INDUSTRIAL HANDHELD ENCLOSURES: STRENGTH VS COMFORT
When it comes to industrial electronic enclosures, those destined for handheld applications are conspicuous by their comparative scarcity. In challenging working environments dominated by large automated production lines, it may initially seem that there is less of a role for handheld devices.
Controllers are often large HMI panel PCs on suspension arms or diecast enclosures fitted directly to walls or machines. But increasingly, there is a demand for mobile devices. And while plastic enclosures are making increasing inroads into the industrial market, sooner or later there is a requirement for resilient metal handheld enclosures that offer good ingress protection.
And that can pose a design dilemma – strength versus comfort. On one hand (literally), soft-contoured plastic handheld enclosures are light, and they don’t feel cold to the touch. But they lack the greater impact protection that metal offers.
On the other hand, metal handheld enclosures are highly durable but are they as pleasant to hold as their plastic counterparts? Not always. This can create a trade-off…but why compromize? Why not create metal handheld enclosures that tick all the boxes for strength, ingress protection, ergonomics and lightness. Why not design robust aluminum enclosures that are comfortable to hold and operate for long periods? So Rolec did – twice.
DIECAST ALUMINUM HANDHELD ENCLOSURES
Our handCASE (IP 66, IP 67) diecast enclosures can withstand harsh industrial conditions including vibrations, impacts and exposure to dust, moisture and chemicals. This makes them ideal for applications such as manufacturing/production, oil and gas, chemical processing, mining, power generation, water treatment, transportation and agriculture.
Rugged handCASE provides solid protection for internal components under the most extreme conditions. And thanks to their ergonomic design, these enclosures sit very snugly in the user’s hand.
Diecast aluminum was the obvious choice of material. Aluminum is a lightweight metal which makes it ideal for handheld devices. This is crucial for industrial electronics, as it ensures that the enclosure doesn’t add unnecessary weight to the overall finished product. This is particularly important for handheld instruments that workers may need to carry for extended periods.
Despite its light weight, aluminum is remarkably strong and durable: it can withstand the hard knocks meted out by factories and other industrial environments. This is crucial for handheld devices that may be exposed to rough handling, drops, or other potential sources of mechanical stress.
Aluminum has a natural oxide layer that provides excellent corrosion resistance. This ensures the longevity of the enclosure, even in industrial settings. And the metal’s excellent thermal conductivity means it can efficiently dissipate heat generated by electronic components. Aluminum is also an effective electromagnetic shield, helping to safeguard the electronics from RFI/EMI. It is also easy to machine, which reduces time spent on customization – so you get your finished enclosures sooner.
Stylish and robust handCASE is available in two versions, both of which have a generous lid recess to accommodate a membrane keypad. Version S has a bevelled lid for comfort. Version R’s lid has a narrow edge which allows optimal use of the top surface. Both versions are available in two plan sizes (3.15″ x 7.09″, 3.94″ x 8.66″) – either with or without a battery compartment (1.5 V AA, 9 V cells). Accessories include a clip holder and a shoulder strap.
The alternative to handCASE is mobilCASE, which is manufactured from extruded aluminum profiles. It too is available in two different versions:
one-piece profile (IP 65) for circuit boards
two-piece profile (IP 54) for the easy installation of a display or short-stroke keypad
Every mobilCASE has a large rounded section which runs down one long edge like the spine of a book. It serves both as a convenient area to grip and as a secure housing for an optional battery holder (2/4 x 1.5 V AA).
The enclosures can be specified in three standard PCB widths – 3.15″, 3.94″ and 5.12″ – and can be cut to custom lengths on request. Then it is simply a matter of specifying one of six different end cover options:
two flat end covers
one flat and one deep end cover with M16 screw plug (for battery compartment access)
adjustable tilt stand with two flat end covers
adjustable tilt stand with one flat and one deep end cover with M16 screw plug
wall/machine pivot-mount bracket with two flat end covers
two rotating end covers for connecting two units together
All this versatility creates a huge range of sizes, configurations and options – all from a simple design concept that works very well and has proven its worth repeatedly in a wide variety of applications.
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