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Author Archives: A & J Manufacturing

  1. What are EIA Standards? And Where Do They Come From?

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    A 19-inch rack is a standardized frame or enclosure for mounting electronic equipment modules. Common uses for these racks / enclosures include datacom, telecommunication, audiovisual production equipment, scientific equipment, and networking hardware. The weird thing: almost nothing on a 19″ rack measures 19 inches. The term comes from the width of the front panel of the boxes that are installed in the rack. Other common rack hole-to-hole spacing includes 23″ (566.7 mm) and 24″ racks (592.1 mm).

    EIA stands for the Electronic Industries Alliance. It was a group of trade associations for electronic manufacturers in the United States. The current iteration or standard is EIA-310-D. Note: these standards are not enforced by any governing bodies, therefore compliance isn’t enforced.

    The document outlines specific guidelines for several components:

    • Rack Units (U) – hole spacing for standard racks on the mounting flange is spaced in groups of three holes. This three-hole group is defined as a Rack Unit (U). 1U is 1.75″ (44.45 mm) of vertical space
    • vertical hole spacing – repeating pattern of holes within one Rack Unit of 1.75″ (44.45 mm). Whole spacing alternates at 1/2″ – 5/8″ – 5/8″ and then repeats. “U” space starts and stops in the middle of the 1/2″ holes
    • horizontal hole spacing – specified at 18 5/16″ (465.1 mm), but this dimension is not universal so most manufacturers will use equipment mounting slots to allow for variations
    • rack opening – specified at a minimum of 17 3/4″ (450 mm)
    • front panel width – 19″ (482.6 mm), but the physical width of the rack itself can vary significantly

    A&J’s standard equipment specifications for our three standard racks can be found on our website.

    What the EIA-310 Standard Doesn’t Include

    Despite having a document defining standardized 19″ racks, there are still several details left out.

    • Are the rack-mounting holes threaded, square or round?
    • How many posts does the rack have? (2, 4 or even 6) Are there any obstructions between these posts?
    • How deep is the racks mounting depth?
    • What is the thread type?
    • How much space is between the front or rear door and the front or rear post?

    A Brief History

    The term relay rack first appears in the world of telephony, but was also being used in railroad signaling by 1911. However, there is little evidence that these early racks had any standardization.

    A 19″ rack format with 1.75″ or 1U was established as a standard by AT&T around 1922 in order to reduce the space required for repeater and termination equipment in a telephone company’s central office. Their engineering department created a family of modular panels “designed to mount on vertical supports spaced 19.5 inches between centers. The height of the different panels will vary, but in all cases to be a whole multiple of 1.75 inches.”

    By 1934, it was an established standard with holes tapped for 12-24 screws with alternating spacings of 1.25″ and 0.5″. The standard was again revised in 1992 to comply with the 1988 public law 100-418, setting the standard U as 1.75″ (44.45 mm). The 19-inch format has more or less remained constant since despite the fact that the technology mounted within has changed considerably.

  2. Questions to Ask your Electronic Enclosure Manufacturer

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    Choosing a manufacturer to build your COTS or custom electronic equipment enclosure is a big decision. With money and so many important factors at play, it requires careful consideration. Before committing, there are several questions you should ask to get a better idea of what they do and the level of quality they offer in both service and product.

    What is your experience with similar projects?

    Look for a history of satisfied customers in your industry. Each industry has different regulations, requirements and considerations, so your electronic enclosure manufacturer should understand your unique conditions — and how to design an enclosure that will protect your sensitive electronic equipment components.

    Will my enclosure be manufactured in-house?

    When the majority of the manufacturing process is completed in-house, design and production teams can work in tandem to ensure that specifications and deadlines are met. Other benefits include: quality control, reduced manufacturing time and controlled costs. Plus, having direct access to both teams becomes an advantage if they need to accommodate any changes or modifications.

    How do you accommodate special requests?

    One of the primary factors driving your selection process should be choosing a manufacturer that can resolve your challenges and provide a solution. At A&J Manufacturing, we can custom design and fabricate enclosures within our state-of the-art facility in California. Our team works closely with each customer to produce the exact enclosure your application requires with our knowledgeable and experienced design engineers.

    Make sure you’ve done your homework to properly identify the type of environment in which the enclosure will be used and any requirements that affect the materials, equipment or components involved:

    • Need for UV resistance
    • Plant or factory conditions
    • Temperature extremes
    • Presence of any electromagnetic interference
    • Required size and available space
    • Ease of accessibility
    • Mounting requirements
    • Thermal management for components

    You should also be aware of their process controls and how they handle design deviations or problems. Remember to examine how they manage their communication and inspection / progress reports.

    What certifications do you carry?

    Quality is essential! Does your manufacturer have the appropriate certifications required? Each industry has different certification requirements such as AS9100D or RoHS compliance. It’s prudent to discuss ALL requirements in advance.

    Some applications will have particular performance standards that the enclosure must meet too, such as NEMA and UL. These standards are met during testing when an inspector determines if any dust, moisture or other damaging elements have entered the enclosure.

    You should know if they keep their certifications up to date and have training programs to keep staff certified in their skills.

    What are your facilities and equipment like, and what kind of company culture do you promote?

    Manufacturing is a versatile field that keeps on advancing with technological changes. Ensure that your ideal partner is well informed and knowns how to use modern manufacturing technology and equipment. It would be hard to build your product if the equipment used is outdated. If you’re interested in A&J’s production equipment and would like to “visit” our facilities, check out our Factory Tour video on YouTube.

    Lastly, find out what kind of company culture they promote. Do they have the same business values you do? At A&J, its about strong communication, allowing flexibility in our employee’s day-to-day schedule, creating accountability and making sure that our people feel like they matter.

  3. Understanding the Components of an Electronic Enclosure

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    Today, virtually all businesses rely heavily on technology to satisfy their customers, regardless of size. And with these technological advances, we’re starting to place electrical equipment in a variety of nontraditional environments. To ensure proper protection of electrical components, choosing the right electrical enclosure for the application at hand is critical. But first, let’s break down the basic components of an electronic rack.

    The Structure of an Electronic Enclosure

    Generally tall and rectangular in shape, an enclosure is typically made up of a two- or four-post rack mainframe and mounting rails. Depending on the design, some enclosures have rear and/or front doors, side panels, top panels and bases. Enclosures are highly customizable and various components or areas of the rack can be modified to fit a customer’s needs or environment. If you’ve never seen one outside of a data center or other industrial function, they could easily be mistaken for an extra large filing cabinet.

    The terms cabinet and rack are often used interchangeably; however, that would be incorrect. As described above, racks are simply the frame inside a cabinet that is used for mounting all of the electronic equipment. Cabinets enclose a rack and include all of the necessary connections for electrical power, cooling fans for thermal management, and EMI / RFI shielding capabilities. Cabinets themselves come in a wide variety of sizes and colors.

    Again, because the two terms are often used conversely, there’s often confusion about how to measure dimensions properly. Cabinets are traditionally measured by their external dimensions while racks are measured from the most-forward portion of the front rail to the rear-most point of the rear rail. We typically recommend at least 6 inches between components and the rear cabinet door to accommodate cable management, airflow and necessary service access to components.

    Rack widths are specified by EIA 310D standards and include 19″, 23″, 24″ and 30″ inches. With racks you also need to be mindful of your vertical spacing for all equipment that you plan to mount in your enclosure. EIA 310D-compliant define one rack unit (RU) as 1.75 inches with three mounting holes spaced at 5/8, 5/8 and 1/2 an inch apart.

    Equipment Found in a Rack

    The design of a rack is rather basic, but the vital equipment inside can process or store an immense amount of information. And military systems specifically often represent extreme environments for COTS electronic equipment. Typically, equipment found in racks support IT or datacomm equipment such as: servers, network switches, GPS and navigation systems and telecommunication routers/hardware. However, there are several industrial applications for cabinets and enclosures too: large-scale battery storage, test system components, and manufacturing or plant floor enclosures.

    Equipment layout, whether isolation is required and how the electronics are mounted/”housed”, can vary widely. Racks also accommodate all the accessories that support the equipment itself like PDUs, cable management, patch panels, shelves and drawers, and thermal management systems.

    When you’re able to demystify the necessary components and even the basic structure of an electronic enclosure rack, you can more easily identify the features you need. For more information on the products we offer, please contact A&J Manufacturing today or browse our Frequently Asked Questions.

  4. Metal vs. Plastic Electronic Enclosures

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    Metal and plastic are the two main categories of materials for electronic component enclosures. The better material depends on the intended application of the electronics. Whichever enclosure material you choose, safety should be the topmost consideration. The material and design of the enclosure should also be able to withstand the environmental conditions in which they will be used.

    Here we’ll outline the main differences between industrial-grade plastic and metal electronic enclosures.

    Pros and Cons of Metal Electronic Enclosures

    Aluminum is the most common metal used to fabricate electronic enclosures. Since aluminum is nonmagnetic, it is an excellent choice for applications that require electromagnetic and radio frequency blocking. These metal enclosures enable good electrical conductivity and independent circuitry. They are also a good option in moist environments due to their corrosion resistance.

    Here are other important benefits of using aluminum electronic enclosures:

    metal vs. plastic electronic enclosures
    • Rugged: withstands impacts and tension
    • Lightweight compared to steel
    • UV resistance without material additives
    • Easy to coat or paint with additional finishes
    • Maintains shape
    • High temperature resistance
    • Flame resistance
    • High scrap value

    On the other hand, if your application is temperature-sensitive, requires a lighter enclosure, or operates with a lower budget, metal enclosures may not be the best choice. Metal enclosures conduct heat, so they can be dangerous to touch. They also tend to be heavier and more expensive than plastic enclosures, but if these are not major concerns, metal enclosures are still preferable.

    Pros and Cons of Plastic Electronic Enclosures

    Plastic enclosures are constructed from electrically insulated polycarbonate, PVC, acrylics, ABS, or HIPS. Unlike aluminum enclosures, plastic enclosures allow radio and electromagnetic waves to pass through, so they are ideal for electronics that send and receive signals. Most plastic enclosures are used in indoor settings, but some polycarbonate enclosures can be designed for use outside, where they can resist harsh weather conditions. 

    The following are some other pros of using plastic enclosures:

    • Lightweight
    • Nonconductive
    • Cost-effective
    • Non reactive
    • Non corrosive
    • Can be made transparent or painted as needed
    • Easy and quick to install
    • No sharp edges or corners that need to be machined

    Drawbacks to plastic enclosures include limited chemical resistance and less strength relative to metal enclosures. Heavy-duty applications should not utilize plastic enclosures, as they won’t stand up to sustained tension or high temperatures. They often require additional coatings, which can add to the overall cost of the enclosure. Plastic enclosures are also less resistant to vandalism and cannot be recycled as readily as metal enclosures.

    Why Choose Metal Electronic Enclosures?

    Aluminum electronic enclosures are superior in durability and strength under extreme conditions. The material can resist rust, flame, and UV. Aluminum is a naturally conductive metal that is excellent at shielding against electromagnetic waves and radio frequency interference. Thus, aluminum enclosures are perfect for projects involving independent circuitry and minimal interference. 

    Metal enclosures are also easy to paint and retain their shape over time. Typical finishes include natural aluminum, black anodized, or powder coating. Diecast metal enclosures eliminate concerns about possible seams or folds.

    Aluminum Electronic Enclosures from A&J Manufacturing

    The right enclosure will depend upon your application and budget. You should also consider the quantity needed and the environment for use.

    Electronic enclosures are a crucial part of important electronic systems. A&J Manufacturing is a leading manufacturer of standard and custom aluminum electronic enclosures. Contact us to see how we can help with your electronics project.

  5. Uses and Applications for Aluminum Extrusions

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    Using extruded aluminum to manufacture your electronic enclosures allows for elegant, low maintenance designs with increased design innovation possibilities AND the added benefit of green credentials. They have many uses and applications in the electronics, automotive, mass transit, aerospace, telecommunications, solar/renewable energy industries, and more.

    Extruded aluminum gets its strength from the addition of alloying elements. The most commonly used are silicon, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese and chromium. We stock Aluminum 6061-T6 and alloy 6063-T5 for the extrusion material which are alloyed with silicon and magnesium. The result is a corrosion-resistant, lightweight material that is available in medium to high-strength forms.

    Impact of the Extrusion Process

    Aluminum extrusion is a process for creating parts with specific cross-sectional profiles by pushing heated alloy material through a die. The shapes created can be solid, hollow or semi-hollow; and they can be simple or complex. The silicon in the 6000 series that we stock means those aluminum alloys extrude quickly and easily, which helps keep manufacturing costs down.

    What is the Difference Between Extruded and Cast Aluminum?

    As mentioned above, extrusion is a process by which aluminum billets are forced through a die. Whereas, casting is a process in which molten aluminum is poured into a mold and then solidifies into a desired pattern. Both have its advantages and disadvantages, but offer savings from reduced machining time.

    Advantages of Extruding Aluminum

    1. A generally competitive and economical production option especially when dealing with complex cross-sections. New shapes or designs are often available with short lead times, which helps with prototyping, testing, and new product launches.
    2. Produced with an excellent surface finish (no secondary machining required) and are typically stronger in comparison to cast aluminum.
    3. Fabrication is often greatly simplified since sections can be easily assembled together via interlocking vs. welding.

    Common Uses & Applications for Aluminum Extrusions

    • Strength-to-weight ratios are critical in several industries, including transportation. Aluminum extrusions are ideal for engine blocks, transmission housings, chassis of cars, boats, trucks, and railway and subway cars, as well as component parts for vehicles.
    • Aluminum conducts heat efficiently, so its commonly found in the heating and cooling devices of computers, audio/visual systems and other electronics
    • It is a naturally rust and corrosion resistant material due to the protective aluminum oxide film that bonds to it’s surface. It makes it an ideal material to use in outdoor electronic cabinets for utilities or photovoltaic systems for solar energy
    • The highly reflective characteristic of aluminum extrusions make them useful for shielding products from infrared radiation, light or radio waves.
    • Aluminum extrusions are a major element of military, aircraft and aerospace applications including: command tent structures, military vehicles and Navy ships (like the littoral combat ships), the International Space Station, aircraft and helicopters
  6. How A&J Is Tackling Customer Service

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    Customer service is a rapidly evolving discipline that plays a major role in the a company’s long-term success. And in honor of National Customer Service Week 2021, we’re highlighting what A&J is specifically doing to ensure that our happy customers continue to do business with us.

    How Has Customer Service Changed in the Past 10 Years?

    As business models change, so does customer service. And undoubtedly with the proliferation of the internet, customer journeys have become more complex.

    • According to Accenture, 61% of all B2B journeys start on the internet.
    • McKinsey & Company estimates that improvements in customer experience can lead to a 10% to 15% reduction in customer churn, 20% to 40% increase in win rates of offers, and 50% lower costs to serve. On average, B2B companies’ typical customer experience scores fall below 50%! We absolutely want to be an exception to that!
    • More than one in four buyers anticipate that automation is going to change the B2B buying role in the next 5 years.

    Your #1 Priority: Speed

    Time is your greatest resource. And we realize that offering a fast and efficient B2B customer journey is what can help elevate your experience with us.

    One of first priorities is freeing up our team’s time to focus on quick responses. We want them to respond quickly, as well as engaging in meaningful, relationship-building interactions. Our current first response time is 1 business day to all standard quote requests.

    We’ve invested in an ERP system to connect all of our relevant systems. The right software has helped us automate manual processes, manage customer interactions, collect feedback and use time and resources efficiently. But, there’s always still work to be done to ensure that our tech stack is well synchronized to deliver a fast and streamlined customer experience.

    Your #2 & #3 Priority: Ease & Consistency

    In an effort to remove friction from our buying process, we’ve spent the past year improving the usability of our website. While you can’t directly place orders on our site, we’ve taken significant steps to organize and build a knowledgebase so that each customer can better understand the racks and kits/accessories that we have available. We’ve answered your most frequently asked questions into a customer-facing webpage and will continue creating and adding helpful documentation in a centralized hub. The goal is to continue to grow this into whitepapers, infographics, videos, eBooks and other resources. If you discover that we’re lacking in information or you don’t see a topic covered, please don’t hesitate to let us know!

    We also realize that it’s common for you to use multiple channels and have several different stakeholders involved at each stage of the buying process, so we’ve done the work to keep the same message consistent across our website, on the phone or via email. All interactions with our employees and staff should be seamless.

    Your #4 Priority: Transparency

    Whatever channel you use, we always strive for transparency. Not only do we want to set the right expectations and ensure no nasty surprises, but we want to build trust. In addition to being responsive, we commit to the following:

    • Communicating the correct pricing, order calculations and shipping terms from the beginning. All quotes provided will be honored for 90 days before expiration.
    • Acknowledging mistakes
    • Providing access to order statuses and other changing information in near real-time

  7. Get Those Wires Organized: Rack-Mounted Cable Management Accessories

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    Among some of the most frequently forgotten, yet necessary components of any rack solution are cable managers. Cables are often difficult to incorporate into 3D CAD drawings and since they’re “out of sight, out of mind”, the accessories needed to organize them are also forgotten. But nearly every piece of equipment in your rack requires data cables to provide network connectivity, or at the very least, power cables to make them operable.

    Top Cable Management Accessories for your Electronic Rack

    With an open-frame rack, we typically recommend vertical cable managers that span the full height of the rack, but they aren’t as commonly used in cabinets or racks with side panels. Instead, consider using vertical cable rings to keep cables organized and prevent them from blocking access to your electronic equipment. To minimize electromagnetic interference (EMI), our design engineers recommend running the rings down the rear rails with all cable powers being routed through the rings on one side and data cables running down the opposite length. 

    If your rack will house any high-port equipment, the ideal solution is to position horizontal cable managers both above and below the equipment to improve access to both rows of cables and reduce the potential for accidental disconnects. 

    And even if you don’t use any specific cable management accessories, basic hook and loop cable ties are fundamental to organization. We don’t recommend using zip ties since they will eventually need to be cut and could compromise the cables themselves risking damage and causing waste.

    Rail Depth

    One of the most critical considerations to keep in mind when choosing the appropriate cable management solution for your cabinet is the impact they can have on rail depth. A&J offers three standard rack depths: 19″, 24″ and 30″, but we can also create any custom depth required. Without enough clearance space, the mass of wiring can obstruct airflow and/or the rear panel.

    Tips to Make Cable Management Easier

    1. Measure connection distance between components so you’re not wasting money or space on excess cables. Most electronics vendors offer a variety of power cord options or you can purchase your own low-profile power cords to free up additional space.
    2. Proper, well-planned cable markings will simplify any troubleshooting and changes without unnecessary work within the rack. And if you color code your cables this will help differentiate different types of cables. We also recommend labeling both ends so you know exactly where they go and what they’re being used for.
    3. Cable management arms neaten up a rack, but you might also need to consider reducing the server count in a rack to free up space or design a deeper model for adequate clearance.
    4. Carefully plan and execute the cable trunk to avoid obstructions to ventilation and cooling airflow. The last thing you want is running it along a series of servers directly behind their exhaust fans.
    5. ALWAYS confirm how the rack’s overall dimensions fit within your existing floor plan to avoid disruptions to aisle containment or waste IT staff time during setup in a tightly configured layout.
  8. An Overview of Aluminum Electronics Enclosures: Applications, Benefits, & Types

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    Electronic enclosures are cabinets or racks designed to house electrical/electronic equipment. They protect the equipment from damage caused by environmental conditions or compounds and users from electrical shock caused by direct contact. Depending on the application in which they are employed, they can be made from a variety of materials. One of the most commonly used materials is aluminum. 

    Typical Applications for Electrical Enclosures

    Electronic enclosures are found in facilities across a wide range of industries. Typical applications include: 

    • Building electrical and telecommunication rooms
    • Chemical processing plants
    • Electric vehicle charging stations
    • Manufacturing plants
    • Mining, oil, and gas facilities
    • Utility centers
    • Defense and aerospace industry

    Benefits of Using Aluminum for Electrical Enclosures

    While electronic enclosures can be built from a number of materials, there are many advantages to choosing aluminum. For example: 

    • It is durable. Aluminum is a highly durable material, allowing enclosures made from it to maintain their shape even when subjected to strong forces. 
    • It is corrosion-resistant. Aluminum exhibits a natural resistance to corrosion, making it ideal for making enclosures that will be exposed to moisture. 
    • It is electrically conductive. Aluminum is an excellent conductor of electricity, which makes it well-suited for use in electrical and electronic applications.
    • It is not reactive to magnetic forces. Aluminum does not react to magnetic forces, so it can be used to create enclosures that shield the electrical/electronic equipment from electromagnetic frequency (EMF) and radio frequency interference (RFI).
    • It is suitable for a variety of finishing techniques. Aluminum can be finished in many ways, such as black anodizing or powder coating, which allows enclosures made from it to be tailored to suit different customer needs. 

    Types of Aluminum Electronic Enclosures Available at A & J Manufacturing

    A & J Manufacturing is a premier supplier of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) and custom electronic equipment enclosures. We use extruded aluminum alloys to create enclosures rated for different degrees of protection in a range of applications and environments. Our offerings include: 

    AJXR 100 Series

    These light-duty enclosures are manufactured using 2500 Series aluminum extrusions. They are suitable for lightweight, shallow equipment that needs protection against rain, dust, and impact. They can handle static payloads up to 300 pounds and dynamic payloads up to 500 pounds. Their standard height is 72 inches, standard weight is 22.31 inches, and standard depths are 19, 24, or 30 inches. 

    AJM 150 Series

    These medium-duty enclosures are manufactured using 6500 Series aluminum extrusions. They are suitable for most industrial and consumer rack applications that require shock and vibration protection. They can handle static payloads up to 600 pounds and dynamic payloads up to 1,200 pounds. Their standard height is 72 inches, standard weight is 22.31 inches, and standard depths are 19, 24, or 30 inches.

    AJMR & AJSR 159 Series

    These heavy-duty enclosures are manufactured using 9000 Series aluminum extrusions. They are lab- and field-tested to ensure suitability for mission-critical equipment and verified to offer protection against dust, vibration, and other harsh environmental conditions. They can handle static payloads up to 1,600 pounds. Their standard height is 72 inches, standard weight is 24 inches, and standard depths are 19, 24, or 30 inches.

    Innovative Aluminum Electronic Enclosures From A & J

    Looking for quality aluminum electronic enclosures? The experts at A & J are here to help! We provide a variety of standard light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty enclosures and maintain various modification and customization capabilities to suit different customer requirements and restrictions.

    To learn more about our enclosure offerings, browse our FAQs. To discuss your specs with a team member, request a quote.

  9. First Article of Inspection: A Crucial Part of the Quality Control Process

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    While the First Article of Inspection isn’t the only type of test to perform, it is certainly a vital one during the production of electronic equipment racks. The goal is to ensure that the produced good(s) meet a client’s specifications.

    What is a First Article Inspection?

    A first article inspection occurs when an authorized person takes one or several parts from the first production run. Those parts are then compared to the client specifications to verify that they match exactly. First Article Inspection (FAI) is required under AS9102 or if a custom requires one before the manufacturing process begins.

    At A&J we select a random sample and inspect every dimension and specification of this sample against the drawing.

    Pass vs. Fail

    Again, this inspection is to ensure that everything meets expectations before your electronic rack production run can continue. And operations pause until a part or the rack in its entirety passes the FAI.

    If a component fails, production halts until an engineer or the production floor machinists can find the cause and address it. Afterward, another FAI occurs to assess whether production can resume. These quality checks are exceptionally important in industries with critical applications such as defense, aerospace and medical devices.

    A&J follows the guidelines of the Aerospace First Article Inspection Requirement (AS9102B), a standard associated with SAE International. The purpose is to provide objective evidence that all engineering design and specification requirements are properly understood, accounted for, verified and documented. It also serves as a documented quality record for both the supplier and customer to use as a form of accountability.

    When Should You Request a FAI?

    In addition to the first production run, several other scenarios exist that make a FAI appropriate:

    • A production lapse of two+ years
    • Alterations in the materials, sourcing, tools or manufacturing location
    • A delta or partial FAI can be requested when a specific part of component goes through design changes

    Alternatively, it might be unnecessary to perform a FAI if the production batch is small or if the manufacturer is well accustomed to making the part or product you’re requesting.

    What Happens During a FAI?

    At A&J, our Quality Assurance Manager uses a checklist to maintain thoroughness. And in 2019 we invested in a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) to compare the produced part with their specifications. As always, the goal is to see if they differ and check any variations within a customer’s tolerances.

    To validate a product has been correctly manufactured, a First Article Inspection Report is drafted. It usually consists of three forms:

    • part number accountability – used to summarize the part being inspected and any associated sub-assemblies or details
    • product accountability – used for all raw materials, specifications, processes and functional tests as defined in the design requirements
    • characteristic accountability – summarizes dimensions, tolerances, as well as actual measurement results for every part of the original drawing and is often accompanied by a ballooned drawing or bubble drawing

    After the engineering package is “released”, all hardware, parts and materials (per the PO) will be included in the FAI package, and as necessary, include an inspection for each item. The executed report is submitted to our customer for approval before production resumes and/or no less than 5 working days prior to expected shipment date. A customer is required to provide rejection reasons before corrections are performed.

    A Crucial Component of our Quality Management System

    The benefits of a FAI report:

    • Ensure the production process is reliable, repeatable and consistent
    • Ensure that there is a clear understanding of requirements and unique specifications between the customer and the manufacturer. It also helps verify the accuracy of drawings and component dimensions
    • Develop a clear communication process (and potentially future collaboration)

    The FAI process helps find potential errors in dimensions, clarify finish requirements and eliminate any design questions around tolerances.

    For more information about A&J’s FAI capabilities, please contact us today.

  10. Guide to Planning an Electronic Enclosure Purchase

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    The need to store vital electronic equipment and data requires purchasing electronic enclosures or racks. Understanding how long it may take for you to develop the rack’s interior layout, purchase the racks, and having them installed will allow you to develop a realistic timeline that will guide you in your planning process.

    With any project, knowing the steps that should be accomplished to earn a successful outcome is important. From there, you can work backward to establish a realistic completion date. Timelines for each and every project will vary, but tend to follow a general pattern. Below is an outline of expected steps so that you can plan for your electronic enclosure purchase.

    Estimated Time & Steps Required to Manufacture an Electronic Enclosure

    1 day – 1 week: Take inventory of all electronic equipment that will need to be mounted in the rack and set up an appointment to meet with your rack manufacturing professional to evaluate your requirements.

    2 to 6 weeks: To allow our engineers to develop a proposal and a rack layout. Plan to meet with them regularly or at least once more to review the proposal and the layout to ensure it meets your objectives. Allow for additional time to make changes to fine tune the proposal or design specifications.

    2 to 4 weeks: You know the speed at which your organization makes purchasing decisions. A purchase approval can take anywhere from a few days to several months. And unfortunately is a wild card you cannot control. So its best to plan for more than enough time to to ensure you have approval from all decision makers or stakeholders.

    1 week: For purchasing to process and send the order; and for us to receive and process the order.

    2 to 3 days: Final drawings are approved and released to production.

    4 to 14 weeks: Depending on the backlog at any point in time, production time to complete your rack(s) can vary widely. Currently, lead times are generally 12 to 16 weeks for custom enclosures. Note: Standard lead times vary based on quantities, whereas, lead times for modified or custom orders will vary based on the complexity of your design/drawings.

    3 days to 1 week: Typical shipping time required.

    2 days to 2 weeks: Installation of your rack(s) is based on the amount of racks to be installed and the number of installers on the crew.

    Projected Timelines

    For planning purposes, you should expect it to take at least 4 to 6 weeks from the time you start planning your rack purchase of MCOTS electronic enclosures to the time it’s installed. If you need a modified or custom order, expect the timeline to be longer; between 12 and 16 weeks.

    You don’t need to begin the planning and selection process on your own. Our experienced engineers at A&J Manufacturing can walk you through our catalog of options and design an option that works best for your unique needs. Contact us today to get started on your next electronic enclosure project.