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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:
For those of us in the Electronic Enclosure Industry, there is nothing more beautiful than a well-executed modified enclosure. In fact, the holy grail of enclosures is how to provide the modifications as fast as an off-the-shelf standard product. We are not there yet, but we are definitely making progress. Today, at Bud Industries, we can do major modifications to our standard products in only 5-6 days including holes, slots, and cut outs – even if they are on multiple surfaces of the same box. While some manufacturers charge an expedite fee to beat their normal 6-8 week lead time, for Bud, it is just a part of our standard service.
The other piece in the “Search for the Grail” is to make all of this happen easily and again, we are making significant progress there. From the first steps, Bud can help out by assisting in the design process. Whether it is taking your needed dimensions and finding a box that works (such as by using our search by size tool) or working with your design team to insure that your modifications work effectively with your components, Bud’s design team is ready to support you. We even have an easy to follow modification brochure which can be downloaded here, or several videos on our web site including this one. And while it is not yet a part of our 5 day program, but can digitally print your logo or other graphics and letters on your enclosure rapidly at an amazing price.
Bud is very excited to be the Supplier of the Month at the Newark Sales Center in nearby Richfield Ohio. This means that we are able to set up a display near the entrance to the facility where all who enter see our products and learn our key value proposition of the fastest and most cost effective provider of modified electronic enclosures. We also have access to their team to work with them on opportunities and assist in closing the sale. We are also going to be focusing on building a link between them and our sales rep network. As the rest of our team was either on travel or vacation for the “kick-off” and setup of the process, I was able to do the setup myself and it was a great learning experience.
One of the most challenging aspects was bringing in a 19” double rack (DR-8092) and assembling the unit. Fortunately, since it is mostly made out of aluminum, it was not too heavy and could be easily maneuvered. It is a great low cost solution to situations where 4 point mounting is required but external panels or skins are not. Alas, I grabbed the wrong tool (a plier’s wrench) instead of the suggested fixed wrench so I spent time constantly readjusting the tool to install all of the bolts. With the right tool, I probably could have assembled it myself in a little over an hour and a quarter, with two people, it should take between 30 and 45 minutes. For me, it took over 2 hours. It did give me a chance to chat with the Newark team as they came and went into the facility and also those who were working nearby so all are ready for our big month!
New Bud Electronic Enclosures to be introduced at the Electronic Distributions Show (EDS Leadership Summit)
Bud has participated in the Electronic Distribution Show (EDS) since its founding in the 1930’s as the May Parts Show in Chicago, sharing information about our latest enclosures even then. Today, the show has evolved into the electronic components annual conference that brings together all of the major Distributors, Manufacturers and Sales Representatives in Las Vegas for a both individual and group events and meetings.
This is my 42nd consecutive year attending this event and I have, of course, seen many changes. Today, we meet in individual conference or suite areas to have confidential discussions with our partners about new products, business opportunities, marketing plans and key metrics. It is also a great opportunity to gain the “pulse” of the industry. Today, when so many are grappling with the Chinese tariffs, supply chain challenges, rapid innovation, and new markets, we begin to gain a consensus on the trends and potential solutions. Despite our connected lives, there is still a significant value in getting together face-to-face to move our marketing and sales efforts forward.
Continuing our review of our best-selling plastic enclosures, the Plastic Rack Mount Chassis is a definite winner. Customers have been mounting equipment into 19” panel width cabinets and racks for nearly 100 years. Often, rather than mounting equipment itself into the rack, such as power supplies, they are looking for an enclosure to mount their boards and other components in so that they can be easily used in the racks, such as server racks. Most of these rack mount chassis are made of aluminum which is light weight and durable. However, in addition to our broad line of aluminum chassis, we offer a plastic version. It is extremely light weight, low cost and avoids the conductivity and heat issues of a metal version.
Bud’s Plastic Rack Mount Chassis series (or PRM) comes in 3 different heights of 1.75”, 3.5” and 5.25” (or 1U, 2U, and 3U respectively) and a roomy 8” in depth. Made from durable ABS plastic rated at UL94-HB, it also has several bonus features. First, it comes with 16 mounting bosses, 8 in the bottom and 8 in the top. This allows for large board installation as well as multiple smaller boards without having to drill into the chassis itself. It comes with completely vented sides to assist in heat dissipation. It is unassembled to allow for quick installation of your components and then rapidly assembles to create the final product. Finally, the rack mounting brackets are readily removable to allow for its use as a desk top enclosure as well. With great low cost pricing, it is available for shipment today from your favorite Bud Distributor. You can easily check stock on our webpage here. Please contact us with any questions you might have either using the chat function on our website, via email at email@example.com or via phone at 440-946-3200.