One recurring theme to the product design work we do is custom enclosure design. Custom enclosures are used to house a wide range of technology, including consumer electronics, medical diagnostics, and industrial instruments or machinery.
As new technology development increases in speed year on year. Most businesses would benefit from developing their own bespoke enclosure, as opposed to modifying something they can buy off the shelf, to differentiate themselves from their competitors and create a product that is perfectly suited to its purpose.
Product Development Process
We follow a specific set of proven activities to assure a successful development process.
- Understanding clients requirements, developing a thorough design specification
- Initial research, existing products, benchmarking competitors, inspirational imagery
- Idea generation and Conceptual design
- Design engineering and 3D CAD
- Prototyping and testing
- Design optimisation for manufacture
- Creation of Manufacturing Data
- Managing the transition into full manufacture
IP rating & testing
We have lots of experience designing enclosures to meet different IP ratings. 4DP work with accredited external test houses to provide certification of IP rating when required.
The flame-retardant plastic chosen for a product is determined by a number of factors from the physical application requirements to the required fire resistance standard. However, when it comes to using flame retardant plastics, the type of polymer must be considered. There are different types of plastics and compositions that are used for the creation of flame-retardant materials to meet the required standards.
The ATEX directive specifically applies to all manufacturers of products which have the potential to be used in explosive or hazardous atmospheres. If they are to be placed on the market, they must have explosion proof electrical and mechanical components, equipment and protective systems. As such, it is the sole responsibility of manufacturers to ensure that all of their products comply with the directive.
Many of the custom enclosure designs we create are made from plastic, using the injection moulding process. (Talk about this process). We have close ties with manufacturers in the UK and Far East.
Another manufacturing processes we use is high pressure die casting of zinc enclosures. (brief overview of this process)
If production volumes are lower, we would consider RIM casting (great for large, low volume components, such as laboratory equipment), or vacuum casting of smaller low volume enclosures. Either of these processes can be used as a bridge to full ‘mass production’ if smaller batches are required as part of the development process.
Plastics with antimicrobial additives that kill bacteria to avoid transferring infection (see Sabre tattoo machine case study). Glass filled plastics produce very rugged components (see sentinel filter case study).
4DP have years of experience, we can design for high temperatures, high pressures, resistance to corrosive chemicals – all down to creating a thorough design specification, and having an in depth knowledge of material options.
So essentially, we are experts, we can help you achieve success when developing a new custom enclosure for your product.