Standard enclosures do not remain standard for long. In no time, engineers put holes, cutouts, and recesses into pristine boxes. This process is necessary to make the enclosures functional. There are switches to mount, readouts to view and connections to be made.
Every application is unique and every solution is different, and all applications seem to require customizing the enclosure. Rather than create a custom package, OEMs often choose to modify, or customize, a standard enclosure.
Reasons may be to lower development cost, reduce product cost or achieve a faster time to market. Seeking to achieve a more custom solution, OEMs request enclosure manufacturers to cut holes, slots, recesses and all manner of shapes into their standard enclosures.
The trend toward packaging multiple functions into a single enclosure to achieve a compact, integrated package has greatly increased the complexity of these modifications. While it may appear this trend is driving designs toward custom solutions, and limits the use of standard enclosures, in reality, advances in customization methods continue to increase the use of modified standard enclosures. This is especially true for plastic enclosures.
Electronic packaging will continue to increase in density. The man-machine interface will continue to become more sophisticated with multiple inputs and outputs. Applications will be subjected to harsher and more demanding environments. Future packaging complexity will require either extensively customized standard enclosures, or force designs requiring custom molded enclosures. Can a standard enclosure still be viable? How does an OEM tackle the possibility of extreme customization? What solutions exist for high precision patterns, for creating holes with complex irregular shapes, for modifying most or all of the sides of the enclosure? Let’s examine 3 designs that resulted in extreme customization. We’ll take them in order of increasing complexity.