Enclosures, Cabling & Connectors

Embedded systems intelligently packaged

September 2017 Enclosures, Cabling & Connectors

Technological trends, ranging from smart homes to Industrie 4.0, are resulting in increased requirements for electronic devices. Practical solutions often require highly specific housing designs. The new UCS universal housing system concept makes it easier for device manufacturers to a find suitable housing for their embedded system.

Electronics are also becoming increasingly networked as a result of trends such as the IoT, LTE (the 4th generation of mobile communications technology) and smart homes. The devices used in these applications are increasingly based on embedded systems. At the same time, new applications are bringing forth a variety of new electronic modules. It is often difficult to find a suitable housing for these devices. Thanks to their flexible PCB mounting system, the new UCS generation of housings helps device manufacturers implement their applications quickly and easily.

For any form factor

The sensitive electronics in many standardised and non-standardised PCBs must have a suitable housing for effective protection against environmental influences. With respect to networking, standardised electronic components offer multiple advantages as they have already proven their effectiveness in industrial applications and are available at competitive prices. These advantages help device manufacturers to develop devices faster and lower development costs.

Manufacturers have an incredible variety of housing solutions to choose from in today’s market. Housings are often made for a specific solution or headers are tailored to application-specific requirements at a high cost. Different housings are usually required if the electronics are used in different applications. This is a disadvantage for device manufacturers who purchase their housings from different suppliers.

Modular structure

The UCS concept (universal case system) makes it easier for device manufacturers to find the right solution for their electronics. UCS housings are modular. They consist of two identical half shells. The removable side panels are guided through the colour-contrasted corner inserts and supported in the half shells. The housing is screwed together using thin-shaft captive screws with a combined slotted Torx head, eliminating the risk of loss once they are screwed into a half shell.

A different housing height can even be implemented without increasing the surface area. The side panels and screws are simply replaced with a taller version and tailored to the new requirement. The corner inserts and half shells are retained. The side panels can also be used in different sizes of housing. The system is designed so that the larger of two different-sized side panels can be used as the small side panel in the next larger housing version.

The advantage of this is that the side panel designed for the corresponding interfaces can be used in two sizes of housing. The additional space can then be used for extensions. The removable side panels also allow the interfaces to be positioned on more than one side.

Flexible PCB mounting

The UCS offers different options for mounting PCBs, which can be mounted directly to the corner insert using the built-in screw boss to utilise the maximum component space when designing custom circuits. The corner inserts can also be used without the built-in screw boss to increase flexibility when standardised PCBs with and without custom extensions are used. In this case, special screw bosses, which are bonded to the specified location, can be used. This combination of mounting systems allows for custom designs. Even installing two PCBs is not a problem, since the entire surface space can be used in each half shell of the housing. The sole limitation in this case is the installation height of the printed circuit boards.

Faster configuration online

More and more device manufacturers value the ability to procure their housings quickly and through convenient channels. The online configurator is a valuable tool that helps manufacturers find the right housing in just a few steps. Configuration is easiest for standardised PCBs because only the form factor must be selected. Alternatively, the configurator can show other variants that can be used for integrating electronic components. Almost any PCB can be mounted in the UCS, and the configurator assists here too.

UCS adapts to the environment

Thanks to a range of adaptors that allow for flat, upright or wall-mounting, almost every type of application is possible. Housings can also be easily installed on the DIN-rail in control cabinets. Here too, add-on modules are available in the configurator for this purpose. Components are available in different colours so that housings can be individually styled. Multi-collared elements can be used to create special visual effects in the housing design. Customers can also request custom colours to meet their specific needs or match their corporate design.

For more information contact Sean Hadley, Phoenix Contact, +27 (0)11 801 8200, seanh@phoenixcontact.co.za, www.phoenixcontact.co.za


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