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Dec 2, 2013

The Danger of Modifying Stainless Steel Enclosures

Stainless steel enclosures are designed to be very rugged to give maximum protection to your important equipment in nearly any environment. Ours are highly resilient, even in the face of rust and corrosion, and protect very well against the ingress of water. Still, we occasionally find that our enclosures are modified in the field to serve different tasks, and this can compromise the function of the enclosure.

stainless steel enclosure

SS Enclosure with sealed door for cords and cables

We understand that new needs often arise in the plant and that it might make sense to modify something instead of buying a new product, but that can be very dangerous thinking when it comes to enclosures.

Upon installation, we have a number of customers who use conduit in their plant to move power and data and want to run it to the enclosure. We understand this need, but there is some danger in using conduit with enclosures as well.

stainless steel enclosure

To accommodate conduit, a hole is drilled into the enclosure and the conduit is inserted and sealed into that hole. The conduit piping runs the wires to and from the enclosure to another location. Normally, our enclosures are watertight, but with this addition, the enclosure is now open to whatever environment is on the other end of the conduit pipe.

We have had customers that have asked us why there is water in the bottom of their enclosure, only to discover that they use conduit and left the other end open to a moist or humid environment.

One of the other common issues we deal with is crowded electronics. Some people receive our enclosures and like them just fine, but then realize that they need to enclose several more devices or machines.

This leads some people to pack enclosures to the brim with running electronics. The problem is that overflowing an enclosure with electronics makes overheating far more likely. With no space, the heat is not given ample area to dissipate and the electronics in PCs and other devices can fry. You are better off just getting another enclosure.

We always believe that it is a good rule of thumb to not modify things like enclosures because you don’t always know what the effect of that modification is going to be. You can trust that we can help you get through difficult plant hurdles without modification if you contact us as soon as they come up.

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Oct 3, 2013

Custom Enclosure & Conveyor Building & Design

Every customer has a different production floor layout, therefore, every customer has different needs. Our job is to make sure that our customer’s needs are met by providing them with a high quality product that fits into the allowed space of their layout. Enclosures are often unique and custom.

stainless steel enclosure

Stainless Steel Enclosure with Clear Front Window

We design and build many different types (including stainless steel enclosures) and options and are available to make it unlike any other.

The number of doors, windows, slide outs etc. needed is up to the customer, based on the size of the enclosure. They can range from a single door to side doors, even top access doors or multi-doors per side if the size allows. Additionally, there can be monitors located in the doors themselves or inside the enclosure. Printers, indicators, keyboards and even a computer mouse can have a place inside.

Our enclosures can be mounted to a wall for permanent location or be attached to a cart on wheels for moving from location to location.

stainless_steel_enclosures_tall

The possibilities are numerous along with the sizes of enclosures.

Conveyor systems can be just as unique and custom as enclosures. We build conveyors for over-head applications as well as conveyors to work off of. They can be constructed of angle iron or square tube frames, food-grade continuous welded or non-food-grade stitch welded. There are stainless steel or aluminum options for material.

stainless steel enclosure

NEMA-4X SS Enclosure with access door for cords and cables

There is an option to have rollers or stationary feet, different types of belting, product guides and diverts for your product. We build light capacity and heavy capacity checkweighers, indexing, labeling, metal detecting, and sorting conveyors.

Even the conveyor stands can be customized! In some instances we have had to fit a conveyor frame inside a pre-existing frame. Each frame and each conveyor offers you something different; whether it is the length of the conveyor, the width or height of the belt, or any extras that you might request!

With all of the different products that we offer and all the extras that can be done to them, we can accommodate a wide variety of applications!

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May 15, 2013

Common Problems & Solutions With Stainless Steel Enclosures

There are many types of enclosures, but they all have some of the same general problems.

For the purpose of this discussion, we will address stainless steel enclosures since they are the most durable, and widely used for maintaining expensive electronic equipment in industrial settings.

It goes without saying that design and craftsmanshipare key factors in any piece of equipment.

stainless steel enclosures

Washdown Rated Stainless Steel Enclosure

Often, the problem of water ingress from sanitary or clean up crews is a major battle. 

Thus, the desire is for a water tight compartment.

You might think that a snug fitting rubber seal on a door closure and around any wire entrance would be sufficient for moisture and dust or particle exclusion.

In some cases this can be true.

stainless steel enclosures

However, in an industrial environment, there may be temperature extremes, pressures, or forces at work which make a simple snug door closure seal seem nonexistent.

One method to combat intrusion around a door opening is a flange or rain gutter design.

Thus, as hot and pressurized water hits the seam, the gasket seal is backed up by the rain gutter prohibiting water intrusion past the seal to the interior.

Likewise, power cord and cable access points should be designed so as to be shielded from direct water and pressure application.

One such good design is to run cables downward from the gasket sealed access port and then cover this area and an area of the cables with a protective cover and additional gasket material.

This goose neck provision deters intrusion of water from direct pressure.

When equipment is operating in a closed environment, even in a cool environment, there are sometimes heat or ventilation problems.

stainless steel enclosure

This type of problem is compounded when a water tight environment is required.

Sometimes this problem can be addressed by using an enclosure cooler.

One such cooler is designed to use pressure controlled air input on the low end of the device, subsequently forcing the rising warm air to be expelled through the device.

You need to recognize there could be problems with the air supply.  There could be high moisture content or possibly oil in the air from a compressor problem which could gum things up. In a dry operation, this ambient air could be utilized through a filtered expansion and ventilation system.

Heat, dust, and water are the enemies of electronics and stimulate the need of quality enclosures.

A very common problem to realize and deal with is condensation. Like a soda can removed from a refrigerator on a hot day, sweat can appear on enclosure walls when introduced to temperature extremes.

Sanitation or hot water wash down in a cold environment could introduce such unwanted condensation.

Some situations can be addressed without great expenditure, and others may require more investment, to maintain your investments.

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May 14, 2013

Building Stainless Steel Enclosures From Start to Finish

Enclosures are used for many applications. Whether it is a labeling station with a printer inside or as simple as storing a touch screen or indicator, we make them all.

There are many steps to building a quality stainless steel enclosure.

The first step in enclosures is the functionality of what it will be used for.

This step will help in choosing the size and any extras that might be wanted and/or needed:

  • Will it be housing a computer with monitor, printer, indicator, back-up power supply?
  • Does it need a side access door, or two?
  • Touch screen or keyboard and mouse?

The second step is design.

stainless steel enclosures

Stainless Steel NEMA-4X Enclosure with View Window

After the size has been chosen, the engineer creates a sign-off drawing to send to the customer to get approval of the design.

If the drawing comes back good, then production begins. If the customer wants changes, changes are made until the customer is pleased.

Production is the third step.

The drawings are sent to the production floor where the different pieces are cut out on the water jet table and bent in the press brake.

The separate pieces are then sent to the next area and are tacked together and checked for proper fitting.

Once they fit together nicely, they are welded completely.

After welding, each enclosure is cleaned up and any extra components are added, along with any wiring that may need to be done.

Step four is quality assurance.

This is where the enclosure is inspected and checked that it is high quality. This is also where any add-ons are checked and made sure that they are operating as expected.

The fifth step is crating and shipping.

Each enclosure is different in size and sometimes shape. A custom shipping pallet is built for each enclosure to protect it until it arrives at its final destination.

Those are the 5 steps laid out and explained briefly.

We offer a wide variety of enclosures and would be happy to assist in making the right one for you!

See our Printer Enclosures

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Apr 27, 2013

Common Sense For Sensitive Equipment In Harsh Environments

There are several considerations when it comes to enclosing a video display or monitors for harsh environment usage.

Although you may have some older Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) video displays, and would like to utilize them in a production environment, this is probably not an economical solution.

You need to consider that a CRT monitor is going to generate a considerable amount of heat.

SDS HMI washdown computer

SDS HMI Controller

Consequently an enclosure for a CRT is going to require good deal of cooling or ventilation.

cooler (using compressed air from your supplied system) and a filter dryer (to remove moisture from air) are additional expenses that may well be dictated by a sealed enclosure.

The size and weight of a CRT will drive up the cost of an enclosure as well.

Obviously, size does matter in the cost of materials, installation time, and space consideration.

Keep in mind that a CRT monitor may not be efficient in the world of electronics today.

stainless steel enclosures

With these things in mind, consider the suggestion to cut to the chase and buy high quality, Stainless Steel NEMA 4X Enclosures to protect newly purchased LCD Flat Screen Monitors.

Some people flinch at the suggestion of such new purchases, but savings in enclosure costs can often outweigh the cost of the LCD monitor!

Most often an enclosure is desired for continuous environmental protection and clean up activities for protection from harsh environments.

Although it may be considered expensive by some people, the durability and practicality of a stainless steel enclosure will be your most cost efficient decision in the long run!

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