Questions to Ask your Electronic Enclosure Manufacturer

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.

Longevity is also a plus. It means they have been there, and done that. They have successfully launched projects like yours and can quickly navigate challenges like manufacturability and scalability.

Where are you located?

Supply chain issues can and will affect everything from sheet metal fabrication to packaging. A supplier closer to you and your customers can mitigate shipping costs and delays in the face of rising material costs, and make it easier to keep tabs on progress.

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. Certifications show they can deliver products that meet rigorous quality standards. Look for a supplier that holds the latest ISO certification to ensure the supplier can meet your expectations around quality management systems.

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.

Before you choose a supplier, make sure they have the capabilities. Ask for an equipment list! There’s nothing worse than finding out too late that your supplier can’t produce the high-quality enclosure you need.

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.

If you’re looking to outsource an electronic enclosure project and need help finding someone who is just as passionate about quality as you are, let’s chat! We would love to see what products or programs our team could partner with your business.

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