The Manufacturing of Protective Environments…Part 2


Protecting devices, whether it is a computer, touch screen, printer or LCD TV requires creating a total environment where the optimum conditions that the device can operate in.

These protective environments often come in the guise of protective enclosures. LCD enclosures, industrial computer enclosures and enclosures for printers and touch screens house conventional, off-the-shelf devices that fit snugly into the enclosures.

These computer, printer or LCD enclosures are usually manufactured from mild or stainless steel. Stainless steel is more-often-than-not used in food manufacturing or washdown areas as it is none corrosive and can withstand repeated hose down or cleaning.

Inside every enclosure, whether it’s a computer enclosure or a display or printer enclosure, should contain air flow systems. Cool air is required by nearly every electronic device to help prevent overheating and transport heat away. Normally airflow of a computer of LCD comes via an air vent which allows air from the outside to run through the device.

However, with devices operating in wet or outdoor locations then it is not feasible to have an open vent to the outside as water can seep through. Specially designed plenum chambers that allow air and not water through are often used to counter this problem.

Heating elements are also used inside enclosures as are air condition systems for use in extremely hot environments.

Other hazards such as direct sunlight damaging an LCD screen can be countered too using anti-glass or even an air curtain (cool hair blown across the screen to prevent hotspots).]

Enclosures are built to current guidance advice such as those issued by the EU or the National Electrical Manufacturers Association so IP65 and NEMA 4 enclosures are not hard to find.

But perhaps the biggest advantage of using enclosures rather than specific outdoor or weatherproof devices is they house standard equipment and more often than not this means that the combined cost of say a display device plus the outdoor LCD enclosure is often a lot less than a specific outdoor TV. The same can also be said for industrial computers versus computer enclosures and also printer enclosures.

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