Envision Plastics Expert Announces Part Twelve in the Series: How to Design Plastic Enclosures Using NMR Technology

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NMR Technology (No Molds Required) is a technology Envision Plastics and Design uses to manufacture custom plastic electronic enclosures with no tooling or molds. Since it’s a unique plastic fabrication process, some forethought goes into the design criteria to make an economical plastic enclosure.

With digital printing, nearly any pattern or artwork file can be transposed onto the plastic surface.

In previous submissions in this series on NMR Technology and plastic electronic enclosures, the focus was placed upon mechanical topics like plastic materials, component assembly, design structure of plastic housings, and electronic mounting features. In this installment, the focus will be on cosmetic features.

There are several ways to cosmetically enhance NMR produced plastic electronic enclosures. The “old fashioned way” was either use of labels or silkscreen. With labels, an operation is added to create a shallow recess in the surface material for the label to be applied within. This way, the corners of the label will not catch and the label with have more “integrity”. With silkscreen, ink is applied through the decades old method of Mylar screens. While the outcome on smooth surfaces (such as metal or non-textured surfaces) is adequate, it can be challenging at times due to cost (each color is a separate screen and thus a separate ink application) and with getting ink into ‘pits’ of textured material. The NEW alternative to this is digital printing.

With digital printing, nearly any pattern or artwork file can be transposed onto the plastic surface. The ink used is instantly UV cured and has much more durability than silkscreen ink. Furthermore, it gets into the pits of the textured materials very well for a very clean appearance –much clearer than with silkscreen.

The last method of non-mechanical cosmetic enhancements is painting. Parts may be wet sprayed to an endless array of colors. This can be a nice option when a custom extrusion of colored material is not economical.

As mentioned before in this series, each project has its own requirements which make these options come into play differently. Contact an Envision representative to discuss your application more in depth to see if these options are viable solutions for your plastic enclosure project.

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Brian DuFresne
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