One of the most consistent questions that Bud Industries receives deals with the best materials for a NEMA- or IP-rated enclosure. Bud provides NEMA- and IP-rated boxes in almost every material including steel, stainless steel, ABS plastic, polycarbonate plastic, fiberglass and die cast aluminum.
In the last few years, we have added an interesting combination of polycarbonate and fiberglass (10%) that is becoming increasingly popular for many good reasons. This combination offers many advantages over both polycarbonate and traditional fiberglass materials when utilized for electronic enclosures.
Bud’s PTH enclosure is a hybrid of polycarbonate plastic and fiberglass, offering strength, tight tolerances, and reduced cost
Fiberglass vs. Polycarbonate for Electronic Enclosures Benefits
Fiberglass is typically stronger than polycarbonate but because of the glass fibers it can crack upon impact. Polycarbonate is much less likely to crack. By adding a relatively small amount of glass fibers (10%), the enclosure gains significant strength but still is basically crack resistant.
This makes this product especially useful in a factory or other environment where the box may be more likely to receive impacts from other materials or equipment.
Fiberglass vs. Polycarbonate Cons
On the flip side, polycarbonate tends to have some shrinkage as it is removed from the molds. This shrinkage can vary due to a variety of reasons, providing minor dimensional variation. This variation can be important when drilling holes or slots in the box, as the slight inconsistencies can impact the ability to properly locate the internal equipment or whatever is being mounted in those holes.
By adding the 10% glass fibers, the product maintains its dimensions much more closely upon removal from the molds. This significantly reduces any challenges with consistently installing (and protecting) equipment. In addition, the dimensional stability means that seals and covers fit together precisely, helping to ensure the NEMA rating/IP rating. (Read more about NEMA ratings here.)
This material also maintains strong UV protection and can also be readily modified without as much concern about the released glass fibers compared to all fiberglass. All in all, this composite material is the perfect combination that allows for added strength and consistency without the typical concerns of damage.
Bud’s PTH Series
A good example of a glass-fiber infused enclosure is our PTH Series. Made with 10% glass fibers, this polycarbonate enclosure is easily machined for cutouts. In fact, it is part of our industry-leading 5 Day Modifications program. Bud can modify your PTH enclosures with cutouts to your specifications and ship in only five days.
The PTH Series has a hinged lid. It can be ordered with the hinge on the long side or on the short side of the box. A self-locking latch prevents unintended opening of the lid caused by vibration.
Locate this enclosure outdoors in the weather or indoors where it will be subject to factory washdown. It meets the IP67 rating (submersible for short durations) and NEMA 1, 2, 4, 4x and 6 specifications. Not sure which NEMA rating is best for your application? Click here to check out our NEMA rating guide.
Optional clear covers are available for the PTH Series enclosures. In many respects, this is a very versatile—and very strong—enclosure.
To see Bud’s complete offering of fiberglass-reinforced enclosures, check out our PTQ, PTS, PTH, and PTK series at www.budind.com.
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