Enclosure Design of Custom Rack Mount Systems

It’s likely you are here looking to supplement your core competency of software and PC board design for a specialized application. Welcome!

custom enclosure and system design

After decades of designing custom rack mount enclosures, we’ve produced a significant array of reference design starting point enclosure designs. Each having specific features to suit different electromechanical requirements.  For Example: do you need redundant hot-swap power supplies, or do you want field-replaceable electronics modules, or do you have a single PC board with connectors that protrude through the front AND rear panels?  We have produced a family of reference designs for these and many other situations.

By using one of our reference designs, we don’t start at the beginning, we can start in the middle of the development process, saving you time and money.

rack mount sheet metal assembly

ODM Design & Development

Our customers are typically small to medium-sized companies whose core competencies are in electronic design and software development.  EEi compliments that with our core competencies in electromechanical design, manufacturing, assembly, and test.  Our process supports concurrent engineering between EEi and our customers.  Projects typically follow something like this:

  • Establish a Physical Architecture with:
    • Thermal Dissipation
    • Emission & Immunity
    • Minimize Points of Failure
  • Define PCB Mechanical Constraints
  • Customer & EEi Concurrent Engineering Proceeds
  • Develop Enclosure Design
  • Design Supporting PCBs (System Status, I/O, Or-ing, or Backplane Boards)
  • Back Check Customer’s PCB Design for Mechanical Form and Fit
  • Finalize All Manufacturing Documentation for the Enclosure, PCBs, Harnesses, etc.
  • EEi Manufactures Prototypes
  • EEi Production Manufacturing

Design reviews may be called whenever the needs arise by our customers or EEi.

FRUs can provide an easy customer upgrade path. Click here for more examples.

All designed materials and surface treatments are RoHS compliant unless requested otherwise.

rack mount sheet metal drawing

Our rack mount enclosure development team is heavily steeped in and experienced with manufacturing processes. You’ll know why if you’ve read our founders’ quote as this makes an enormous difference in the design, quality of the enclosure and the entire system. Not only is the quality of the system more repeatable but lower cost too. Each engineer knows the ins-and-outs of the machinery, tooling, capabilities, speed of operation, tolerances and shop floor staff. They know the capabilities of the wire harness shop, they’ve spent time at our painters and platers. All this has a vital effect on the resulting design we produce for your system. Each knows how to design in maximum repeatable quality and take out cost from the initial design and not through “value engineering” after the fact.

Post-production value engineering rarely permits making the maximum number of changes necessary to achieve the greatest minimal production cost without sacrificing quality.

Concurrent Design Advantages

As an electromechanical system developer, manufacturer, and enclosure integrator, we’re in a unique position to support your PCB designers by defining optimal connector placement for EMC and thermal dissipating component placement for optimal thermal attenuation.  Here are the issues and how we address them:

  • Connectors, e.g. SFP cages and many others that need proper chassis grounding for EMC often come with very poor placement recommendations by the connector manufacturers.  We frequently work with our customers’ board designers to establish precise positioning for accurate interface to the chassis resulting in proper EMC.

rack mount design contraints

  • To promote concurrent engineering between our design team and your PC board designers, we routinely generate a design constraints drawing placing all front/rear panel connectors, LEDs, etc.  This includes determining adequate spacing between components for front panel legends, hand-access, and branding.
  • Many of today’s rack mount products are consuming more power and dissipating more heat in ever-smaller enclosures. Convection airflow is quite often counterintuitive. Decades of experience has shown how to more accurately predict the often inconsistent airflow, even during the enclosures’ conceptual stage. With that background knowledge and experience, we can recommend heat-dissipating component placement, air intake, and exhaust, guidance, etc., to achieve a better thermal balance.

Defining these critical constraints at the onset provides many higher-end results, earlier completion through concurrent engineering, and fewer missteps.

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