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For those of us in the Electronic Enclosure Industry, there is nothing more beautiful than a well-executed modified electronic 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 3d printing may provide the ultimate solution, at this point it is only helpful for units in small quantities. Another problem is that if a product is UL certified, changing the production methods (i.e. printing versus molding) will invalidate the certification. The use of updated but traditional equipment is still the most cost and time effective approach.
In this blog, I often try to relate the idea of learning more about Bud Industries and electronic enclosures to key events in my life. Alas, my mother passed away about 10 days ago after a long illness and it raised a lot of thoughts about the generations, especially as it relates to a family business. She was the last of her generation in our family so her passing really reflects the end of an era…that of the second generation of Bud Industries management. While she was not directly employed in the business, she did serve on the board for over 50 years and reflecting her times, played a significant role as the spouse of the company president. She attended industry and customer functions, hosted customers, and associates at dinners and in her home, and supported my father’s efforts to grow our business by building industry relationships into personal relationships. And, of course, she raised the next generation of Bud management.
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.
While most immediately think of Bud Industries when they have an enclosure need, people often don’t think of Bud for the final touches such as NEMA Glands. So what is a NEMA cable gland? Put simply, when a hole is drilled in a box for cable access, the assembler needs a way to protect the interior and integrity of the box while still installing the cabling. The cable gland is that device
which mounts through the hole with a nut on one end and a lid on the other to perfectly fit the cable and provide that seal. They are quick and easy to install and also can provide strain relief for the cable or tubing that provide either power or other access.
While all of us in Cleveland are caught up in Indians Fever, it is exciting for us to realize that one of our NEMA 4 enclosures makes the live experience at many stadiums so much better. It was not too long ago that if you attended a large sporting event, you could forget using your cell phone as the nearby tower would be jammed and reception would be non-existent. For all of us who go through withdrawal at the slightest hiccup in our service, attending a game of any sort became a nightmare. It began to impact attendance but also impacted the efforts of the teams to increase their social media exposure. How could fans tweet their photo to the kiss cam?
Everyone knows that Bud is the industry’s favored supplier of electronic enclosures, but did you know that Bud is now a top supplier of Breadboards as well? Bud first approached this market with several enclosures for the raspberry pi development board a few years back. Recognizing the breadth of customer base following their exponential sales growth, we decided to pursue this market with accessories to the board, heavily utilizing our plastic manufacturing capabilities.
Bud Industries focus over the last few years has moved aggressively to providing modified and custom enclosures. As I have written, Bud now provides and industry leading 5-6 day turnaround on most simple modifications to many of our standard products including the cutting and piercing of holes, slots and other types of openings. We also perform many more operations including providing custom design services, special sizes, gaskets, colors, and packaging. We are unique in that we work with our distribution partners, allowing the customer the best of all options, close customer service for their turn-key enclosures.
I am often asked questions about Bud’s Fiberglass enclosure line, the NF and NFL series as engineers try to understand the differences between various types of plastic enclosures as well as why one uses plastic instead of stainless or galvanized steel. Choosing the best material for an application can be a challenging process, but selecting a fiberglass enclosure has many advantages.
My marketing team tells me that all of my blogs should be about Electronic Enclosures but it is impossible to be sitting in suburban Cleveland Ohio and not write about the Cavs winning the NBA championship. For those who have been living in a cave, this is the first professional sports championship for Cleveland in 52 years. We have been close many times, but no one is talking about horseshoes. The tough part about this is that the losses became embedded in the Cleveland psyche and became the perfect analogy for the decline in our manufacturing base, our shrinking city, and the definition of the rust belt. People remembered our burning river, our default, the iconic lake effect snow, and of course, our sports teams. When you talked sports in Cleveland, it has always been “wait until next year”, but somehow, next year never came.
Suddenly, it is next year in Cleveland. While Cleveland’s renaissance as a city has been underway for some time, with a nationally recognized restaurant scene, a newly vibrant downtown (there are wait lists for most apartments and condos), affordable housing, the top Orchestra and hospital system in the country and so much more, somehow Clevelanders were still mentally stuck in the sports slump. On Sunday night, with minutes to go, most Clevelanders did not dare to hope that it would turn their way. Suddenly, it did and the collective Cleveland community was both emotional and stunned. We did not know how to deal with winning…what it means to be a winner. But we are learning fast. The enthusiasm is incredible, the pride is thrilling to experience, and the sudden self-awareness is nothing short of miraculous. So, forgive me for not writing about our electronic enclosures. I’ve waited a near lifetime for this moment when at last, we are no longer a national joke, but are now recognized as the Champions we have become.
Today’s engineers are often very well trained in everything that is needed for tech from the latest embedded systems to the internet of things. However, it can be the simpler things that trip them up, such as dealing with an electronic enclosure for their projects. We have found that, although the enclosure is quite low tech, it can intimidate engineers who do not want to risk their projects on making the wrong protection choice. To assist, Bud has created a wealth of information and tools that help avoid the common mistakes in enclosure selection.
First, Bud has a very easy to use product selector. Use the sliders to select the key dimensions and drop downs to determine materials and protection levels and the system presents options, with photos that are easy to research. With the option of searching by internal or external dimensions, the engineer can readily insure that her components will fit perfectly. One click on the part and they are taken to a detailed page with everything from photos to drawings.