Selecting between a metal or plastic enclosure can cost you a lot down the line in terms of having the right protection, producing an affordable product or simply having the right aesthetic. Many factors come into play, with arguments for and against either base material.
In this article, we will not be looking at the differences between plastic and metal electronic enclosures, but instead focussing on the benefits of metal housings, specifically aluminium; we’ll also cover the typical applications and the differences between the diecast and extruded options that are available from CamdenBoss.
Aluminium is one of the world’s most abundant materials, with some of the most superior features and manufacturing benefits known to man. It should be common knowledge that aluminium is literally all around us in everyday electronics, from desktop instruments to handheld devices and everything in between.
As previously mentioned, aluminium has an array of features that make it highly suitable for many electronic applications:
- The natural RFI and EMI shielding that aluminium retains makes it suitable for sensitive components and devices
- Aluminium is extremely durable, yet lightweight
- The material has a good natural finish and will accept many other finishes for improved aesthetics
- It is a sustainable material
- Aluminium enclosures are less susceptible to corrosion than other metals such as untreated steel
Extruded aluminium enclosures
Aluminium extrusion is a process in which heated aluminium is pushed through a die and is then formed into the required shape. This can be any shape, within reason, and is how many aluminium products are produced.
In electronic enclosure terms, the aluminium extrusion is best suited to producing the main ‘body’ of an enclosure. The die can have a set width and height and produced in a set length, for example meter lengths, and then cut to the required lengths that make up the standard range. Using this system, custom lengths can be requested based on MOQ’s or MOV’s. The end panels of the enclosure will then either be diecast, which we will discuss later, or plastic.
The CamdenBoss 55 series is manufactured in this way and uses plastic end caps. The 55 series handheld enclosure is commonly used for its compact size, making it portable, its recessed top and bottom makes and ideal area for controls overlays and screens, and the PCB slots that make assembling the enclosure easy and straight forward.
Another example from CamdenBoss is the 88 series. This highly waterproof and dust tight enclosure solution is manufactured via an extruded body and diecast endcaps that feature a gasket channel for sealing the enclosure. It is available with either a silver or black anodised finish. A wall mountable enclosure option is available to order.
Diecast aluminium enclosures
Die casting aluminium enclosures is a process where molten metal in casted into shape by using a die and a die casting machine. More complex shapes can be achieved this way, for example ribbing and PCB pillars can be casted into the electronics enclosure.
Diecast aluminium enclosures, unlike extruded variants, are set to standard sizes. They possess the ability to be more complex, more robust and remain relatively lightweight which is important for metal electronic enclosures. Aluminium diecast enclosures can be easily customised with control and component entry points using the inhouse customisation capabilities at CamdenBoss.
The 5000 series multi-purpose diecast enclosure from CamdenBoss is popular for its lightweight body, cost effectiveness and middle level IP rating. It is commonly used by our customers for industrial control boxes, electrical junctions and audio stomp boxes, to name a few. A wide selection of colours and finishes are available to choose from.
For applications that require a physically stronger enclosure, the 5500 series heavy duty diecast is available. Typically used for industrial control and mechanical applications, the thickset aluminium alloy housing is designed to meet the requirements of IP65 with the included neoprene gasket. A natural finish is available as standard, with hammerstone or powder coating options to order.
To see more on the metal enclosures available from CamdenBoss, click here
Or alternatively, to see the whole range of electronic enclosures, click here