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Often an engineer has to choose between strong protection and strong visuals when selecting IP66 electronic enclosures. The nature of the protection and required gasketing often restrict the style of the box, impacting the marketability of the end product. That industrial look that typifies both NEMA and IP rated enclosures can be a challenge for the marketing of any product. Bud’s EXN series is the perfect combination of protection and great looks as well as ease of pcb assembly.
The EXN is made from aluminum extrusions and is full of great features. It has internal grooves that allow for the slide in mounting of the pcb as well as other components, reducing the need to drill holes for installation. This also eliminates the need for extra gasketing. Note that there are optional pcb’s specifically designed for each size box. Further, it comes with removable die cast or polycarbonate end panels that can be readily modified for readouts and displays as a part of Bud’s 5 day modification program. Wall or equipment mounting is easy with the optional mounting brackets. The external grooves are perfect for heat dissipation although these boxes can also be used with Bud’s new IP68 rated vents. The visuals are the best feature, with the box being available in gold, red, blue, silver or black with matching panels. Their smooth surface also allow for easy digital printing on either the top of the box or the panels.
Bud Industries has been producing die cast aluminum electronic enclosures for nearly 50 of it 91 years and its applications have multiplied over that time. Originally, die cast boxes were used only for hobbyists or very simple testing applications. As the demand for electronic enclosures in more hazardous environments has increased, it is now typical to see die cast enclosures in virtually any industry. One of most successful die cast enclosure markets is transportation. People often think of transportation as only automotive related, perhaps used on the car. Once that was the case, but today, the applications range from automotive after-market to trains, trucking and even aviation. Bud has the broad product line of die cast boxes to meet nearly every application.
Our best success in automobile industry is in products that support the car. Our Die cast electronic enclosures are used in electric vehicle charging stations where their durability makes a difference. The NEMA/IP rating on most of our die cast boxes makes them perfect for vehicle tracking, navigation controls, and even for after-market modifications for emergency vehicles. In trucking, they are used additionally for fuel efficiency tracking, driver quality measurement systems, and maintenance tracking. This moves us into trains. Much as in automotives, an interesting application is automating and controlling rail switching to ensure the right trains go through in the proper sequence. Other rail applications have included automated data transmission to the cloud, engine tracking and testing, as well as many of the same uses as in automotives.
As the year winds down and we look back on 2019, we have so much to be grateful for and to look forward to in our company and in the electronic enclosure world. We also are proud of our ability to confront challenges and thrive as a leader in our industry and 2019 unfortunately gave us a few of those as well. Here are a few of the highlights:
At Bud, our employees are crucial to our success. We value their experience and this year we were once again reminded of how fortunate we are to have a strong core of long-term team members who guide us all. In 2019, we had 5 employees who celebrated 40 years with us and 2 who marked 45 years. Amazingly, there are 2 employees who have even longer tenure. These remarkable people are true role models and have helped us weather the ebbs and flows of the economy and the electronic enclosure industry. As we look forward to 2020, we are excited to celebrate 2 more employees who will hit 35 years and one who hits the 40 year mark.
We have often been asked to provide extra large plastic NEMA/IP rated enclosures and so we are delighted to introduce the NBG series. While much is made of the ongoing reduction in component sizes, one concept that is overlooked is that now products that used to require a many bay cabinet can now be housed in a single large unit. Moreover, when large enclosures are required, designers often think that metal is their only option. Large plastic boxes require a significant investment in both equipment and tooling, exponentially greater than that required for a smaller enclosure. However, the reduction in weight as well as the impact resistance and flexibility of plastic can make the shift in material the best option. The NBG series is made from PC+PBT(f1) material offering high strength and weather resistance and is, of course rated NEMA 4x and IP66.
Available in three sizes up to 39.5 x 27.5 x 12.3”, it comes with many helpful features including an easily removable door to assist in installation of your component. It comes with either an opaque or clear door and the hinges are made of stainless steel. The material is UV stabilized and it uses a poured gasket in the door to insure the best possible seal. This allows it to meet NEMA 4x, 12, and 13 as well as IP66 ratings. We already have customers in a variety of industries for this product from Industrial Automation to Agriculture to IoT.
We are often asked about our flammability ratings and what they mean. Quite simply, they allow the designer to understand how the plastic material will act when exposed to fire and how it impacts that fire. A key point is that the testing is done on a sample of the material, not on the final enclosure. Further, it does not deal with how the box will protect the components but more how the material will react when exposed to a flame. It assists in understanding how will the enclosure will protect against the fire or, potentially, if it will contribute to it.
Here are the ratings that are most often developed for the materials that are used to make plastic electronic enclosures:
One of the most significant problems in protecting electronic or electrical components with a NEMA/IP rated enclosure is ventilation. By the nature of the enclosure being sealed, air flow or cooling is a challenge. Further, as the components typically produce heat, there can be a heat buildup within the box creating not only high internal temperatures but also condensation as the internal and external temperatures vary, which defeats one of the purposes of a dust-tight or water-tight environment. Most NEMA vents are provided to protect against dirt and dust using a normal filter to avoid that ingress while allowing some air flow. However, as the applications of electronics moves into more hazardous environments, such as outdoors, protection against water and weather related elements reduce the value of those traditional products. Bud Industries is pleased to announce a new series of IP67 rated vents that not only filter for particles while allowing airflow, but also it protects against water/rain/hose down and oils, even when the box is submerged for up to 30 minutes.
By use of an e-PTFE membrane, it is innately able to repel both water and oils yet allow sufficient air flow to balances the heat. It operates both indoors and outdoors, is uv resistant, and so is the perfect solution at an incredible price. One concern that is overlooked in many applications is the impact of many heating and cooling cycles on the enclosure gaskets. As the internal and external temperatures begin to vary, the box, particularly if it is plastic, slightly expands and contracts. Over time, this continual flexing can cause the original gaskets to fail, leading to internal component damage. The steady airflow provided by Bud vents avoids that temperature variation and keeps your components safe.
While I often use my blog to discuss important issues in enclosures or the electronics industry, it is sometimes nice to hear a different voice in the process. Josiah Haas, our president, was recently interviewed for Automation World by David Greenfield on the differences between a certified and non-certified enclosure and when to use what type of certification. He clarifies how the use of the appropriately rated products can improve both uptime and component safety. As companies move their products into different environments and/or upgrade their current products, this podcast is a solid background to insure that the engineer is making the right choices. Here is the podcast link:
As regular readers of our blog may remember, Bud Industries celebrated its 90th anniversary last year. We think it is a truly amazing milestone for a company that is in the tech industry and prides itself on products that serves such cutting edge markets as lighting, IoT, telecommunications, and especially industrial automation. We are still owned by the founder’s family and have enjoyed four generations of the family participating in the business. In the day-to-day business, we sometimes take a few minutes to thank those who have literally devoted their lives to our company and this year has been an especially notable one. In 2019, we have been blessed with 2 of our team who celebrated 45 years with us and 5 who reached 40 years. They populate all areas of the business and their efforts really tell our story.
On April 19th, George Helsius marked his 45th with Bud. George came to us at 19 and worked on various pieces of equipment in our factory before joining the office staff as an estimator. Today he is our Strategic Projects manager overseeing key aspects of our fast growing modified/custom business. Also at 45 years is Greg Haas, the grandson of our founder, Max Haas. Greg is VP of materials and also has held many slots within the company and today is responsible for both purchasing and production planning as well as his other leadership duties. He is our go-to guy to get things done and satisfy the customer’s needs.
In the electronic enclosure world, we often say that our job is to make your projects look good. We enclose all of your components, protect them from damage, and provide the shell that allows many products to be marketable. We offer a variety of high style enclosures and boxes from small hand held clear usb drive enclosures to sleek server racks. Alas, beauty is not the case with our traditional aluminum die cast enclosures (our CU die cast series) but they make up for it with solid protection and an incredible low price.
Made from ADC-12 Aluminum alloy, they come with close fitting flanged covers that easily attach to the base with internal bosses maintaining the integrity of the box. There are 15 sizes to choose from and many sizes have molded in pc mounting guides. There are three styles of boxes available. In addition to the original series, the CU-4xxx series has welded on external base plates to assist in wall or equipment mounting. The CU-5xxx series comes with mounting flanges molded into the cover to provide not only easy mounting but increased security as the box needs to be unmounted to gain access to the internal equipment.
One of the questions we get asked most often is how do NEMA and IP ratings compare. That is, can one find an enclosure with a NEMA rating and use it to fit a required IP rating? The quick answer is no as there are different types of tests and even different testing bodies who set these ratings. However, if your purpose is to just determine which NEMA is closest to a specific IP rating and vice versa, there are similarities. First, some definitions. Electrical enclosures are rated based on their ability to withstand a varying degree of environmental elements, including dust, water, and ice. In the United States, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association developed the NEMA rating for classifying an enclosure’s level of protection from those environmental elements. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) http://www.iec.ch/index.htm has developed an alternative rating system, the IP standard, which stands for Ingress Protection. The standard format is “IP’ followed by two numbers which designate the level of protection. The first digit, which ranges from 1-6, specifies the level of protection from solids, and the second digit, which ranges from 1-8, specifies the level of protection from water. The higher the number is, the greater the level of protection. For instance, an enclosure with a rating of IP10 would offer less protection than an enclosure that is rated at IP54.
The following table summarizes the various IP number designations: