The process of creating a custom enclosure actually begins with the entrepreneurial sprit of hobbyists, engineers and designers who come up with new designs for useful products. The function of the new device dictates the range of printed circuit boards (PCBs), switches, input–output jacks & connectors and other interface devices to be used and included in the enclosure design. TEN-TEC enters the equation shortly after this initial phase of technical creativity. Our many repeat customers have learned to bring us in as early as possible. Experience has taught them that the enclosure design process is not quite as simple as most new customers think it is.
Basic Layout & Quote – After a product idea is conceptualized, circuits are designed which often involve the use of a printed circuit board. With a PCB or drawing in hand, a little information on what material you want to use, how many holes or other openings are needed, and what basic size and shape is desired, TEN-TEC can provide an initial quote to let you know where you stand in terms of cost for your enclosure. The initial drawing can be anything from a CAD drawing to a napkin sketch and may include information on the product’s finish and silkscreening. We work in aluminum up to 0.125 inch and steel (galvanneal) up to 0.062 inch. We produce the enclosure parts with an automated punch press. Installing PEM nuts, studs, and standoffs is done manually at specific machines and workstations, as are other secondary operations such as riveting, bending, radiusing corners, countersinking, tapping, and paint masking. TEN-TEC can provide a finish for your enclosure using either wet paint or a textured electrostatic powdercoat. We also silkscreen, meaning we can provide a complete metal enclosure or other metal part from one supplier – not several -- that is ready for your final assembly to create your final product, ready to ship to your customers.
Working Drawings – Once the initial quote is approved and all basic dimensional parameters nailed down, TEN-TEC generates the working drawings that will be used to define the enclosure, or metal part, in our production facility. At each critical point in the development process for your enclosure, we work interactively with you to make certain the enclosure meets your needs without being too costly. These working drawings are sent to you for evaluation, modification, and/or approval. After modifications are incorporated into the design drawings, a second quote is often required to give you a firm cost for your final design. With drawing approvals, quote approvals and your initial purchase order in place, we move on to the production phase of the process. We first create custom programs for the computer controlled machines that will produce the basic parts of your enclosure out of large sheets of aluminum or steel.
Samples – With most new designs, we provide you with several un-painted samples as a final proof-of-concept for the new enclosure design. Better to shake out any dimensional problems with a few samples, than to find a problem after 100 or more enclosures have been produced. If no dimensional problems are found and everything fits into the enclosure as expected, you approve the samples and your production order is entered.
Production – Internal processes, such as creating production documents, ordering parts and materials, and working the new parts into the production schedule, take a few days to complete. We use this time to work on the layout(s) for any silkscreen artwork needed on the enclosure. If necessary, TEN-TEC can generate most silkscreen graphics for you, but we prefer to get a vector graphics file from you to work with in making the screen for your enclosure. When production begins, we punch & bend the metal, install PEM nuts & standoffs if required, etch or degrease the parts, then paint and possibly silkscreen your enclosure parts per the instructions on the working drawings we generated at the beginning of the design process.
If you can order in quantity, for a price near that of an off-the-shelf enclosure you can have a professional, custom designed enclosure that is painted, silkscreened, and ready to use. Contact Jerry Whaley at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details, or a quote.