Requirements and technologies are not only changing rapidly in the development of machines and robots. A key component of devices of all kinds in this technologically demanding and innovative decade must adapt with these changes - the casing. In the following article you can read how housing technology is preparing for the future over the course of time and which innovations are already available on the market.
What is housing technology?
Housings for devices and machines represent the outer shell. However, due to their decisive functions, they are much more than that. In housing technology, the overall system of the machine is considered from the start and the cladding is designed based on this. Every step is meticulously planned and thought through here: from the first design to the optimal production sequence, simple maintenance and simple assembly of the housing. Housing technology is particularly relevant in the following areas:
- PC case (gaming)
One of the most striking things about gaming PCs is the computer case. It doesn't matter where the computer is placed - the housing largely determines the external appearance. Even if the case is rather inconspicuous, it still contains important functionalities. If you want a high-end gaming PC, you have to take special care of the cooling in the case. There are different opinions, especially when it comes to the material, which is the best for the PC case. In the meantime, transparent housing (tempered glass), in which the entire inner workings of the processor remain visible, or RGB LED lighting are among the must-haves. If particular importance is attached to the volume of the computer, a special silent housing with pre-installed insulation can be used.
- Mechanical and plant engineering
Machine covers should not only meet the aesthetic requirements. The functions of the devices and systems should be translated into it so that the users can ultimately operate them easily. On top of that, it is important that technologies are used in order to be able to optimally process the metal or plastic. In addition, connection techniques such as welding ensure that the parts can be assembled with a perfect fit. Precise cuts and clean surfaces are essential. For multifunctional applications in mechanical and plant engineering, housings are characterized by their resistance to the harsh environmental conditions in industrial production and the associated robustness and resistance to impact and impact. Also the current trends in the industry must not be overlooked. These also have an impact on the housing technology in order to permanently meet the new conditions and functions of machines, especially Industry 4.0.
In industry, there are almost no limits to the type of machine for which a housing is manufactured: from grinding machines to a wide variety of test devices and control cabinets, to test stations for vehicle maintenance (keyword: §57a test), command stations, laser panels in the Medical technology and even ticket machines in the railway industry - the benefits and necessity of device covers can be seen in many areas.
How is a machine housing made?
In the industrial sector, housing construction is a particularly complex process. This already begins in the concept phase with a rough timetable. Here it is important that the industrial design and the engineering are coordinated. In this way, the housing technology even helps the system or device manufacturer with his product development in order to ultimately bring the best product to the market. For example, fundamental considerations such as where doors or windows need to be located or where cable management needs to be placed must also be taken into account when designing the enclosure. The industrial design should ideally be an eye-catcher and be reflected in the company's CI.
In the construction phase, the machine cladding is actually developed on the basis of the concept. Depending on the requirements, the right material for the housing is also selected at this stage - be it metal, glass or various plastics. Then it's on to production. Here, high-precision systems are used for accurate cutting. In addition, systems are needed for edging, for the right connection technology and for welding the individual parts until a finished housing can be produced at the end. Final assembly must be considered as early as the manufacturing process. It is particularly important to consider the transport to the end customer and not to manufacture the housing from too many individual parts so that the final assembly of the cladding can be as uncomplicated as possible.
Two examples of innovative housing technology
The construction industry needs mobile power storage
Nothing works on construction sites without electricity. Power is needed to ensure that the infrastructure, but also construction machines and tools, work. It is not only important that the power supply is powerful. It also has to be compact and mobile, because there is often no space for large units on inner-city construction sites or in tunnel construction. They also wanted to create an alternative to the diesel engine. In order to meet these requirements and also to be able to proceed in a way that conserves resources, mobile power storage devices are the right solution. During development, the combination of requirements mentioned not only challenged the manufacturer, but also the housing developers. A safe housing solution was needed that defies wind and weather, supports cooling and ventilation of the batteries and is still handy. Finally, a mobile, electrical power storage device was developed that can be maneuvered quickly and safely with a crane or forklift.
Portable tabletop devices for disinfection with UV-C radiation
Disinfection with electromagnetic radiation? Yes, that really works. And has been used in stationary production systems in the food and pharmaceutical industries for decades. Dangerous pathogens such as influenza or corona viruses do not survive UV-C light and are killed in this way. Now for that too created a mobile solution. The portable table-top devices for disinfection are used in the pharmaceutical, food and industrial sectors. They not only help in the fight against Covid-19, but also against all other pathogens such as germs, fungi and viruses. At opticians, for example, the devices are used to disinfect customer glasses.