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Author Archives: Blair Haas
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.
As I write this and we prepare for the 4th of July holiday, I am once again struck by the American Dream and how our Electronic Enclosure Company’s story could have only happened in the United States. As I have mentioned before, Bud Industries was founded as Bud Radio by my grandfather, Max Haas, in 1928. An immigrant from what is now the Czech Republic around 1900, he had a self-taught engineering and marketing mind and was fascinated by what we would now call technology and the opportunities it would present. What started as an antenna company (the first to offer a product that eliminated the need for a roof top radio antenna), evolved into car antennas, and then into other radio parts (he sold off the antenna business), and finally into enclosures. He and my grandmother worked hard to take the ideas he uncovered and turn them into a solid enduring business.
I think about how few countries, at that time, would allow a refugee family to be welcomed into their land, provide free education for their children, and encourage them to be whatever they wanted with relatively limited restrictions. While America of that era was not perfect, it offered many the chance to create the best life they could for themselves and their families and to hopefully allow their children to have better lives than theirs.
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, 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.
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, 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.
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.
Bud Industries Electronic Enclosures have many applications, but one of which we are quite proud is our association with Calsol, the UC Berkley solar vehicle team. Calsol is made up of students from a variety of disciplines who develop Formula Solar Vehicles for racing. This is an ongoing program which is currently working on their 9th generation vehicle. The students do more than engineer the cars, but also are involved with business planning, marketing, and project management. The 8th Generation car, the Zephyr, was a resounding success winning the Formula Sun Grand Prix in 2017 and coming in second in 2018! What does this have to do with Bud electronic enclosures? We have provided product for both the Zephyr and the upcoming Tachyon.
They have been using our PN series NEMA/IP65 enclosures with clear lids on various parts of the vehicle. First, it encloses their maximum power point tracker. This connects each of the four sub-arrays on their car to optimize the amount of power they get from the sun. It is much smaller and lighter than any off-the-shelf components they can by so they were pleased with the light weight of the PN series and also the strength of its polycarbonate material and the ability to see through the clear cover to avoid drilling excess holes. Their goal is to organize and weather and dust proof their circuit boards and electrical systems. Other products include the enclosure for the board that controls the pedals and also to provide protection for their battery. Bud Industries provides enclosures for many other company’s involved in the solar energy field from boxes that control the distribution of excess energy to enclosures for monitoring loads. For all of your hazardous and non-hazardous applications, Bud has the enclosure that will help protect your equipment in a fast and cost-effective manner. Contact us for information on the PN series and our many other product families or to obtain a quotation on having Bud provide our fast modification service
In my last blog, I noted how many plastic enclosures we have in our line. Many people think of us only as steel or aluminum electronic enclosure suppliers, but we are much more than that. In this blog, I will continue to focus on plastic enclosures for general use. That is, these enclosures are not rated and so are not expressly for hazardous or wet environments. Today, the plastic enclosure of choice is our hand held series, the HP. These versatile products have been in our line for years and have been popular from day one. They come in three styles, each providing distinct advantages and sizes. All are made in durable ABS plastic with a UL94-HB rating.
Style 1 is perfect for those looking for a smaller enclosure (2.6 x 2.6 x 1. 1). It is a two piece construction with mounting bosses in the base and holes for either sealing the box with screws or using out optional belt clip.
Bud Industries was founded with a focus on metal enclosures and rack, so people often forget that we have a broad line of plastic enclosures today as well. To do so is to risk overlooking one of the broadest lines of plastic enclosures in the industry. The focus of this and upcoming blogs will be on the non-hazardous environment products, just the traditional products that are typical of many of today’s indoor applications. It would probably surprise most readers to learn that Bud provides nearly 60 different products families in small plastic enclosures. They range from plastic rack mount chassis to small potting boxes. In today’s blog, I am going to focus on the key-fob enclosures.
We offer two series of key fob type plastic enclosures. The first, Hand Held Grabbers style F, and the more traditional rectangular shaped enclosures with either 2 or 4 buttons. Made from ABS plastic that is UL 94-HBrated, the buttons are gray silicon rubber. The second series is more ergonomically designed. The smaller sizes have rounded edges and come in 1 to 4 button configurations. There is a fifth size, with 5 buttons that has a curved handle and it is a bit more substantial and so easier to hold. This series is also made from ABS UL 94-VO plastic with the same gray silicon rubber material for the buttons. All are easy to pop open for installation of your pc board and we provide drawings for both board and button circuit layouts. Step file drawings are available for all parts. Bud can also provide different button configurations upon request.