THE CONDUIT

Custom vs. Standard Control Panel Enclosures 

Posted by Paul Simons on March 7, 2018

Custom v Standard Enclosures 875x450

With the control panel enclosure impacting the safety, functionality and profitability of heavy-duty equipment and machinery, choosing whether to buy a standard panel or create a custom design is an important decision for OEMs. If an OEM has engineering and metal fabrication capabilities, for example, they might choose to design and build their own custom enclosures in-house. However, there’s also the option to buy standard control panel enclosures, or take the middle road and design an enclosure, but outsource the fabrication.

To help OEMs narrow down their choices and make the right decision for their business, we’ve broken down the pros and cons of both custom and standard control panel enclosures:

CUSTOM CONTROL PANEL ENCLOSURES

Pros:

  • Measurements, holes, hinges and latching mechanisms will be exactly what the OEM needs, where he or she needs them
  • Designers can add visual appeal to the enclosure, integrating it into company branding efforts and enhancing the overall aesthetics of the machine

Cons:

  • Longer lead times
  • Higher costs
  • Generally not water/weatherproof

Going the custom route has several pros and cons for today’s manufacturers. First and foremost, it ensures all of the OEM’s functional, sizing and aesthetic needs for the control panel enclosure will be met, as a custom enclosure allows for virtually limitless design options and “outside the box” thinking. While cost and lead times are a bit higher for custom enclosures, the value a custom control panel enclosure adds to a given piece of equipment is typically worth the investment. This is especially true if an OEM plans to use the same custom control panel enclosure in high volumes. Once the design is done and production is set up, the cost and lead time for the enclosure should level out.

STANDARD CONTROL PANEL ENCLOSURES

Pros:

  • Readily available with shorter lead times
  • Cost efficient
  • Can be water/weatherproof

Cons:

  • Limited to standard sizing, color and material options
  • Secondary machining is usually necessary to add or resize holes to accommodate the OEM’s needs

Compared to custom enclosures, standard enclosures are much easier to find and procure, and can typically be purchased online or through a supplier. This means they can be bought in higher quantities, and they’ll also arrive faster, too. That said, though purchasing a standard control panel enclosure might seem less expensive and faster up front, the OEM will likely have to finish fabrication in-house before it can be installed. Whether the in-house work is drilling a simple hole in the box or something more complicated, it’s important to consider the costs that will be incurred after the standard control panel enclosure arrives at the OEM’s facility.

Lastly, when deciding whether to use a standard or custom control panel enclosure, the OEM should consider whether the enclosure will be visible on the equipment. If so, a custom design can boost the overall aesthetic. On the other hand, if the enclosure will be hidden, there’s no need for the OEM to waste time or money making it look nice.

MCL has the design and metal fabrication capabilities to provide OEMs with high quality control panels and their enclosures, whether standard or custom. Click the button below to download our free infographic and decide To Build or Not to Build?

The Benefits of Outsourced vs. In-house Assemblies

Topics: Manufacturing/Operations, Electrical Assemblies


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