On a daily basis, you knowingly and unknowingly use a lot of IoT (Internet of Things) devices. The concept has penetrated almost every industry and every area of life, from smart home devices and wearable health devices to smart car gadgets. Numerous statistics suggest we will have tens of billions of IoT devices in the coming years, with the IoT market size in the hundreds of billions of dollars. IoT devices clearly represent the future, which has also led to numerous new inventions and startups in the IoT space.
While you plan the manufacturing, design, and other aspects of your IoT device, one of the most significant factors that influence the dynamics of it is the IoT enclosure. You have to take care of the design, cost of materials, material properties, regulations, and many other factors.
This blog makes that aspect easier for you. In this guide, you will understand and analyse every critical factor you must consider before selecting the right type of IoT enclosure.
#1 Selecting a suitable material
One of the most important things to choose for manufacturing the perfect IoT enclosure is the material. The cost, requirements of material properties, design capabilities, and other factors are all influenced by the type of material you choose.
There are a lot of questions which you can ask yourself to help narrow down your choices. Here are the main questions:
- The environment around the device and probable environmental conditions that the product would experience
- Rigidity and durability of the material
- Signal transmission capabilities required by the device
- Will it be used indoors or outdoors
- Electrical insulation property
- The complexity of the design required
- Surface finish options available
- Scratch and stain resistance
- Heat and chemical resistance required based on the probable environmental scenarios
- Design considerations to help keep the device clean from dirt and other foreign particles
- Factors linked to the waterproof intensity
- Types of the preferred manufacturing process
Based on the factors above, you can choose from materials options that include ABS plastic, polycarbonate, polyamide, a blend of ABS plastic and polycarbonate, and metals including aluminium, steel, and others.
These initial questions will help you filter out most of the choices you have and help you reach closer to the perfect material.
#2 Design should be made as per use case – Do DfM analysis
DfM analysis of your IoT enclosure will help you improve and correct your design based on the end-use case. The type of manufacturing process (For example, injection moulding, 3D printing, etc.) you choose would also depend on the product’s design.
There are instances where startups would overcomplicate the design of a product for aesthetics or other factors, even when a product will not be seen by human eyes regularly. The overcomplicated design might need special manufacturing processes, which would bump up the overall cost of the device.
DfM analysis done right by a manufacturing expert would factor in design considerations, including:
- Competitor analysis of the design
- Comparison with benchmark standards
- The manufacturing process to be selected
- Tools for manufacturing to be used
- And other considerations
#3 NEMA, IP and UL rating for IoT enclosures
There are a few rating standards that you must consider before planning IoT manufacturing for your device’s enclosure.
Different device enclosures would follow specific standards, which you should choose considering the end user market country and use case.
- The first rating, and one of the most famous ones, is NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) rating. NEMA rates electronic device enclosures that are used in industrial applications. Factors they consider include human protection from hazardous parts and other safety aspects according to different environmental conditions.
- The next is IP Rating (Ingress Protection Rating or International Protection Rating). This rating rates enclosures based on their capabilities of blocking foreign particles from entering the device. Ip rating considers particles like water, dust, accidental contact, and others. The IP rating is most famous for assessing the waterproof nature of products.
- UL ratings are given by another governing body that considers specific checks and factors like infiltration capabilities of enclosures to rate them.
#4 Precision and cost analysis
Cost analysis is something any company cannot ignore before finalising the manufacturing plan. The precision of the design tolerances you choose and the manufacturing process you use will heavily impact the cost of your device.
Your IoT enclosure’s end-use case might not require the tolerances you are selecting, so you must consider detailed DfM analysis, as we discussed above, before starting the manufacturing of your device.
#5 Past experience of manufacturer and process followed – Prototyping, production, and more
After considering all the above factors comes the most crucial consideration – Your manufacturing partner. The past experience and technical capabilities of your manufacturing partner like Karkhana.io play one of the biggest roles in the success of your IoT device.
You must consider all these things before selecting your manufacturing partner:
- Past experience in manufacturing a similar IoT enclosure
- SOPs followed for manufacturing processes – Pre-production, production, and post-production, including QC
- Technical know-how
- Reliability based on past experience
How does Karkhana.io make it simple for companies to manufacture world-class enclosures?
Finding reliable manufacturing partners with specific past experience within a particular budget is a big challenge for IoT companies and startups. Since the IoT devices market is in its nascent stages, the industry does not have a lot of manufacturers.
Also, there are challenges like reliable manufacturers being reluctant on dealing with small order volumes, difficulty in doing DfM analysis because of limited technical know-how, and no standard pricing in the industry.
We are solving this challenge for companies with Karkhana.io’s digital manufacturing platform. We have designed the platform based on specific challenges faced by companies. It includes instant quotation 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.
Want to supercharge your IoT enclosure manufacturing and its success? Start by registering on our digital platform.