What is the Electronic Enclosure Manufacturing Process?

Look around you—how many things can you find that are powered by electricity? From the light fixture over your head to the smartphone or computer you’re reading this on, electricity is responsible for so much of what we do in our modern world. In just the past couple of hundred years—a mere blink of an eye in human history—we have learned how to harness this powerful force of nature to help us live more efficiently and make discoveries that were once beyond our wildest dreams.

But, as they say, with great power comes great responsibility. How can electronics manufacturers use electricity to power their devices while ensuring safety and operability with each use? That’s where electronic enclosures come in. By using enclosures that are custom-designed for various use cases, manufacturers of electronics can safely house the electrical components that are responsible for delivering power to devices while protecting the delicate circuitry that makes it all possible.

But who designs these enclosures? While it’s something consumers rarely, if ever, think about, a good deal of time, planning and thought must go into the design of every single electronic enclosure. Here are some of the common manufacturing processes for electronic enclosures, depending on how they will be used in the finished electrical devices.

Electronic Enclosure Manufacturing with CNC Machining

This process uses digital CAD files to control tools as they shape a part from a block of raw material called a “workpiece” or “blank.” Because the CNC machining process allows engineers to produce identical copies of a part simultaneously on multiple machines, this can be an ideal method for manufacturing highly complex enclosures for large quantities of devices.

Electronic Enclosure Manufacturing with Sheet Metal Fabrication

Typically less expensive per unit than CNC-machined enclosures, sheet metal fabrication is commonly used to manufacture the cases of desktop computers as well as many outdoor electronics enclosures.

Electronic Enclosure Manufacturing with Injection Molding

Often used for simple enclosures made from rigid or non-rigid plastics, such as those used in electronic keys, game controllers, kiosk displays and more, the injection molding process involves repeatedly and rapidly filling sturdy metal molds with molten plastics.

Electronic Enclosure Manufacturing with 3D printing

As with CNC machining, 3D printing uses CAD files, but instead of using them to direct tools as they shape a part from a single block of material, it uses them to create parts one layer of material at a time, allowing for more complex features like curved internal channels that are hard, if not impossible, to create via other methods. While it’s not the best option for large-volume production, 3D printing can eliminate the extra assembly step of putting the electronics in their casings, as it allows for them to be fully enclosed during the printing process.

Still not sure which method of custom electronic enclosure manufacturing is right for your project? Do your research to find an experienced and reputable manufacturer such as Rapport, Inc. who can help answer all your questions and get you on the right track. Contact Rapport, Inc. today about sourcing and building your custom design.