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Choosing between materials for your enclosure

When choosing an enclosure, material selection is most likely, the first step you should take.

The decision is dependent upon many factors including application and the environment as each material has its benefits and drawbacks. The main options are metals and plastics, these are the most widely available and most popular for their different properties. We will look at the advantages of each throughout this article to help you decide which material is best for your application.

Metals are generally selected for their strength and are typically available in the form of stainless steel or die cast aluminium.

Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is a frequent choice for its superior corrosion resistant properties, beneficial for the food industry where the enclosure may be regularly exposed to water, as well as applications in a marine environment, which would be subjected to salt water. For sectors such as medical, and again food, the need for cleanliness is imperative; therefore, stainless steel is highly appropriate for its clean, sanitary assets.

Die Cast Aluminium
For other industries, impact resistance may be a priority and die cast aluminium is well known for its high impact rating. Combined with a very robust and sturdy construction, it makes these an excellent choice for applications that could be bumped or knocked by vehicles, for example. Whilst such tough enclosures are often manufactured with a seal, Deltron offers unsealed impact resistant enclosures, for a more cost effective solution, titled the Heavy Duty, Low Cost range. The heavy duty boxes can also be useful for housing particularly noisy electronic equipment, as the contact between the lid and the base assist with EMC protection.

Both metals are popular for industrial applications as they are hardwearing and can withstand higher ambient temperatures than plastics. In addition, die cast enclosures are often obtainable with hardwearing nylon or decorative powder coatings for increased performance such as UV protection or chemical resistance. Deltron also has the capability to undertake high volume runs with die cast aluminium, facilitating cost efficiency. Available in a variety of sizes, Deltron can offer sealed (IP66 and IP68) and unsealed (IP54) die cast aluminium enclosures.

Plastic is also offered in different materials including ABS, polycarbonate, nylon and other various compounds. Plastic can be extremely cost effective and lightweight, making them ideal for instrumentation boxes, raspberry pi boxes, control systems, for holding display screens and other light duty applications. The surface itself can be particularly glossy and at Deltron, with over 12 colours to choose from, they can be aesthetically pleasing which is favourable if the application is to be visible or on display. Manufactured at Deltron’s UK factory, the plastic enclosures are very versatile and can be easily customised, machined and populated with components.

For more information please call us on +44 (0)1724 273239.


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Article first published : 20|8|2015