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Specifying handheld enclosures

Why do we offer 18 different models of handheld PCB enclosures? Why so many?

After all, 18 is almost as many as our desktop and wall mounted enclosure ranges put together! It’s not just because it makes customisation quicker and more cost effective – though that’s a pretty good reason in itself.

No – it’s because ergonomics are so much more important for handheld enclosures.

True, ergonomics are important for all our products…but even more so for our handheld enclosures. They must be supremely tactile. And comfortable to hold for long periods. And intuitive to use – we designed our BLOB range specifically to guide users’ hands to the controls. They also have to look great. So the product piques your curiosity and makes you want to pick it up. Building in desire at enclosure level makes your products more saleable.

All of which means that specifying handheld enclosures requires extra thought – or you risk missing out on all the various opportunities available.

Aside from the obvious considerations of size and IP rating, here are four other questions to think about:

1. Wearable Or Non-Wearable Enclosures?

Wearables are no longer exclusively the preserve of smartwatch users. And in truth they never were. We were manufacturing wearable enclosures long before the term became trendy.

BODY-CASE (IP 65/67) is a watch-like enclosure – it’s designed to fit a standard 18 mm watchstrap but can also be worn around the neck, clipped to a belt or pocket or carried loose in clothing.

ERGO-CASE is a big strap-to-your-arm wearable enclosure but its comfortable curves mean it’s equally at home on your waist or chest. Perfect for data recording and transmission on the move. Smallest size XS fits on the wrist.

MINITEC is the award-winning enclosure that’s ideal for remote control keypads – the huge choice of shapes, sizes and configurations means it can be worn around the neck, on the wrist, on a belt or attached to a key ring. And it comes in lots of colour combinations too. MINITEC is aimed at personal electronics applications.

wearable handheld enclosures

2. Wireless Or Cable?

Virtually all our handheld enclosures offer the option of a battery compartment.

The only exception is CONNECT which is designed specifically for cabled electronics – such as applications requiring multiple USB interfaces.

Many of our enclosures offer a choice of battery options, plus at least one flat side to accommodate a connector for charging.

DATEC-COMPACT takes it a stage further. Not only do you get the choice of AA or AAA cells (or no battery compartment) but the enclosure comes with integrated charging contacts as standard (or without if you prefer). The contacts can be used in combination with the accessory stations (also with contacts) for data download and/or charging. DATEC-COMPACT is available with IP 41 or IP 65 sealing as standard.

Some OKW handheld enclosures (including DATEC-COMPACT) offer charging stations as accessories – eliminating another key worry when it comes to wireless applications.

Picture below: BODY-CASE (left), ERGO-CASE (middle), MINITEC (right).

enclosures for connections

3. Which Plastic Is Best For Your Application?

Traditionally ABS has been the go-to plastic for electronic enclosures. It’s resilient and dependable. And so for that reason we continue to mould many handheld enclosures models from this durable material. Another popular alternative is infra-red transparent PMMA for remote control applications.

But recent years have seen the growth in popularity of other plastics – such as highly polished ASA which looks and feels great – and offers a high degree of UV stability.

ASA is the standard plastic for wearable BODY-CASE and also for new STYLE-CASE, an elegant solution for hand controllers. (It’s also available in PMMA as standard.) ASA’s glossy finish makes the plastic very easy to clean, making it very popular in the medical and social care fields. For this reason you’ll often find ASA enclosures assembled using tamperproof Torx screws – another key consideration.

Another UV stable plastic is ASA+PC-FR. Adding polycarbonate (PC) to the blend makes these enclosures extra strong. That’s why it’s a standard option for our large CARRYTEC enclosures (which feature an integrated grab handle).

Find out more about the different types of plastics here.

Picture below: CONNECT (left), DATEC-COMPACT (right).

handheld enclosures

4. What If You Need A Highly Specialised Enclosure?

What if your application is a bit different? In the past that usually meant one thing – a bespoke enclosure and all the extra tooling costs that entailed. Not anymore. Increasingly now there are standard cases designed specifically for the job in hand.

Need a handheld scanner case with a built-in trigger? No problem – specify SENSO-CASE for swift single-handed operation.

Need a landscape format enclosure to house a handheld display unit? Specify SOFT-CASE. And remember, not all our handheld enclosures end up in the hand…

CARRYTEC makes a great suspension arm enclosure when you invert it. And round, square, oval or rectangular ART-CASE will sit happily on desks (or can be mounted on walls or ceilings).

Picture below: SENSO-CASE (left), SOFT-CASE (middle), ART-CASE (right).

Special handheld enclosures

View handheld enclosures range >>

Get Expert Advice On Enclosures

Contact OKW – the electronic enclosures specialist – for expert technical advice on the best housings for your PCBs and electronic components.

Contact our team and discover how easy it is to specify the perfect enclosures for your electronics.