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Author Archives: Blair Haas
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but a Bud product video is like a complete book. To help our customers make the best product selections, Bud has developed nearly 50 videos that show many of the features of our best selling products as well as extra services that we perform to make the product immediately usable. Some are much more traditional demonstrating the products and noting key features that customers may need to complete their product. Many of these are produced with great production values and a well honed script so that they “get to the point” and don’t make the customer “enjoy” a lot of information that they don’t need. But my favorite are some of the earlier ones that were hand produced and narrated by me or Josiah, our president, and showed a bit more action.
The first of these was for the NBF series of products. While it starts off with a traditional Bud product video feature demonstration, we decided to show the product being sprayed down to prove its IP66 rating that protects the internal components from a heavy spray of water. I am still a traditionalist and wear a jacket and tie to work each day (except during my current “work from home” status). I took the box out to our shop floor where there was a wash off area and so the adventure begins. Imagine the stares as the company CEO positions the box, picks up the hose and attempts to balance the camera at the same time. Of course, I did not properly secure the box and in the first take it flew across the area when the spray hit it. I also had splashed myself (fortunately, I am IP66 compatible but my clothes (and favorite tie) were not. I finally got the shot and we were able to complete the shoot.
During this crazy business era, one product area that has thrived has been our Server Rack Series, the SRP. In this time of endless binge watching, video game marathons, and even remote learning for students (my 9 year old grandson is taking a class on video animation this week), the demand for hyper fast internet is skyrocketing. Bud’s SRP Server Rack Professional Series is helping fill that storage need with a full featured product at an amazing price.
Available in three heights (27u, 42u and 45u panel space with a “u” equal to 1.75”) and two depths (35 and 43”), it is built to meet any needs. Among the server rack’s many features are:
The purpose of this blog is to inform people about our electronic enclosures and to give guidance on issues that they may encounter in their search for the right product. My goal is to write a blog at least every two weeks and today I am due to write a new update. However, it is hard to focus on the best features of these great products at this time in our country’s history. I lived through the 60’s as a teenager and distinctly remember 1968 and all of the events that unfolded that year from the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy to the riots protesting the Viet Nam war in Chicago at the Democratic Convention and through the country to protest racism. I also saw the Russians use the cover of the turmoil at the conventions and across America to crush the Prague Spring uprising in Czechoslovakia. As a teen who was just becoming politically aware, I had no real context for understanding the turmoil that must have shaken my parents and grandparents to see the foundation of their world feel like it was crumbling beneath them.
Today, as I look around, I think I am gaining a sense of their shock and confusion. Beginning in March, our lives were upended by the virus with a sense of fear and near panic over the unseen health risks that felt almost everywhere. Would you die by going to the grocery? Could hugging your grandchild be a death sentence? Yet even more soul shaking is the crisis that has gripped us over the last week. To watch as once, again, a black man received a death sentence for a potential minor crime of passing a counterfeit $20 bill. To recognize that this threat hangs over a large portion of our population daily with steady harassment ranging from higher traffic stops to death for minor offenses. I have enormous respect for most police who daily risk their lives to keep us safe. I also hope that it is a small minority who perpetrate these atrocities giving rise to their prejudices and feelings of inferiority. But 52 years after that horrible and frightening summer to continue to hear from friends that they are afraid for their sons to grow up because their lives don’t seem to matter, that a minor infraction will lead to their death, that they can’t walk in a park for fear that someone will accuse them of a crime for being black is just unacceptable.
Even while we are continuing to work as an essential business producing electronic enclosures, especially NEMA rated enclosures, it is hard to focus on anything other than the Covid-19 crisis. We are based in Ohio and no matter your politics, our governor has been in the forefront of the effort nationally to develop safe procedures and processes. While we are incredibly grateful that none of our employees have yet to test positive for the virus and no relatives of any have succumbed to the disease, we all know people who have been ill. Our first priority has been to keep our employees as safe as possible while still doing all we can to service our essential customers and it has been an incredible challenge and yet also a learning experience.
There have been two overriding issues that have taken up much of our energy over the last few months. First, while there has been a lot of discussion about the disruptions to the electronics supply chain; we have not experienced any significant issues with the early exception of product coming in from China. We have seen some increase to international shipping times, but that often varies and we rarely ship via air due to our product size which we know has been impacted. However, each day is a scramble for PPE. As the guidelines have changed, we find we are often receiving materials that are no longer in demand. Early on, we required all employees to wear gloves. The dash was on to find enough especially in multiple sizes and that are durable enough to withstand factory work while not impeding their efforts. We were lucky enough to get them in, but then the requirements changed and gloves were no longer recommended, and so, of course, backorders shipped and we find ourselves with excess gloves. Thermometers, especially no touch versions, also have consumed our time. We debated on buying a unit that would take people’s temperatures as they walked through the door, but then we realized that people would have to line up outside the door in all kinds of weather and be socially distanced while they entered, so we stuck with the “reach” thermometers. We finally got our second set last week. Then we went through the mask ordeal. We had n-95 masks for our powder area, but decided that we should donate some of our extras to the local hospital back in March not realizing that all would be required to wear masks. We luckily found a t-shirt company that was switching to mask production and got some of their first products. And hand sanitizer has become more difficult to find than gold in a river bed.
One of the few positives to come out of the Corona Virus shutdown from a business perspective is to remind us that our electronic enclosures, especially NEMA rated enclosures, are an essential part of the economy. As you may know, we sell extensively through distribution. We fortunately receive data from our distributors that provides information about the thousands of customers who buy and use Bud enclosures each month and we recently have focused on the NEMA rated enclosures because their applications are especially relevant during this time of Pandemic.
An obvious application is in the medical field. As I wrote in a prior blog, some of our enclosures are used in creating ventilators that are so crucial at during this crisis. The NEMA rated enclosure allows for the unit to be washed down or even hosed down with cleaning chemicals and still protect the sensitive electronics inside. In security, our enclosure is used to protect both equipment and information that are used in sensitive police work, fire suppression, and even to secure locations. In the past, one would never think of electronics as a part of agriculture but our Nema rated enclosures are used for everything from housing sensors to determine moisture levels at various points on a field to tracking the health and productivity of chickens and cows, allowing farmers to efficiently provide food to those of us that are home quarantined.
As I have mentioned in my prior blog, as an electronic enclosure company servicing many infrastructure and related industries, we are an essential company during this Corona Virus era. Given that we manufacture and sell only the box into which these essential products are installed, we often don’t know all of the details about the variety of uses of our products. Through our distribution network, we service tens of thousands of different customers each year with our broad electronic enclosure line, plus the thousands of modifications we do each year. Therefore, it was with a great deal of pride that we learned that one of our products is on the front line of an exciting new product to help fight this horrible virus.
Two mechanical engineers and their team at Auburn University have developed an approach to turn a CPAP machine into a ventilator using one of our NBF series of NEMA rated plastic boxes. As you may know, a CPAP machine is typically used by people with sleep apnea or other similar disorders to wear at night to insure that their breathing stays steady by receiving a steady supply of oxygen. These machines are plentiful and transforming them would ease many of the supply issues on a traditional ventilator. They are in testing on this project to get proper approvals, but it is moving through the process rapidly. Today they posted that they have done animal trials, a required step to gain approval and the machine performed even better than anticipated.
Josiah Haas, our President, has developed a quick video to share our story of the adjustments we have made to protect our employees yet still keep our essential electronic enclosure business going. https://www.youtube.com/embed/-X8F6VU-zwk
Although it seems like a basic idea, we realize that we do not have a Frequently Asked Questions page dealing with our electronic enclosures on our website. The interesting part has been collecting the questions from our sales team who, of course, are on the front line. I think the biggest challenge for our team is recognizing that what seems basic for us is not part of most customers’ day-to-day exposure or knowledge. On the flip side, as we develop questions, we don’t want them to be so basic that we don’t reach out to those who have some more challenging yet regularly repeated requests. Also, we have to keep a balance between technology-based versus Bud process based issues.
I thought it might be fun to share a few that we have developed and reach out to you, my blog readers, to let us know if you have any that you think we should include. Again, we just started this in the last week or so, leaving us much more work to do.
As a newly defined elderly person (like most people, I have assumed it is much older than I am), I am adjusting to a different life as CEO of Bud Industries, an Electronic Enclosure company who is working from home. This is especially challenging as my management style is heavily based on “walking around” to touch base with my team and help facilitate their activities and interaction. I have to learn new techniques and adjust as much as possible. Fortunately, we use “slack” so there is a lot more text messaging going on although some still at work forget to log in. While before people would drop by my office to provide updates, I now have to be sure to continually keep in touch to make sure I am not left out of the loop (out of sight…) We also have IP cameras throughout our shop floor so I can keep track of activities and startle people whom I call from home with questions or concerns.
The day starts differently as well. Despite the advice you see on line to dress for your home office as you do for your workplace, I am no longer putting on a jacket and tie to work at home (yes, I still wear them to work…another way I know I am elderly). I am trying to keep to the same schedule but there is a bonus as I now am getting to “work” earlier as I no longer have to commute. My co-workers are much more supportive (see attached photo) although they can be fairly distracting.
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.