What is an aluminium case and how is it made?
Aluminium provides a high strength to weight ratio, is readily available and is completely recyclable.
What are the benefits of Aluminium Cases?
Should an aluminium case be impacted, the durable exterior is specifically designed to resist such trauma, all without comprising water tightness or equipment protection, and it can tolerate abrasion.
Finishes can be anodised natural (bright metal finish) or dyed to a select range of colours at the client’s request. Alternatively it can be powder coated for a very durable finish in an unlimited range of colours from discrete, for camouflage, to attention grabbing, for safety equipment.
What are the different types of Aluminium Cases?
Aluminium cases fall into two groups. These are custom and modular.
Custom Aluminium Cases
Custom cases provide very specific protection for valuable pieces of equipment against environmental and transit challenges. These cases are made from rigidized sheet and are designed from scratch to suit their specific application. A rigidized sheet has a raised diamond pattern formed in it that gives great stiffness for a given material thickness without adding to its weight. As a side benefit, areas of damage and wear are limited to the high spots and it’s appearance stays good throughout its working life.
Case edges can be formed into a radius. The rigidity of the sheet material limits the minimum size of the fold radius and for a tighter edge the sheet is cut and seam welded. Seam welds provide the case with great strength and assures water tightness.
The mating edges of rigidized cases are finished with extruded sections that are riveted in place. These add to the overall stiffness and provides accuracy as they carry the vital extruded seals.
Freedom of custom design is enhanced by a wide choice of hardware – hinges, latches, stays, handles, wheels etc.
Corners can be reinforced with steel covers, again riveted in place, or by recessing the corner and, optionally, inserting a colour coded corner button. These recessed corners, as well as being very tough, reduce the chance of inflicting damage with the case itself.
Modular Aluminium Cases
Modular cases in the ERV range are built around the 19” rack system. Their width is always the same and the height is a function of how many ‘U’ high the system may be. Depth is another variable. This has allowed the development of a rationalised manufacturing system to shorten time to delivery as well as for performance gains.
A flat sheet is laser cut before forming, folding and welding. Laser cut panels are very accurate, repeatable, and with production jigging ensures repeatable cases.
Ribs are formed in the flat panels to stiffen them and to provide feet that locate in corresponding recessed ribs for stacking. Again, stiffness is enhanced without incurring a further weight penalty.
Wells are pressed into the sheets so that handles and catches can be mounted under flush and their loads distributed into the case structure.
Case edges are folded into double triangular sections that provide great stiffness once they have been puddle welded. The gives a fully triangulated lattice structure.
Other seams in the modular construction are continuously welded and are specially designed to be watertight.
Internal reinforcements are added to provide suspension mountings for the isolation of the 19” racks. These vary depending on the payload.
As well as vertical height modules, the system can have front to back extensions to provide cooling. These structural elements still come within the modular build system although the cooling itself may be custom built.