March 15, 2022
You might be surprised to learn that ROLEC’s most-read blog post last year wasn’t from 2021. Actually, it dates back to November 2019. This evergreen post about how best to specify non-standard enclosures for your industrial electronics was even more popular last year than it was back in 2020. Here are five other top blog posts from 2021.
1. CUSTOMIZED VS CUSTOM ENCLOSURES FOR YOUR INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONICS
There are two ways of specifying a custom enclosure for industrial electronics: the expensive way and the smart way. Going fully bespoke can be costly because it means starting with a blank sheet of paper. This is true for virtually any form of electronic enclosure – but especially so for the industrial sector because the cases will probably need to be diecast aluminum. That means higher tooling costs – not the most cost-effective way to go custom.
And then there’s the smart way – specifying a standard diecast (or stainless steel or GRP) enclosure and having it customized. Long ago, back in the days before ROLEC, this meant selecting a basic diecast metal box and creating a few apertures for cable glands, switches and connectors. The result was sturdy and functional but unlikely to be mistaken for an objet d’art.
But that was then…this is now, and customized industrial enclosures now look smart, modern and fit to grace any modern factory or technical facility that has one eye on production efficiency and the other on industro-architectural chic.
But what if you could have the best of both worlds? What if you could specify a housing to within a millimetre – ie, pretty much bespoke – and yet enjoy all the cost benefits of specifying a customizable standard enclosure? The fast-moving world of Industry 4.0, the Smart Factory and the Internet of Things is making all that possible.
2. IP VS NEMA RATINGS: HOW MUCH INGRESS PROTECTION DO I NEED?
IP and NEMA ratings both measure the same thing: an enclosure’s ability to withstand the ingress of dust or water. This matters because watertightness is not a binary concept: housings are not simply waterproof/not waterproof.
Varying degrees of pressure play a huge part in how well your enclosures will cope with exposure to water or dust. A splashproof enclosure will not resist prolonged immersion. And a fully submersible enclosure may not cope with high-pressure water jets.
So it’s crucial to specify the correct IP or NEMA rating for your industrial electronic enclosures. But this can be confusing because the two systems use different variables. And the numerical ratings do not correlate in the way you’d expect!
Here are some examples:
- IP 66 is similar to NEMA 4 and 4X – but IP 52 is similar to NEMA 5
- IP 67 is like NEMA 6 and 6P – but NEMA 12 and 12 K are closer to IP 52.
Yes, it is possible to compare and cross-reference ratings – but it’s crucial to specify your ingress protection requirements as accurately as possible. And for this you’ll need to examine the two rating systems in detail.
3. COLOR-CODING OR BRANDING YOUR INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONIC ENCLOSURES
Adding a dash of color to an electronic enclosure destined for the factory floor never used to be a priority. Form always followed function…and color wasn’t far behind.
That always surprised us because every product needs to be distinctive. And one of the easiest ways to differentiate your product from the herd is to change its color. But if you think that means an all-over makeover then think again – because adding color is now much easier and more cost-effective.
Let’s start by taking a few steps back. Why do you need a custom color for your enclosures? If it’s for corporate livery purposes, then you’re likely to need a precise RAL shade to match your (or your customer’s) approved brand guidelines.
But if it’s just for color-coding, then your enclosures don’t have to be RAL 3024 or RAL 5012: a simple red or blue will suffice. And you don’t have to color the entire enclosure – just enough for that color-coding to be recognizable at a glance.
4. HOW TO MOUNT HMI, PANEL AND COMMAND ENCLOSURES
You’re kitting out a new Smart Factory – or expanding your existing facility with more automation, robotics and machine control technology. It’s going to involve installing a lot of HMI screens, panel PCs or machine control units in a challenging industrial environment.
So you’re going to need some very versatile solutions when it comes to the screens and how to mount them. Everything needs to work together – not just operationally and cost-effectively, but also visually because design language and aesthetics matter in ultra-modern 21st century factories. Gone are the grim days of grimy factory floors.
The screen and mounting solutions you specify must be scalable and adaptable because the pace of technological change is accelerating rapidly. The manufacturing companies that succeed best in the Industry 4.0 age are those that are the most agile and flexible – the innovators that are in a constant state of optimization, based on the wealth of data they now wield.
They need customized turnkey solutions comprising HMI/panel enclosures, suspension arms, brackets and other mounting options. All from one supplier that provides full accountability for project deliverables…and offers smoother, smarter procurement with less administration.
5. ELEGANT AND EFFECTIVE NEW TARASMART SUSPENSION ARMS
Modern machine control for industrial electronics means touchscreens and displays. Those panels don’t have to be large, so you don’t always need a heavy-duty suspension arm to support them. But it’s good to know that the arm you’re specifying for lighter panel PCs can still handle heavier loads if you need to upgrade to a larger command enclosure later on.
Robust new taraSMART (IP 54) is the latest addition to ROLEC’s wide range of modular suspension arms for industrial electronics. It benefits from the same smart design as our proven profiPLUS 50 and 70 suspension arms but is simpler and more cost-effective. The aim was to create a compact and elegant suspension arm for light-to-medium loads – and to make it available at a lower price point.
Sophisticated taraSMART offers a choice of coupling variants so you can connect either narrow or deep control enclosures – whether you opt for a manufacturer’s display or an HMI enclosure such as multiPANEL or profiPANEL. Specify these ROLEC panel enclosures in any plan size you like – up to 31.5″ x 31.5″ (800 x 800 mm).