Electronics enclosure designs, reflecting your design intent, product requirements and cost is a challenging work . Few points such as Aesthetics, market size, product life & cost need to be considered at the start of design.
This article will highlight key design and commercial consideration and their impact on product performance.
Product Industrial / Aesthetics Design
Aesthetics is a key selling point for any product. Even before the start of electronics design product industrial design & aesthetics need to be finalized.
PCB design should reflect following aspects of product industrial design :
- PCB Outline
- Position of indication led
- Position of Switch
- Position of interface connectors
Before finalizing industrial design, product design should be checked for manufacturing.
We recommend you to consult mechanical engineer before fixing Product industrial design and PCB outline.
Selection of material is very critical process. It is done at the initial phase of product design. Material type affects the product industrial design & Cost.
Following points are considered during material selection:
Product Industrial Design / Aesthetics: Plastics gives more flexibility in product industrial design ( for example shape, color & weight) when compared to sheet metal and machining enclosures.
Product Application : IOT & electronics products has requirements to pass signals out of mechanical enclosures. Metals blocks signals. All consideration need to be taken care before selection of the material
Corrosion Resistance Requirements : Metal corrodes and plastic degrades when comes in contact with harsh environment. Selection of material type and grade need to be done based of environmental conditions
Thermal Heat Dissipation : Plastics are bad conductor of heat. For higher heat dissipation requirements, metal or combination of metal and plastic enclosure is recommended
Assembly process greatly affects overall product design, material selection, aesthetics and manufacturing process of a product. Following points need to be considered before finalizing the assembly process.
- Product is serviceable or its one time assembly?
- Access to product internals.
- Is there any user replaceable part?
- Product IP Rating
- Required quantites
Tooling cost for manufacturing plastic parts are very high. This cost need to be considered in the start of design. For example , Mold manufacturing cost for Plastic top and bottom housing can be 5k to 10 k. Tooling and unit part cost depends on the complexity of product.
Production volumes also affects product industrial design, material and assembly requirements.
For example, If the required quantity is more than 5000 nos, plastic will be a most cost effective option. As tool price will be amortized in 5000 parts but if required quantity is 1000 tool prize need to be amortized in 1000 nos. In another words part cost will increase by 5 times.
For smaller quantities less than 100, sheet metal or machined enclosure is a cheaper option. Because Special tooling cost is less for manufacturing sheet metal and machined parts.