customers for our PN series of NEMA and IP rated plastic boxes deploys them in the Arctic Circle as part of a monitoring system. Having to deal with not only the extreme temperatures, but also moisture and wind create a challenge that we have successful met for years. Their boxes have worked flawlessly and the only modification has been that we have sent them updated gaskets as they have evolved to insure that they have the best possible product. While your applications may not be in space or at the North Pole, discover the protection that Bud can provide for all of your component needs.
It is often the case in technology that innovations are often adapted for different applications than was originally anticipated. For example, when the first cell phones were invented, no one could foresee that smart phones would follow and when smart phones were first developed, no one anticipated results that varied from Uber to messaging. When twitter was developed, no one anticipated how it would be so crucial in world developments, often being the sole means of providing communications from war torn or troubled regions. While not on that scale, one of the interesting parts of having a standard product line is that the use that we often consider when we develop the enclosure may not be the use that is adopted over time.
When we first developed our tablet enclosure, we had assumed that people would use it with the various tablets that were on the market. We had also assumed that only a small number of customers would be interested in the then optional gaskets as most tablets cannot be used outdoors in a way that would require NEMA type protection. It turned out that we were wrong. The tablet enclosure quickly morphed into a very popular LCD enclosure with the greatest applications being used for touch screens on a factory floor. We have seen them used for everything from controllers for machines, inspection, and testing. As a younger generation hits the manufacturing world, touch screens are their world and for all it is much more intuitive and accurate.
For those of us who live in Cleveland, we have been living through many very late nights as the Cavs battle the Warriors for the NBA title. With the games starting shortly after 9 and often going into overtime, it has not been atypical for the game to end close to midnight. Whether it’s been a good game or a disappointing one, the adrenaline does not slow down until even later and we are all struggling to get moving in the morning.
In my last blog, I talked about how easy Bud makes it for the engineer or buyer with our fast modification service and increased level of accessories. For those of us (and given the national ratings, I think it is more than those in Cleveland and the Bay area) who are sleep deprived, Bud’s efforts are much appreciated. One more area of simplification is that we also offer products that are just plain multi-purposed and easy to use. This is the case with our new Snap Boxes. These simple plastic enclosures consist of a top and bottom that just snap together. There is no need for hardware (that could get lost) or special tools. They come with pop-out cable holes, so there is often no need for extra drilling. They securely snap together but if the top needs to be removed, it is easy to do so with the blade of a screwdriver, or even a car key. The mounting bosses are included to easily allow for the installation of boards and they have molded in mounting ears. With 12 sizes and two colors standard, the applications for these boxes is endless.
While the sports world is abuzz over whether Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, or a mysterious stranger ordered the Patriot’s footballs to be somewhat deflated, deflation, or shrinkage, is also an issue with plastic enclosures. Polycarbonate, while very durable and damage resistant, has a tendency to shrink slightly as it cools, as do most plastics. However, there can be inconsistencies in the shrinkage process meaning that both draft angles of the sides and actual box dimensions can vary slightly from box to box. For most applications, this is not an issue as the variation is slight and the impact on equipment or boards being installed in the box are minimal. It can become an issue as holes are drilled in the sides and the draft angles may be slightly varied. When installing the connectors, they may not thread on a complete horizontal and unless the gasketing on the connector allows for this, there can be gaps in the protection.
Bud’s PIP Series is a polycarbonate box that also includes 10% fiberglass. This provides for virtually no shrinkage in the cooling process, creating a more consistent box. It also provides the “toughness” and UV protection of fiberglass yet still retains the visual appeal of polycarbonate. It is a UL508 Nema 4x rated IP67 enclosure which means that it is not only able to withstand water sprays but can be submerged as well. All of this is available at a price that is below many competitive polycarbonate boxes. Contact Bud Industries (firstname.lastname@example.org) or your local Bud distributor for more details. However the science of the Patriots deflated football evolves, rest assured that Bud Industries has solved the problem for plastic enclosures
As we have mentioned in this blog before, Bud Industries recently celebrated its 85th anniversary. There is something a bit disingenuous about a company that is so involved with the high-tech industry having survived and thrived as long as we have. Often we have heard the story of a technology employee being considered old and near the end of their “desirable” employment by the time they are 30. One can rapidly list the companies who missed the next step in the technology world and are no longer with us. Having given this all a great deal of thought, I think one of the secrets to Bud’s longevity is the inherent flexibility of our products. We have products that have been in our line since the 1930’s and what has changed is what they enclose as opposed to the need for totally new enclosures. For example, a product that might have housed small tubes now can house boards.
A perfect example of this is our Pi Sandwich enclosure, designed for the first of the raspberry pi development boards. Recently, the foundation released a completely new version of the pi, level B+. It has many new features including more USB ports, a longer GPIO among others. This means that the location of holes or slots required of an enclosure to fit the board have all changed, which might mean a new box would be needed. However, because of the flexibility that we built into the box, the new version fits well and all features are easily accessible.
There have been ongoing debates for years about the advantages of polycarbonate over fiberglass as a material for enclosures. Both are great for NEMA/IP boxes, often being able to reach IP67 or IP68 ratings. Here are a few advantages of each:
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.