Selecting the material for your IoT enclosures is like “half the battle won” when planning the design and manufacturing. The material alone can be the reason for the success of your device in the market or the reason behind the lost opportunity of crores of rupees of market share.
The material impacts the cost for the end consumer, safety, durability, accessibility, and numerous other factors. Because of this, the decision to select the material is a hard one for IoT device companies, and this blog is all about making it easier for you.
Let’s explore the types of materials to choose from (along with reasons that make some materials perfect for specific use cases).
#1 Different types of plastics (Polycarbonate, ABS plastic, and others)
Different types of plastics are usually the most preferred materials for IoT devices (especially the ones used for residential purposes). They compete with other metallic options.
Reasons why plastic is considered a better option in some cases:
- Material is usually cost-effective
- It is easier to modify and machine
- Glossy and other surface finish options provide better aesthetics
- Material is usually light-weight
- Ideal for mass production w.r.t. the cost factor
In plastics, there are multiple options to choose from:
ABS plastic, or Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic, is popular for enclosures because of its strength, durability, and cost-effectiveness. However, it is unsuitable for outdoor use devices because you cannot usually get an IP rating for ABS plastic enclosures. ABS is also one of the most popular categories of plastic enclosure in india.
ASA plastic, known as Acrylonitrile styrene acrylate (ASA) plastic, is preferred for medical purposes because of its antimicrobial properties.
Polycarbonate is one of the hardest plastics you can use for durable IoT enclosures. It can easily be used for devices intended for outdoor use or use in harsh environments. It can also be machined into desirable shapes easily, but it is usually expensive compared to other plastic options.
There are other options as well, like different combinations of the above-mentioned plastics in specific ratios to make the material suitable for certain use cases.
#2 Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is one of the most popular options in the metallic IoT enclosures categories. It is a highly durable steel category known for its corrosion resistance and aesthetic finish.
It becomes the perfect fit for weatherproof enclosures, with high costs remaining the only challenge for IoT device companies.
Type 304 and 316 stainless steel are famous variants used in manufacturing. Stainless steel and other metals are also used in the case of sheet metal enclosures.
Aluminium is another popular metallic material which is preferred over stainless steel in cases where the weight of the IoT enclosures and aesthetic build are important considerations. Other benefits include:
- Easier to machine into specific shapes
- RF shielding properties
- High durability
Electromagnetic interference and the damage created by it are significant factors for the use of aluminium in specific cases. It is also easier to shape in the case of a custom sheet metal enclosure.
#4 Painted Carbon Steel
Painted carbon steel is a cost-effective alternative to stainless steel, often used after being painted to protect it from corrosion. Carbon steel does not offer corrosion resistance at a level compared to stainless steel, but the paint would do the job.
It is another durable option for you to consider.
Questions to answer before finalising the material for your IoT device enclosure
Your decision-making process can be inclined towards a particular material for some reason, but it is essential to consider many factors before selecting a material. Here is a list of some questions that can help you filter some choices:
- Cost of the material
- Requirement of strength, rigidity, and durability
- Compliance requirements (IP, NEMA, UL, RoHS, or others)
- Will the device be used indoors or outdoors
- Surface finish options required
- Aesthetic build requirements and their possibility based on the manufacturing process (like 3D printing, CNC Machining, etc.)
- The temperature and environmental conditions that the device might have to face
- Temperature and chemical resistance
- Electrical insulation (based on requirements)
- Signal transmission
- The necessity of electromagnetic interference shielding
- Scratch and stain resistance
After you have answered these questions, you will be better positioned to select the material.
How can Karkhana.io help you choose the right material and efficiently manufacture your IoT enclosures?
Choosing a suitable material and manufacturing process can skyrocket the success of your IoT device, and this factor makes expert advice very valuable while you make that decision. Companies must factor in all the aspects we discussed above, which is challenging for any IoT company.
Karkhana.io has made this effortless for IoT device companies with their digital manufacturing platform. We have helped a lot of companies manufacture world-class enclosures while helping them reduce costs, increase material strength, aesthetics, and much more.
Karkhana.io’s digital manufacturing platform gives you easy access to a wide range of manufacturers and manufacturing experts. From within the platform, you can access instant quotations for different manufacturing processes, end-to-end project management, DfM feedback via our expert engineers, regular QC, audits of suppliers, logistics, payments, sharing project files within your organisation on the platform dashboard, viewing your CAD files, and more.
Ready to experience the future of manufacturing and use it for your IoT device enclosure’s manufacturing? Start by registering on our digital platform.