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Top 5 Aluminum Enclosures For Scientific, Laboratory Instrumentation

Enclosures For Scientific, Lab Instrumentation

Laboratory instrumentation is almost always highly sensitive: precision accuracy is critical – it is the difference between success and failure. So the enclosures that house these electronic devices must be robust and manufactured to an extremely high quality standard.

The four main threats to laboratory electronics are dust, heat, human error and (ironically) electricity in the form of power surges, faulty wiring, accidental short circuits and electromagnetic interference (RFI/EMI). Laboratory instrumentation must be cleaned regularly to avoid dust build up. And not just the outside. Covers must be removed to ensure the interior is thoroughly clean too – so enclosures must offer rapid and easy access to PCBs, chassis and assemblies.

But sheer toughness, dependability and ease of access are not enough. Those electronic instruments (and their enclosures) must also look the part. Laboratory equipment is cutting edge, manufactured in small quantities and is therefore expensive. So the premium enclosure that houses it must reflect that. It must look good – and stay that way, despite all the daily wear and tear of sustained and repeated use in a challenging laboratory environment.

That makes finely finished metal – notably tough but light aluminum – the obvious choice of material for instrumentation enclosures. Here are five of the very best instrument housings that METCASE has to offer…

TECHNOMET

1. TECHNOMET

METCASE’s Most Advanced Premium Instrumentation Enclosures

METCASE’s flagship and portable instrument enclosures immediately look the part. They are – without any doubt whatsoever – the most advanced and best-looking enclosures that we’ve ever produced. And it didn’t happen by accident.

Take a longer, more detailed look at TECHNOMET and you’ll see that the engineering tolerances are much finer than on other enclosures. That’s because the goal was to create a 21st century aluminum enclosure that looked as good as a molded plastic housing. Not an easy task when you’re dealing with fabricated aluminum sheet, rather than a free-flowing easy-to-mold thermoplastic.

But years of R&D paid off; the proof is the big demand for TECHNOMET’S bar-raising quality. There are no visible fixing screws (that’s a given) but beyond that is an enclosure with a modern cohesive design that utterly shreds the rule book.

This is an enclosure that offers you the choice of mounting your PCBs on pillars or sliding them in on snap-in PCB guides in three, five, seven or nine positions. That alone is a neat trick – most desktop enclosures offer you the choice of one method or the other (never the twain shall meet). And the rear panel is removable for easy access.

That’s not all though. TECHNOMET has both front and rear bezels for enhanced rigidity, quality and aesthetics. But not just any bezels. Unlike most enclosures’ bezels, these can be offered in custom lengths, widths and heights. That makes it easy and more cost-effective to manufacture bespoke sizes…or to add more standard sizes in years to come.

There are 11 standard sizes (8.85" x 7.87" x 2.95" to 13.77" x 12.59" x 5.90"). Eight of them offer the option of an indexable bail arm that doubles as a desk stand – it can be adjusted to create the perfect angle for viewing and operation. Two other sizes have ABS grab handles on the sides. One size (10.82" x 9.84" x 5.90") offers the choice of either. And three sizes can be specified with a sloping front bezel as standard.

View TECHNOMET range >>

COMBIMET 19"

2. COMBIMET 19"

METCASE’s Most Versatile (And Also Most Cost-Effective) 19” Rack Cases

If TECHNOMET has advanced bezels, then COMBIMET – our most popular 19” rack case model – revels in having none at all. That’s one of the big secrets to its success. Like TECHNOMET, it can be offered in custom lengths, widths and depths (and a large range of standard sizes). But the absence of diecast bezels makes it much more cost-effective.

So our leading rack case in terms of versatility and choice of standard options is also our most affordable – all thanks to smart design and efficient manufacturing processes. It’s a great trick if you can pull it off. So we did. And the response has been incredible. COMBIMET has been our bestselling 19” rack case pretty much from the day it was launched.

Choose from six standard heights (1U to 6U), three standard depths (including ‘super-deep’ 24”/609.6 mm for server racks) – or ask us about custom sizes. Every case has removable top, base and rear panels for easy access. COMBIMET can be specified with any combination of vented or unvented top or base panels. Or you could opt for the open-top version for maximum ventilation.

View COMBIMET 19" range >>

TECHNOMET 19"

3. TECHNOMET 19”

Advanced tabletop Rack Enclosures (And 10.5” Instrument Enclosures)

All the fine-tolerance design and precision-manufacturing quality of TECHNOMET – but as a 19” rack mount enclosure. This is a tabletop rack capable of housing – as standard – between 3U and 6U of COMBIMET (or any other) 19” rack cases or subracks (84HP).

And just like TECHNOMET and COMBIMET, these tabletop racks are easy to manufacture in custom sizes too. So much so that we’ve just added a 10.5” version to the standard range. (Remember how we said just now that simpler customisation leads to more standard sizes? This is proof.)

These half-width instrument enclosures are perfect for 42HP subracks, chassis or front panels. Choose from two heights – 3U or 4U – both of which can be specified either with or without an indexable bail arm for easy portability and convenient operation.

View TECHNOMET 19" range >>

UNIMET

4. UNIMET

Modern Desktop And Portable Instrument Enclosures

After 26 years, UNIMET remains one of our most popular enclosures for scientific instrumentation. This tried-and-trusted design is a METCASE classic. Its popularity is rooted in smart design, dependable quality and elegant simplicity.

All six sizes offer swift access to the electronics because they’re so very easy to open up – the base and rear panel are removable. Want complete access? Just unscrew the front plate and bezel, the recessed rear panel and the U-shaped clamshell top – it’s that easy. And the front fixing screws are hidden behind trims so you get the best of both worlds: ready access without having to stare at screwheads all day.

View UNIMET range >>

UNIMET-PLUS

5. UNIMET-PLUS

Enclosures With PCB Guide Rails For Quicker Installations

UNIMET-PLUS offers all the benefits of UNIMET but with two key improvements:

  • PCBs slide in and out on four snap-in polyamide guide rails – speeding up installations and maintenance
  • there are bezels at the front and rear – making the enclosures even more robust and attractive.

Again, UNIMET-PLUS is available in six sizes, with/without the indexable bail arm. But the sizes are ever-so-slightly different. Each UNIMET-PLUS is 3 mm deeper than its UNIMET equivalent (but the widths and heights are the same).

Exciting news! UNIMET and UMIMET PLUS are both getting a design upgrade in November 2021. It’s a very subtle tweak but it’s one that’ll have a big impact. And it’ll make these enclosures even more popular. So watch this space…

View UNIMET-PLUS range >>

Further Reading

Find Out More, Contact METCASE, Get A Quote

Contact METCASE for expert advice on the best desktop/portable enclosures for your scientific and laboratory instrumentation.