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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.
Bud Industries has been producing die cast aluminum electronic enclosures for nearly 50 of it 91 years and its applications have multiplied over that time. Originally, die cast boxes were used only for hobbyists or very simple testing applications. As the demand for electronic enclosures in more hazardous environments has increased, it is now typical to see die cast enclosures in virtually any industry. One of most successful die cast enclosure markets is transportation. People often think of transportation as only automotive related, perhaps used on the car. Once that was the case, but today, the applications range from automotive after-market to trains, trucking and even aviation. Bud has the broad product line of die cast boxes to meet nearly every application.
Our best success in automobile industry is in products that support the car. Our Die cast electronic enclosures are used in electric vehicle charging stations where their durability makes a difference. The NEMA/IP rating on most of our die cast boxes makes them perfect for vehicle tracking, navigation controls, and even for after-market modifications for emergency vehicles. In trucking, they are used additionally for fuel efficiency tracking, driver quality measurement systems, and maintenance tracking. This moves us into trains. Much as in automotives, an interesting application is automating and controlling rail switching to ensure the right trains go through in the proper sequence. Other rail applications have included automated data transmission to the cloud, engine tracking and testing, as well as many of the same uses as in automotives.
As the year winds down and we look back on 2019, we have so much to be grateful for and to look forward to in our company and in the electronic enclosure world. We also are proud of our ability to confront challenges and thrive as a leader in our industry and 2019 unfortunately gave us a few of those as well. Here are a few of the highlights:
At Bud, our employees are crucial to our success. We value their experience and this year we were once again reminded of how fortunate we are to have a strong core of long-term team members who guide us all. In 2019, we had 5 employees who celebrated 40 years with us and 2 who marked 45 years. Amazingly, there are 2 employees who have even longer tenure. These remarkable people are true role models and have helped us weather the ebbs and flows of the economy and the electronic enclosure industry. As we look forward to 2020, we are excited to celebrate 2 more employees who will hit 35 years and one who hits the 40 year mark.
We have often been asked to provide extra large plastic NEMA/IP rated enclosures and so we are delighted to introduce the NBG series. While much is made of the ongoing reduction in component sizes, one concept that is overlooked is that now products that used to require a many bay cabinet can now be housed in a single large unit. Moreover, when large enclosures are required, designers often think that metal is their only option. Large plastic boxes require a significant investment in both equipment and tooling, exponentially greater than that required for a smaller enclosure. However, the reduction in weight as well as the impact resistance and flexibility of plastic can make the shift in material the best option. The NBG series is made from PC+PBT(f1) material offering high strength and weather resistance and is, of course rated NEMA 4x and IP66.
Available in three sizes up to 39.5 x 27.5 x 12.3”, it comes with many helpful features including an easily removable door to assist in installation of your component. It comes with either an opaque or clear door and the hinges are made of stainless steel. The material is UV stabilized and it uses a poured gasket in the door to insure the best possible seal. This allows it to meet NEMA 4x, 12, and 13 as well as IP66 ratings. We already have customers in a variety of industries for this product from Industrial Automation to Agriculture to IoT.
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: