Tag Archives: engineering blog

How to Effectively Compare NEMA with IP Ratings for Electronic Enclosures?

Electronics Enclosure, Electrical Boxes, Engineering Blog, NEMA Ratings, IP Ratings,

I assume that when you read this article, you have a basic understanding of different NEMA together with the equivalent IP ratings on an individual basis. Let us now compare the basic classifications of these two ratings.

To give back you up a little bit, let us define the IP ratings. This rating is primarily based on a testing that has not have a specific degree of protection that it gives and also requires against the mechanical damage that can be done to the equipment. There is also some risk of explosions and conditions that can be detrimental to the equipment and can cause corrosive vapors.

With this in mind, the NEMA has standardized test for some of the specific environmental conditions such corrosion, icing, oil, rust, and some of the coolants.

Some of the tests and evaluations should not be identical between the two ratings, thus IP rating cannot be directly equated with NEMA ratings. However, some experts have come up with a very simple guide in translating the NEMA types to some of the IP ratings. Since some of the ratings can either meet or exceed the needed test requirements that can be directly converted or associated with an IP rating.

Please refer to the table below for your guidance:

NEMA Rating IP Rating
1 IP10
2 IP11
4 and 4X IP56
12 IP52
13 IP54

To help you understand this table, for example the NEMA 4X electronics enclosure has a minimum IP rating of IP65. However, the IP65 rating of an electronic enclosure does not can be directl converted into a NEMA 4X rated enclosure.

If you have any question regarding the rating of electronic enclosures from NEMA to IP or vice-versa, you can directly contact the enclosure manufacturer of your choice. There are companies that does not produce or manufacture all of the NEMA type enclosure and they choose to focus on some types of enclosure.

Also with some customization, it is better if the customer will directly ask them the question regarding the NEMA or IP rating of your desired electronics enclosure.

All about Project Boxes: When do you exactly needed them?

engineering blog, electrical enclosures, engineering materials, project boxes,

For the last few months, I have been thinking if it was just right that I have decided to walk my dog every day even amidst of the blizzard. Together with the icy conditions during the last winter season, I have come to realize that it was really my dog’s personality that was trying to pull me. Also, I have realized that this scenario was more like of an ice skating for me. This has sparked the topic on several semantics on how come a certain term can call an image of different types.

Design engineers have started to look at the different project boxes and they are determined that while a plain sturdy box can be really dependable as a stand-by, all of the hard work that was designed using this great new product should not get lost on its tracks. The project boxes are not boring to begin with and it is the project box everyone has started to buy.

There are companies that offers a large selection of those standard plastic enclosures and they come in a wide variety of different sizes. However, what sets some companies apart from one another is not just the popular project box. But it is the unique blend of different styles of stylish enclosures. These are the products that will allow the customers to have a great design on their one new great product and this can be the off-the-shelf enclosure that has that great appearance of a custom-molded creation.

This comes without the expense and time consuming process that it would take to effectively create a very good custom mold.

There are companies that offers no minimum in doing the purchasing. If the user wants to buy 1 or 2 pieces of the project box designs, you can ask the company if they offer this type of service. The user can also order directly from the website at any time of the day, without worrying about having to think about the store hours of the physical store. There will be always someone available to take the order via phone.

Once the customer has carefully selected the enclosure that can best fit their engineer project, the companies can ramp up the value of the production by giving the order into larger quantities. This will be needed for the production of the enclosure. It can also do further customization for the enclosure to fit any engineering projects.

Together with the CNC machined holes, slots, and vents – printing directly on the enclosure for customization with a very good permanent ink can post no problems. Actually, it might cost less than what the customer would think.

Companies are not only limited to the common, boring “project boxes” that almost everyone is already buying. There are tons of product possibilities you can think of. The size, shape, or the placement of the holes for the customization. There are wide variety of options that can be available to you. You are not limited by your imagination.

What are Considered Needs vs. Wants when It Comes to Project Boxes?

Electronics Enclosure, Engineering Blog, Engineering Materials, Metal Enclsoures, Project Boxes,

It is indeed that time of the year again: snow everywhere. There are snow-covered roads that are being buried in our front yards including the icy sidewalks. I use to live in Cleveland, but I have still to get a dog with too much energy so that I am required to walk him every single day. The only proof to me that he has so much energy to spend for his own good is that he constantly pulls on his dog leash.

If you are thinking about the occasional tug, this is not the case I am thinking about. But it is the 90% of the time he is just straining to get ahead of me. Or maybe my legs are starting to get tired because it is too short to keep up with my dog’s pace. I have already tried almost all sorts of different gadgets and techniques in order for me to try to break him from this bad habit, to no avail. With this in mind, I should be more accurate by saying “he walks everyday and I ice-skate as he tags me along the ride.” But you ge the picture right?

It is so funny when there is a certain term or word that can bring impact on one’s imagination, isn’t it? I am being reminded of Shakespeare’s “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Customers often calls companies just to find a certain “project box.” Let us explore for a moment what a project box really is. A google search will give you tons of links to several plastic boxes. The first link of the search is very interesting – it leads to Radio Shack. Before working for a company. I have always thought that this company sells finished products. But just recently, I have learned that they also cater to hobbyists too.

Just by clicking on any type of result will reveal to you a standard, inexpensive, non-descript plastic electronic enclosure. The type of case that is very sturdy and dependable. Obviously, there are some of the good qualities to have when you are designing a product.

The best thing about this is being able to buy these types of enclosure at some retail stores (such as Radio Shack) is that you can buy just one or two pieces without being obliged to buy hundreds or tons of product pieces because there is no order quantity required for these.

With this in mind, one can just buy or purchase any couple of pieces that he or she might need. Without sacrificing too much resources. The unique project will suddenly not look very unique does it? So buying per piece is a very good idea.

What is a Rapid Prototyping Solution?

engineering blog, Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping

Back during my childhood, before my sister totally though that it would be really fun and exciting if we would take on a ride at the fair in the neighborhood. They call it the Salt and Pepper shakers. To further illustrate the ride, there are two existing arms on the side. At the end of each there is an enclosed big bug that keeps the rider totally locked inside. These arms then are carefully rotated in the opposite directions. Once the arm reaches the top of the ride rotation, the buggy together with the people riding will go total upside down.

At this point from now on, the person operating the right totally thought that it was really funny that an 8 year old child like me was really scared for her dear life and she started screaming like someone was murdered. That is the very reason why I am really afraid of heights. And because of this experience, I am very intrigued by the various fields of study that determines if it is really the nature that makes us who we are – nature vs. nurture.

Before this trip to the fun fair, I did not have very much experience with extreme heights: I was not a tree climber at all. I did not use the roof or utilize it for me to sneak out of the house and I have not any experience climbing the ladders either. I guess that’s is because of my developed fear of heights when I as a kid. I had been really scared for my life and I guess the experience made me to fear heights.

Because of this, a product has reminded me of this fearful experience. Maybe because of its psychophysiology.

The very efficient and unique ATLASense™ AR7000 series does a semi-custom platform that fives a good and rapid prototyping solution for companies. This satisfy a large and broad physiological and behavioral monitoring needs for your products. This high performing workhorse offers a different, physical, and physiological and behavioral human interacts with a lot of broad selection of the best front-end sensors.

The international clients of this platform has started to apply the different platofrms in different fields of use. This also includes the diagnostics, biological therapy, telemedicine and as well as psychophysiology. What is more to this product is that it has a very wide range of different configurations that can be easily found in Atlas Engineering’s website: www.atlas-arl.com

How to Capture a PCB Using Two Screw Towers?

Just recently, I instantly decided to get rid of my unneeded furniture placed in the basement. It was already old, out of style and it so happens that my cats are living down in the basement. The furniture was completely covered in my cat’s fur because my two white cats loves to sit on the (then blue) white couch. Anyone who will see my furniture will tell me that it looks completely gross. And it is.

And because of presence of fleas, I decided to move the chairs by myself. I cannot wait for my boyfriend to arrive even if he is just 20 minutes away from my house. I almost got near the carpet but for once I decided to drag it upstairs. I just don’t have the energy to turn it to then haul it out open to the door.

When I carefully looked at the chair, I hefted the back of the chair onto the stair to make it leveled up to the front end whilst stepping up to the next level of the stairs. I said to myself, “one step at time.” I just patiently keeps on repeating this mantra as I slowly inch my way up to the stairs just balancing the two legs of the chair. When I finally got to the landing of the chair, I had to make the turn. I just hefted the back left leg of the chair onto the landing platform just in front of the right leg on the front end. While the chair is recently balanced like this on opposing legs, I just have to push it all the way to make a safe landing.

With this in mind, why should my impatience about furniture hauling matter? This is because without the ability to balance the chair on two opposing legs, I should have not succeeded. I recently got this idea from an enclosure making company that just launched their hand-held plastic enclosures. The unique enclosure design shows how it sandwiches a PCB between two screw towers.

There are customers who have asked how this works and they show a doubtful face that says “How does this keep the board from flexing?” The place of the board on the enclosure, then insert (and tighten) the screws into the screw holes on the enclosure. Which is now threaded unto the screw towers. This is primarily because the enclosure is so slim, that it leaves no room for the board to easily flex or twist like that inside the enclosure.

The screws can easily hold down the opposing corners of the PCB board. Thus making it just level and stable once the enclosure is successfully screwed together. This also allows the end user to use the space that surrounds the PCB without the need for the mounting attachments of bosses made in most sizes. However, because of the extra length of the KT-70, the mounting bosses are finally included for the additional stability.

What are the Different Characteristics of Ink Used in Printing on Enclosures?

We have already explored how the personality if the newly weds can be comparable to the material characteristics of the electronics. We also have been able to identify its importance regardless of the end use of the electronics equipment. Also, there are certain characterisitics that are very important to make sure that the final product can stay as crisp since the day the customer decided to purchase it.

There is also one additional important characteristics for plastic electronics enclosure for it to be solvent-resistant. There are several types of different enclosures that can offer bonding as the only way to assemble the final product. While we can carefully strive to not spill the solvents (or anything in that matter), these situations really happen. There was a leak in the solvent packaging, a loose lid, or perhaps there are products that are sent down on a table that comes with an accidental drop of solvent.

The list is just full of endless possibilities. The use of a solvent-resistant ink just helps in the prevention of the unlikely or unwanted events to happen that can eventually lead to serious and long-term problems.

As you can see, there are several and many specifications just for any ink type the user wants to use to customize their electronics enclosure. These posts only deal with a partial list. The customers have been keen on emailing and commenting but there many more characteristics that should be taken in careful consideration.

The point here is there are companies that uses the permanent ink for both of the plastic enclosure both on silk screening and pad printing. The ink that was used for some of the plastic enclosures surely meets the needed specifications to permanently brand the plastic enclsoures. In addition to this, the gloss in the ink also adds the style to the enclsoures.

In return, the gloss intensifies the ink, so that it can print resulting to a very bright appearance. Rather than the dull, chalky finish that we often see in this style of printing. Getting a quote about permanently print on the enclosure is just simple and it can bring down the printing cost lesser than you think. It is best to contact the customer service for further classifications.

The 21st Century’s Lighting Revolution: What is it all about? Part 3

Today, almost all general service lamp sockets (about 75%) are estimated to have longer life compact fluorescent and being occupied by it together with the general service LED bulbs. In summary, the new government regulation is designed to target less energy savings compared to the forecast of Department of Energy have forecasted way back few years ago. This is because there is a significant move seen on the market. This trend is estimated to continue beyond 2020.

In line with the bulbs not being a general service lamp, LBNL have included in their report that there were almost the same problem when it comes to data. The energy consumption, as well as the savings, is now measured by using the estimated number of lamps installed in the sockets. The Department of Energy utilizes an algorithm that will help them arrive at a number estimate and will not only rely on lamp shipments. The data should only include assumptions regarding the light bulb’s life and its longevity when it is installed in the socket before it can be replaced.

However, there is a direct relationship between the shipments of light bulb and the number of installed bulbs. The greater the number of shipments for a specific lamp type, it is safe to conclude that there will be more units of light bulb are going to be installed. In contrary to this, the fact is true if the event happened otherwise. The number figures Department of Energy arrived at for the incandescent lamp reflectors shipments exceeded the manufacturer’s expectation. The LBNL’s estimates for the installed bases used for incandescent reflector lamps are over exaggerated.

The Department of Energy’s data estimations regarding the shipments of the reflector lamps are either flat or growing slightly. But in reality, they were actually falling. Last 2018, NEMA the shipments for incandescent reflector lamp were expected to be less than a third of what DOE has estimated few years back. Partly the reason for this decline is the Department of Energy’s increase in energy efficiency standards for the incandescent reflector lamps (PAR and R.) These lamps required the infrared technology and made the cost of these lamps to go higher what is expected. Thus, the LED reflector lamps are priced in a competitive way compare to the price of the LED reflector lamps. The lamps started to fall.

If there were as many incandescent reflector lamps in the installed base of sockets consuming electricity that LBNL cited, NEMA members would be selling a lot more incandescent reflector lamps, and they are not. Again, American consumers, retailers, and manufacturers have beaten DOE to the regulatory punch. The regulation will achieve less energy savings than DOE could have forecasted because the market has already made a more significant move. And this trend will only continue to 2020 and beyond.

This fact is also true with other concerning speciality incandescent lamps – decorative and tubular lamps, for example – Department of Energy tried to illegally lump in the general service lamp category. Just recently, in its ruling, the Department of Energy has started to acknowledge that the data NEMA shared regarding the sale of these lamps have been declining.

The Exploration and Discovery of NFPA Foundation Regarding Electrical Safety

engineering blog, NFPA Electrical Safety, The Exploration and Discovery of NFPA Foundation Regarding Electrical Safety

The Fire Protection Research Founded by National Fire Protection Association or NFPA currently sponsored an assembly for the Second Draft meetings for the National Electrical Code (NEC) comprised of Electrical Safety Research Advisory Committee (ESRAC). This took place in San Diego, California last October. Represented by Vince Baclawski, NEMA took part in this general Assembly. Baclawski is the senior technical director, together with Jack Lyons the Northeast field representative.

The meeting was started and opened by Casey Grand the director of the The Fire Protection Research Founded by National Fire Protection Association together with Donny Cook the advisory committee chair. The meeting started with the members of the co-making panels and other stakeholders coming from different industries regarding the electrical safety features that should take part in the foundation’s projects concerning about research.

The agenda in this meeting is comprised of the total overview of the organization: its current, completed, and planned or proposed projects. One of which is the discussion about the Power over Ethernet or others call it as (PoE) and several discussions about pools and marinas.

In identifying some future possible concerns, the foundation greatly put emphasis on what is the greatest value or impact that can be done for the electroindustry. With this in mind, the ESRAC functions as the trailblazing committee to make the foundation consider projects such as these.

To increase the number of installations the PoE systems are making caused concerns to arise because of the possible effects of the installations on the building safety. With this in mind, the NEC has successfully addressed some of the cabling structures placed within the buildings by heavily focusing on some of the bundling data cables that helps engineers to make up the overall system.

With this in mind, overheating is a safety and performance issue for the PoE systems. In addition to this, the Article 725 has mentioned the possible concerns regarding the ampacity tables for data/power cables that comes with the new cable designations. There are some key takeaways on this, they are:

Proper identification for the inherently safe installations

Expansion in the usage of life safety systems

Safety of the personnel working in electric industries

Identify the code applications and the necessary licensing requirements

Recent issues about cybersecurity

Together with valuable inputs from the attendees, the meeting identified the top five topics research projects can focus on, such as:

Proper code adoption and regulatory licensing

Equipment grounding conductors

Types of cord-connections installed in the kitchens

Electrical systems installed in some Marinas and Pools, that may need protection from ingress of water, may need NEMA 4x enclosure for splashing water or NEMA 6p enclosures if it needs to be submersion to protect them.

Data gathered about the collection on electrical fires

In a separate meeting, it was said in the discussion that NEMA is enabled to help in the development and sponsorship on webinars about the necessary fundamentals, benefits, and some limitations on the PoE installed systems.

Lamp Index by NEMA Currently Adjusts to the Newly Available A-Line LED Data

The general service (A-line) lamps have a newer take on its look according to the NEMA Lamp Index. When this said lamp was first produced and innovated last 2012 (together with its developments) it was intended to be used to measure the shift in general service (A-line) lamp technology. This came about as a result of the recent implementation of Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA-2007). This served as a guideline for different manufacturers to shy away from the incandescent lamp that consumes a lot more technology. Halogen incandescent lamp consumed 28% than the incandescent counter parts.

During this time, the only innovation and technology considered as general service lamp available in the market was compact fluorescent lamp (CFL). With this in mind, this LED lamp was barely available in the market last 2012 because it was introduced in the market with $60 price point.

However, the market scenario quickly changed. Towards the end of 2015, the traditional incandescent lamps were almost phased out from the market shelves and the manufacturers of lamps almost no longer carry incandescent lamps for shipment because of the regulation EISA-2007. Because of ongoing demand and decreasing supply, LED lamps became affordable for the consumers and sales started picking up for the first time.

In line with this market scenario, Lamp Index showed a reasonable current direction of the A-line shipments since its first development way-back 2012. In the recent two calendar years, the said lamp shipment rates quickly grew and the LED lamp shipments significantly took the majority of the actual share of the LED light shipments. This is because there is a significant volume of orders from non-MEMA-member improts.

Usually, NEMA will be confidently trust on its strength to make use of this difference – as with the recent market changes with halogen and CFL bulbs – according to historical data. However this information about the A-line LED bulbs are not ready because of its drastic changes when it first entered the market.

Last 2017, the United States government took on the initiative of publishing data of A-line LED lamp imports for its domestic consumption in the country. This data was also published with other information that empowered NEMA to measure the shipments for the A-line LED lamps. Together with the consistency of the numbers and what the consumers are currently experiencing with the A-line LED lamps, it can be said that this lamp effectively entered the market efficiently.

Incandescent shipments included a relatively small number of low lumen lamps (15W, 25W) outside of this lumen range because of the way NEMA historically collected incandescent lamp data prior to 2012.

In conclusion, the adjustment of the newly available A-line lamps and the LED data available, made NEMA discontinue the ongoing reporting of incandescent A-line lamps in the lamp index. When NEMA published the first lamp index, originally it was intended to show the data about the shipments of A-line lamps with the lumen rage of 310-2600 lumens. With this data, it can be said that the incandescent shipments that were included showed a relatively small amount of total shipments. The incandescent lamps were classified by having low lumen lamps (15W, 25W) and it is outside of its lumen rage. This is because of the way NEMA collected historical data of incandescent lamps before the year 2012.

4 Effective Ways on Achieving Successful Skid Integration in Batching Operations

4 Effective Ways on Achieving Successful Skid Integration in Batching Operations Part 3, batching operations, engineering blog, integration, skid integration

Four major guidelines for having a successful skid integration when it comes to batching operations 

The integration of the kid equipment in OEM in the overall batch management system will be requiring a clear and specified level of coordination. This coordination should come between the salve and master (DCS or SCADA) systems. The simplistic command set the slave system that does not give the provision for visual representation of the whole system. Once everything is working perfectly fine, a simple command from the master to the slave system is already sufficient to make everything work. However, there is an exemption to this rule. Once the exception condition is bound to happen, it is going to be very hard to determine or troubleshoot without the need to go out to the equipment’s HMI. This is the local human-machine interface to identify the issue. 

With this in mind, this kind of interference can increase the batch cycle time, can lessen the equipment utilization and it can decrease the overall efficiency of the operations. The only solution to this dilemma is to combine a slave OEM system inside the overall master processing system by following these four simple guidelines: 

Distribute the operating modes 

Standard operating states should be followed 

Identify the status feedback definition 

Have communications standardized 

The only thing that can solve this problem is to have tow different pieces of the equipment synchronized by identifying the agreed methodological set of interactions. The flexible batch solution should have an isolation happening between different set of functions. 

1. Distribute the operating modes 

The different operating modes of the remote equipment is a little bit complicated because the boundaries are not well defined. Should an operator implement changes to the local equipment once the controlled variables have been given instructions remotely coming from an overall recipe? Is the recipe will go to the “hold” state when a specified operating status is bound to change? These are the sample few questions that has to be considered when remote systems are to be integrated. The operating philosophy and interface should over rule. This happens between the master and the salve system and should be identified to continually give a uniformed interface between two different systems. 

2. Standard operating states should be followed 

Standard operating states should be followed to enable a mechanism to handle the hardest part of a batch. With this in mind, this is the exception condition. This is identified as a mechanism behavior that exists in the outside of the usual normal or desired behavior of the system process. The critical elements of the batch production includes the handling, processing, and recovering from these types of systematic operations.