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Compare Plastic Enclosures For Desktop Electronics

OKW sloping front desktop enclosures

Which Sloping-Front Enclosure For My Desktop Device?

Offering you a large range of standard enclosures makes customization easier and more cost-effective. The closer our off-the-shelf housing is to your ideal design, the less machining it’ll need. But the ethos behind growing our range goes deeper than that…

Different models address subtle differences in application requirements. So much so that you’ll find elements of ‘overlap’ in the various designs – offering you a much wider choice. Even with highly specific requirements, you may discover that three or four different enclosure models could be contenders for your perfect housing.

Sloping-front enclosures for desktops are a prime example of this. There are four different models that could suit your requirements: EVOTEC, PROTEC, COMTEC and UNITEC. But which is right for your application? This comparison guide will help you to find out…

What’s It For? Electronics Applications For Each Model

EVOTEC desktop plastic enclosures

EVOTEC

EVOTEC is a modern design with ergonomic soft contours. We’ve just expanded the range by offering a new size of version III (sloping front, recessed top, 15.90" x 3.66" x 1.41"). It’s the latest in a series of new sizes for EVOTEC since we launched the range in April 2017. EVOTEC is a popular choice for a broad spectrum of table-top and wall-mount electronics. Applications include measurement and control, medical and laboratory technology, IT, IoT/IIoT and gateways.

PROTEC sloping front electronics enclosures

PROTEC

PROTEC is an even newer model: it was launched in September 2019. These smart wedge-shaped enclosures are available in three square plan sizes (plus one rectangular plan size). Three versions offer the choice of:

  • a large rear recess for connectors
  • a covered rear recess
  • an extended recess cover that doubles as a desk stand.

Applications include surveillance systems, access and security control, data acquisition, data systems engineering, building services, central control units, IoT/IIoT, Smart Factory, Industry 4.0, gateways, medical technology, measuring and control.

COMTEC slopiing front desktop enclosures

COMTEC

COMTEC is a tried-and-tested model that combines a sharp-looking edgy design with rounded bevels that make it comfortable to use. These popular enclosures can be specified with (or without) a battery compartment that offers a choice of cell options (4 x AA, 1 x 9V, 2 x 9V).

Applications include data collection, communications, access control/security, medical/laboratory technology, point-of-sale systems, industrial regulation, measuring and control.

UNITEC desktop plastic enclosures

UNITEC

UNITEC is the most specialised of the four models listed here: it has two operating faces so it can be used by two people sitting on either side of a desk (such as a vendor and customer). But that singularity of purpose does not preclude it from performing other roles with aplomb. You’ll find UNITEC a great choice for a wide variety of roles. Applications include point-of-sale devices, data acquisition systems, access and information terminals, building systems, data systems engineering, communications, analysis/diagnostics and therapy, industrial regulation, measuring and control.

How Tough Is Each Desktop Enclosure?

It goes without saying that all four models are robust and more than capable of coping with the demanding hard knocks that the average desktop environment can mete out. But two of the models stand out for their added resilience.

EVOTEC and PROTEC are both molded from ASA+PC-FR as standard, rather than ABS which is used for COMTEC and UNITEC. ABS is a good all-round plastic (hence its popularity) but ASA+PC-FR is an ASA/polycarbonate blend that offers three key benefits:

  • high resilience – polycarbonate is used in CDs, riot shields, eyewear, and machinery guards
  • good UV stability – ASA+PC-FR will withstand the withering effect of the Sun’s rays when other plastics become fragile and snap (an important consideration even when the enclosure is used indoors)
  • higher flammability rating – UL 94 V-0 instead of the UL 94 HB of ABS (find out more here about flammability ratings).

Would you prefer UNITEC or COMTEC in a tougher and higher-rated plastic than ABS? We can mold both from ASA+PC-FR (or other plastics) as a custom order if you wish.

However, it’s important to note that both EVOTEC and PROTEC offer better ingress protection. They can be specified with an optional IP 65 seal, while COMTEC and UNITEC are restricted to IP 40. Read our guide to IP ratings for more information about the different degrees of protection from water and dust.

Tamperproof Torx assembly screws are standard on EVOTEC and PROTEC. This benefit – combined with their ASA+PC-FR material – makes them particularly suitable for medical devices. The other two enclosures can be specified with Torx assembly screws as a custom option.

Enclosures power supply options

How Will I Power My Electronics Device?

EVOTEC and PROTEC are designed primarily for wired electronics. PROTEC is the one to specify if you need a deep recess to protect or conceal the connectors. Neither EVOTEC nor PROTEC is available with a battery compartment as a standard option.

Yes, induction charging is theoretically possible but these are not really the best enclosures for that role. That’s better suited to something smaller and more mobile (even the smallest size of EVOTEC is 5.90" x 3.66" x 1.41"). Need the portability that a battery-powered device offers? Choose COMTEC or UNITEC. Both offer a choice of battery configuration options as standard:

  • COMTEC – screw-in battery cradles (4 x AA, 1 x 9 V or 2 x 9 V cells) should be ordered separately for version II cases
  • UNITEC – versions are available with battery compartments for 3 x AA or 5 x AA cells.

How Much Does The Front Slope On Each Enclosure?

A sloping front makes the enclosure’s display and controls easier to see and operate – and the angle of inclination will matter to end-users. Collectively, these models offer you a choice: COMTEC’s top has the smallest angle of inclination at just 10°, followed by EVOTEC at 12°.

UNITEC and PROTEC are both bulkier enclosures so each has a slope angle that is significantly more pronounced. For PROTEC it is 20°, while for UNITEC it is two degrees less at 18° (and the smaller operating face slopes at 72°).

All four models feature a top that offers a wide recess as standard. Each enclosure’s recess is large enough to accommodate a touchscreen, a membrane keypad or other operating elements. UNITEC’s recess is particular large – it wraps around both operating faces. EVOTEC is the only one of the four to also be available without a recess as standard (giving you the choice).

Optional wall mounting

Can I Wall-Mount These Enclosures?

Sloping-front desktop enclosures double well as wall mounted housings. The inclined top presents the keypad at a more comfortable viewing and operating angle (just as it does when each enclosure is on a desk). But there’s a little more to it than that.

If you’re going to wall-mount a desktop enclosure then it makes sense to specify a model that offers a wall-mounting element as an accessory (as all four of these housings do):

  • EVOTEC uses a universal wall suspension element suitable for any small plastic enclosure with a flat base. Four screws attach a plastic adapter to the bottom of the enclosure, enabling the enclosure to be clipped into place on the plastic wall holder quickly and easily. Two screws secure the adapter and holder for added security.
  • COMTEC also has a two-part plastic wall suspension element that enables the enclosure to be quickly latched or unlatched.
  • UNITEC also offers a smart and elegantly simple two-piece plastic wall suspension element.
  • PROTEC uses a simple aluminum wall suspension element supplied with two screws. This system provides secure, flush mounting with no visible fixing screws.
Enclosures color options

What Are The Standard And Custom Color Options?

All four enclosures are molded in off-white (RAL 9002) as standard. COMTEC is the only one of the four to offer a second standard color, black (RAL 9005). All four are available in custom colors. There are three ways to specify a bespoke color for your enclosures:

  • lacquering – available in different lustres, metallic colors, various textures (such as soft-touch faux leather), antibacterial paint and ESD conductive lacquer
  • decor foils – photo-quality graphics that offer the possibility of graduated tints, consecutive numbering, codes and technical specifications
  • specifying a pre-colored plastic at the moulding stage.

Other customisation options include CNC machining, printing of logos and legends, laser marking, RFI/EMI shielding and installation/assembly of accessories. Find out more here about how to specify customized enclosures for your electronics.

Further Reading

Get Expert Technical Advice

OKW is a specialist enclosure manufacturer with 70+ years of experience in innovation. Contact us for expert advice on the best enclosures for your electronics.

And don’t forget to request a free sample.

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