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Designer electronic enclosures for Industry 4.0


Industry 4.0/IIoT data networks are complex ecosystems that integrate sensors, communication protocols, data processing infrastructure and security measures. Their primary function is to enable the seamless flow of data – allowing real-time monitoring, control and optimisation of manufacturing processes in a smart factory.

A data network forms the backbone of the smart factory. How well you design and implement the network will determine how likely you are to achieve the full benefits of Industry 4.0 technologies. The robustness of your network is critical – so your electronics must be protected by the right enclosures.


  • Sensors and actuators are responsible for collecting data from the physical world. They monitor temperature, pressure, humidity, vibration and more. Actuators perform actions based on commands, such as turning a valve or adjusting a motor’s speed. Sensors provide the initial data inputs, while actuators can execute commands based on data analysis, allowing for real-time adjustments in the manufacturing process. Enclosures for sensors must be small and tough because they are likely to be close to the action.
  • Edge Devices/Gateways – these act as intermediaries between sensors/actuators and the central data processing unit. They collect, preprocess and filter data locally – reducing latency (and bandwidth requirements). They also serve as a point of security, allowing selective data transmission to the cloud or central servers. Enclosures for these devices must be resilient and reliable: losing a sensor is bad enough, but losing a data node is even more serious.
  • Communication protocols are the rules and conventions that facilitate communication between devices and systems. Protocols such as MQTT, OPC UA, and HTTP are commonly used in IIoT to ensure data integrity, security and efficiency during data exchange.
  • Local Area Network (LAN) – this connects edge devices, controllers and machines within a localised area of the factory. The LAN facilitates data exchange between devices, enabling control and monitoring using technologies such as Ethernet and Wi-Fi.
  • Cloud/server infrastructure for centralised data storage, processing and analysis. This part of the system stores historical data, runs analytics, and allows remote monitoring and control of the factory. Cloud platforms such as AWS, Azure or private servers can be employed.
  • Data storage systems hold historical and real-time data collected from the factory floor. Databases such as SQL or NoSQL store and manage data efficiently for reporting, analytics and machine learning applications.
  • Security measures are crucial to protect sensitive data and the integrity of the manufacturing process. Elements such as firewalls, encryption, authentication mechanisms and intrusion detection systems safeguard the network against cyber threats.
  • Visualisation and Human-Machine Interface (HMI) tools provide a user-friendly way to monitor and control the factory. Graphical displays, dashboards and alerts empower operators and engineers to manage processes more efficiently. HMI enclosures must be ergonomic – making displays easy to view and controls comfortable to operate.
  • Analytics and machine learning modules analyse data to gain insights, predict maintenance needs, optimise processes and detect anomalies. Advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms help the system and its operators to make data-driven decisions – improving overall production efficiency.
  • Redundancy and failover systems provide backup solutions to ensure continuous operation in case of network or hardware failures. They minimise downtime and maintain data integrity by switching between components and networks seamlessly.
  • Quality of Service (QoS) and traffic prioritisation mechanisms ensure the network conveys critical data swiftly and efficiently. QoS settings help to guarantee that mission-critical data – such as safety-related information – is transmitted with minimal latency and without interference.
MINI-DATA-BOX enclosures for Industry 4.0


Industry 4.0’s broad spectrum of requirements means that OKW now offers a large number of enclosures for IIoT electronics. There are standard and customisable housings for small stationary sensors, for mobile tracking of people and objects, for network nodes, and for wall-mounted and desktop displays and controllers.

Recent years have seen a surge in the number of enclosures developed principally though not exclusively for Industry 4.0/IIoT applications – notably for small sensors. These IIoT sensor enclosures must be tough and have good levels of ingress protection but this alone is not enough...

Small sensor units must be quick and easy to install because the typical smart factory will require a large network of them. Housings such as new MINI-DATA-BOX (IP 65 optional) can be specified either with or without flanges that allow the enclosures to be cable-tied or screwed in place. These enclosures can be fitted to poles, rails and walls swiftly and simply.

The highly effective flanges available on MINI-DATA-BOX are also a key feature on EASYTEC (IP 65 optional), another enclosure designed specifically for small sensors. EASYTEC’s base has a curved recess at the rear, adding stability when the enclosures are fitted to round profiles.

For mobile tracking, there are housings such as BODY-CASE (IP 65) and award- winning MINITEC – both of which are standout models in OKW’s range of wearable enclosures. BODY-CASE is designed to fit a standard 18 mm watchstrap so it’s comfortable to wear for prolonged periods – and its glossy finish makes it easy to keep clean in challenging industrial environments. These features make it ideal for tracking and monitoring personnel, and for emergency call and safety applications.

Meanwhile, MINITEC’s choice of intermediate rings enables it to be fitted to a wide range of straps, belts and lanyards. Significantly, it can also be clipped to a key ring, making it very easy to attach to objects that need to be tracked around a large smart factory or logistics centre.

SOLID-BOX enclosures for Industry 4.0


Industry 4.0/IIoT gateways, data loggers and sensor systems are very much in the remit of new SOLID-BOX, OKW’s latest range of advanced enclosures for industrial electronics. SOLID-BOX more than lives up to its name with an IK 08 impact rating and IP 66 and IP 67 ingress protection.

These wall-mount, pole-mount and desktop enclosures feature deep recesses on the sides to protect connectors and interfaces. And the lid (with optional hinges) features a generous recess should you decide to add a membrane keypad for IIoT HMI applications.

Alternatively, you could specify SMART-BOX (IP 66), ROBUST-BOX (IP 66) or IN-BOX (IP 66, IP 67, IK 07, IK 08) – all of which are designed to withstand the rigours of industrial environments. Read this blog post to compare new SOLID-BOX, SMART-BOX, ROBUST-BOX and IN-BOX.  

Need something a little more sleek? Data systems enclosure NET-BOX (IP 65 optional) has a slim design that looks discreet and elegant – whether you wall-mount the unit or specify it with non-slip feet (accessory) for desktop use. NET-BOX conceals connectors beneath a removable front lid; the housing’s simple three-part construction ensures clean, unfussy lines with no visible fixing screws at the front.

SMART-TERMINAL enclosures for Industry 4.0


Smart factories place much more importance on aesthetics than their 20th century predecessors. That is why OKW has developed enclosures such as flush-fit SMART-PANEL for sensors and touchscreens. Yes, it can specified for IIoT, but it also has to look at home in luxury penthouses and futuristic offices.

And yet, what if you need something more robust than plastic SMART-PANEL? What if you need a tough metal enclosure that must also have a ‘wow’ factor? The answer is to specify an enclosure that – like SMART-PANEL – looks good in high-end residential and commercial settings. But unlike SMART-PANEL, the chosen enclosure should be manufactured from aluminium.

Two OKW models combine aluminium and plastic to create dependable, elegant solutions for Industry 4.0. Award-winning SYNERGY is available in four plan sizes: round, square, rectangular and oblate. All the enclosures feature a pillar-based construction system that results in no visible fixing screws.

Meanwhile, SMART-TERMINAL (IP 54) combines an aluminium main case with not one but two types of plastic. UV stable ASA+PC-FR end covers sit snugly in soft touch TPV designer seals. These plastic end covers are deeply recessed to protect connectors. Or you could specify flat aluminium covers instead if you prefer. Like new SOLID-BOX, SMART-TERMINAL is an excellent choice for housing a wall-mounted or desktop IIoT control unit.

View OKW enclosures for Industry 4.0 >>

Customised enclosures for Industry 4.0


All OKW standard plastic and aluminium enclosures can be specified fully customised to your exact requirements. We carry out the following customisation services in-house:

  • CNC machining – milling, tapping, engraving, countersinking and cutting
  • lacquering – including a wide range of soft-touch lacquers
  • printing of legends, logos and photo-quality graphics
  • laser marking – perfect for QR codes, barcodes, DataMatrix codes and sequential numbering
  • decor foils – digitally printed in photo quality, with cutouts for displays or LEDs
  • special materials – V-0 flame-retardant plastic on request
  • EMC shielding – in-house plating with aluminium to protect electronics from RFI/EMI
  • installation/assembly of accessories.

Learn more about customising services >>



Contact OKW’s expert engineers for specialist advice on specifying the best standard or customised enclosures for your Industry 4.0/IIoT electronics. Ask for a sample.