Ink used for customizing plastic enclosures can be compared
to the charmingly rustic wedding I just went to recently. With this in mind, I
wonder how the characteristics of the newly weds (bride and groom) can be used
as an example to describe the characteristics of ink used in printing on
electronics enclosure. What are the characteristics that are needed to be
We have already looked at some of the potential issues that
can potentially damage the branding of the product. While there are some of the
issues that were not as big basing on the end use, it still begs to differ:
what are the cost of this to be worth the time and effort?
I guess your initial answer is “No”. And you are just right.
The correct answer is to use a permanent ink that is just light-and weather
resistant. With this, we have already discussed the possible damages that can
be caused by light and what its effect on the graphics. You want an ink that
can give you a good chemical and alcohol resistance to.
With this in mind, you do not want to think about someone
being intentional on damaging the project. However, these types of situations
do happen. The branding on the product is just part of the advertising.
Somebody with a cotton boll and a vengeance should not be able to destroy the
Let us take a look at another example:
If you are out in the field after installing the products in
the customers’ homes, under a steamy summer day with humidity levels reaching
90F, it is inevitable that your body temperature will also rise. You are
already hot and you wipe your brow with your fingers. The next thing you will
do is to pick up the next product that you would like to be installed. If you
had used the electronic enclosure ink after the perspiration – and
oil/grease-resistant ink, you have nothing to worry about.
Once the ink used to print on the plastic enclosure does not
have these properities, there is a tendency that there will be parts of the
printing that can be discolored when touched. The worse case scenario is if you
remove the parts (of all) of the lettering, logo, or design printing from the
enclosure, it will leave a less-than-perfect finish.
Protecting the enclosure from its end use is just as
important as other parts of the design. The design engineer should be sure
about using the right materials in order to meet the demands of the customers.
What ink characteristics do you look for other materials in the enclosure?
Not only metal sheets are utilized in creating electronic
enclosure, also plastic. With this in mind, materials react differently to
certain temperature especially plastic. The ABS plastic’s melting point is
estimated to be 176 degrees F (80 degrees C). This can only mean one thing for
design engineers. Plastic enclosure made from this material cannot have
prolonged exposure to 176 degrees because it will begin to lose it shape. Once
the ABS is exposed to very hot temperatures, the enclosure will begin to soften
and eventually lose it shape. If the company left it in a place where the high
temperature exists, it will eventually have a baked enclosure.
Also, once the enclosure is exposed to this kind of
temperature and there is something on top of it, it can also cause the
enclosure to collapse very easily. Not in an instant but it will hasten the
collapsing process. The enclosure will eventually settle into La Brea Tar Pits.
If the enclosure is utilized in a project test, it will result to a failed one.
Luckily for the design engineer, he or she can choose a more
appropriate material for enclosures that can withstand the high temperature and
can retain their structure even if exposed to high heat. These materials can be
found inside the interiors of a vehicle, or in processing plants where the
temperature is high. With this in mind, we recommend using the enclosures that
are formed from Nylon or Noryl. These plastic can maintain their form even if
exposed in high temperature environments. Comparing to ABS, Noryl is durable in
terms of temperature. You can approach the enclosure manufacturing company if
this material is available for your company. For sure, if the material is
available they will help you in terms of design.
There is also another option for plastic material, this is
called polycarbonate. This is a waterproof materials and can be used for
outdoor applications. This is considered to be flame-retardant. Meaning the
material maintains the integrity or shape of the enclosure and it can prevent
melting even if exposed to higher temperatures.
high-temperature materials are more expensive than its counterparts because the
capability and the property of these materials are increased. Make sure to
first determine where the enclosure will be used so that the design engineer
can effectively tell what material should be used in certain type of
application. If the company will use the enclosure in low-heat environments,
then an ABS option is best suited for this.