Using Reference Designs for
Custom Rack Mount Systems

Electronic Enclosures, Inc. (EEi) has produced rack mount chassis for decades in many forms (servers, switches, routers, RAID, etc.). Historically, we started with a blank slate with every new customer requirement. After reviewing years of rack mount chassis designs we found numerous basic configurations applicable to a myriad of customer requirements.

Now, we rarely start a new rack mount design at the very beginning.  EEi has prepared rack mount chassis reference design IP for over a dozen architectural configuration.  Each is EIA/ECA-310-E (RS-310) compliant.  This IP consists of 3D models, production documentation, and BOMs ready for our transformation to meet your requirements.  Each reference design has specific features suitable for different applications.  After reviewing and discussing your systems’ electromechanical requirements, EEi can recommend one or more of our reference designs from which to begin your product design.

reference design rack mount chassis
Modifications of these reference designs go from a simple single-board to redundant PSUs, hot-swap modules, fans, drives, interchangeable front panels, and anything else you can imagine.  Selecting the right rack mount chassis reference design from which to begin can then be stretched from a 1U to 2U, 3U, etc., stretched in length, width, whatever is required.

Within hours, we’ve trimmed days, even weeks of engineering time and cost by using the reference design as our starting point.  We add your boards, PSUs, fans, drives, I/O, power module, silk-screen or labeling, etc., and we are ready for a CDR and prototyping your chassis of fully assembled units.

Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Each reference design has seemingly subtle important differences in meeting specific structural requirements.  During the selection process, we’ll also ask about overall thermal dissipation and primary heat-dissipating components to understand the thermal topology.  We’ll ask about clock speeds to plan for emissions and immunity compliance.  We’ll ask about:

  • The number, size, and configuration of boards
  • What protrudes through the front and rear (I/O, etc.)
  • AC or DC power requirements
  • What, if any, components need redundancy
  • Are there any field-replaceable units/modules (FRUs) such as PSUs, fans, console, comm., configuration or upgradeability, etc.

Questions like these will determine which reference design chassis approach will make for the most efficient starting point, or do we start from scratch?

With a little chassis size stretching, we then add your internal components, punch holes in the sides, add airflow compression, set up zones, or other airflow enhancements and add whatever FRU modules you require.  We finish it off with paint, branding, and silk-screen or label artwork.  With a CDR and your approval, we are ready to produce your prototypes.

Our prototypes look like products and ready for your next trade show.

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