Metal enclosures are typically chosen for their industrial qualities such as strength, durability and natural ability to withstand high ambient temperatures.
Robust construction means diecast aluminium enclosures are best suited for industrial applications where the impact from tools or vehicles is a risk. Aluminium material has low electrical conductivity properties and excellent resistance to magnetic force which help to shield against RFI (radio frequency interference) and EMF (electromagnetic frequency), equivalent plastic enclosures would require RFI/EMI shielding to achieve the same level of base protection.
Stainless Steel enclosures are ideal for use in food, medical and marine applications thanks to their corrosion-resistant and sanitary properties. These environments expose products to harsh chemicals, regular wash downs and saltwater which can all lead to a material deterioration in lesser quality materials and ultimately ruin the integrity of your enclosure and electronics.
Extruded aluminium enclosures whilst not as strong as diecast models show their strengths with the customisation options available. The material is easy to machine allowing the customer to add many custom apertures and the length of the extrusion can be custom cut meaning small runs of bespoke enclosures are easily achieved. Anodising allows the customer to further modify the standard ranges, adding their company colours and laser printing/etching services are available to complete the enclosures with your branding.
Choosing the right material is only one factor to consider when selecting an enclosure product, if you identify the application is external you should take time to research IP ratings too. The term IP rating (ingress protection) is used to determine an enclosures degree of protection against the intrusion of solid objects and liquid. The ratings are made up of two numbers, the first ranging from 1-6 represents protection against objects and the second ranging from 1-9 is protection against liquids. These figures are then combined to show the user the rating ie. IP65 will provide complete protection against dust and with limited ingress permitted, protection from jets of water.
In conclusion, there are many factors concerning the material selection that should be considered when you begin your search for an enclosure product. Spending this time in the early stages of development will ensure the long life of your enclosure product and provide the best possible protection for your electronics. If you are struggling to figure out which material is the most suitable for your enclosure, give us a call on 01908 325100 of fill in this contact form.