Mentec plastic housings are a high-quality component in terms of design and processing, which represents the electronic device to the customers. The intelligence of the device is inside, but the case, the plastic housing shows through feel and functionality, as high quality is such an electronic device. With its patented K-Box technology, mentec is able to produce plastic housings as a prototype in small or large series. All of this is possible without high tooling costs, as in the related art injection molding process, which is also used to make housings.

mentec plastic housings are available in standard colors in RAL colors. If a desired color is not available as a raw material, the housing can be painted in the corresponding color scheme.

In addition to the actual housing, we offer components such as membrane keyboards, silicone control mats, touchscreens and housing accessories to fully retrieve your project. Thus mentec is able to handle a case as a full service project for its customers.

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Streetpoints Laufspiel - das Kunststoffgehäuse

Streetpoints das Laufspiel von Pironex

Plastic housings for electrical appliances are versatile. mentec® received an inquiry for the production of an individual housing for the project “Street-Points – the running and moving game”. Street-Points was designed and developed by pironex GmbH, a company from Rostock. It is a game involving outdoor running and moving, today’s version of the popular children’s game “scavenger hunt”.

 

How does Street-Points work?

The players collect virtual points during the game, which they can load into their point account using stations in the city area. Before the game starts, each player receives a map with the stations marked, plus an RFID card.

The goal is to collect points on the player’s account and thus, in a playful way, motivate children and adults to run outdoors. Exercise in fresh air is healthy, and the archaic “hunter gatherer” is deeply rooted in us humans. The points are displayed on the homepage of Street-Points. The game is free of charge for the participants and can be played individually or in teams.

How did mentec® contribute to the success of the game?

mentec®‘s task was to create a weatherproof outdoor housing with a splash-proof display window that would safely accommodate the electronics required for the game. The functionality is self-explanatory and needs to be delivered to the customer as easily as possible.

To start with, the customer provided a description of the requirements for accommodating the technology, and a very well thought-out sketch of the plastic housing. Together with the customer, mentec®‘s design engineers then designed an optimized version that could be implemented using the mentec® K-Box® technology (milling and bending process) that fulfilled all customer’s requirements.

Subsequently, mentec® produced a fully functional prototype which showed a small weakness in practical use. The acrylic glass pane on the front did not have sufficient scratch resistance. The next revision included minor modifications incorporating a scratch-resistant acrylic glass pane, and a second prototype resulted in a successful version, which was finally mass-produced. Prototype construction and the practical application demonstrate whether the operability and material properties of a outdoor housing are sufficient. In the tool-free K-Box® process from mentec®, all of this was no problem.

Street Points das Laufspiel Kunststoffgehäuse / Individual plastic housing

Currently Street-Points is used in several hundred housings in different cities / locations

mentec Werkstoffkunde: verfügbar Farben Polystrol

Before a housing can see the light of day, the right choice of materials is very important, in addition to the pure planning and manufacturing process. As mentec® has many years of experience in this field, the processes used have been optimized to perfection, as has the selection of the materials. This article reports on materials science. It deals with the high-quality plastics that mentec® uses in the production of its plastic housings. We provide a brief insight into how much know-how about the material is necessary to produce a high-quality, durable housing.

Which materials are used for mentec® housings?

The most important material used in the production of mentec® housings is an impact-resistant plastic called polystyrene. This is ideally suited to the requirements that mentec® places on the material in order to manufacture plastic housings based on K-Box technology. The individual parts, which are cut out of sheet material in the manufacturing process, are joined together to form a compact housing. To ensure that these are permanently and strongly bonded, the connection is made using the tongue and groove principle and a solvent. The solvent is applied to the groove. The polystyrene is softened in the applied areas to allow the surfaces to stick together. This process has to be carried out quickly after application, as the softened material sticks as fast as superglue. The connection then needs 48h to harden completely and can only be broken with brute force. The drop test from a height of one meter is an important criterion, especially in medical technology, where a housing must survive undamaged.

What do you need to know about materials?

In order to be able to produce a housing in various solid designs, the plate blanks used by mentec® are available in thicknesses of 3mm, 4mm, 6mm, 8mm and 10mm, which is of great importance for the stability of the housing. Plastics are available in different colours for the production of coloured housings. mentec® has a pool of about thirty colours, standardized according to RAL and available at short notice. Before a project starts, fire behaviour must be clarified. Products may generally only be used if the material is flame-retardant. Of course, this also applies to the housing used. This is introduced into the polystyrene by a granulate additive which ensures that the housing is no longer flammable. The plastic plates used by mentec® have a so-called fine structure side, which is used on the outside of the housing and a smooth side on the inside. The fine structure is resistant to scratches and shocks and gives the housing a longer service life. Glossy surfaces are very much in demand in the field of medical enclosures. Here, material mixes of acrylic glass and polystyrene are frequently used.

Materials science of plastic housings: Polystrol brushed aluminum material, carbon look, EMC paint

 

How is the raw material polycarbonate applied?

Polycarbonate is a material with an enormously high impact strength. These advantages are evident in the production of outdoor housings, which are subject to high temperature fluctuations (cold / heat) and strong UV radiation. Polycarbonate is also used for sealing and IP protection (protection against contact, dust and water). In the sealing area, for example, injected seals are used to seal the housing parts against penetrating liquidity. Shatter- and splinter-resistant protective covers made of polycarbonate are often used in the medical sector, e.g. in laser systems or laboratory centrifuges. Transparent machine covers, in the form of hoods, are also frequently made of polycarbonate.

Are there alternatives to polystyrene?

The alternative to polystyrene is an acrylonitrile-butadine-styrene co-polymer – ABS for short. Compared to polystyrene, ABS has a higher temperature resistance of up to 90° Celsius. The properties of ABS make this material ideal for processing, milling and bending. Individual parts must be glued together with an adhesive.

What is a semi-finished plastic product?

Semi-finished products are plastics such as PVC or polycarbonate sheets, which have different properties. Compared to other materials, polystyrene is an inexpensive semi-finished product. The chemical resistance of PS is very high. The material can be formed cold and hot. Compared to a sheet metal housing, the plastic housing is much lighter and does not have to be painted because the material is already coloured.

What is the electromagnetic compatibility with electronic housings?

There are two processes that are used by mentec® to ensure so-called electromagnetic compatibility (EMC):

  • Process 1: the plate material is coated on the inside with a silver conductive lacquer. The housing is connected to the tongue and groove system to form a conductive connection.
  • Process 2: the housing is built and completely assembled. The interior is subsequently coated with silver conductive lacquer. This process is much more complex, but results in a higher shielding.

Are sustainable materials for housings available?

mentec® can also use regenerated materials. These include polystyrene and polycarbonate made from 100% recycled raw materials, which are discarded in the manufacturing process. We send excess material, such as the waste, to the manufacturer, who returns this material to the manufacturing process thus ensuring a raw material cycle

Tragbares Medizintechnik-Gehäuse von mentec

A very common field of application for an individual housing is in the field of medical technology. If a new measurement or therapy product has been developed, an attractive and above all precise and functional housing is essential. Although the intelligence of the medical device lies inside, a professional case is often the key factor for the successful market launch of such a medical technology product. In addition to optical factors, other material characteristics such as longevity, care and robustness are properties that make it possible for a medical technology housing to withstand continuous everyday use.

Which materials can be used for medical technology housings?

An easy-care material with a smooth surface is essential for sensitive and hygienic areas, such as a doctor’s surgery. The surface must not wear out too quickly, or become dull from frequent cleaning. Not only must a physician have a professional appearance, but the equipment must also inspire confidence in the patient. A medical device that is beautiful in design and shape, with an attractive surface promotes well-being in the patient. When manufacturing medical technology housings, we use outstanding materials such as white acrylic glass (PMMA). Due to its material properties, acrylic glass is easy to clean, as very smooth and high-gloss housing surfaces can be produced with this plastic. In addition to coloured acrylic glass, transparent PMMA is also available, allowing insights into the inner workings of medical devices, for example for use in displays. PMMA offers a large selection of manufacturer colors, which are also available for smaller order quantities. This enables you to provide housings in various OEM color variants for your customers. Material combinations are also possible for medical housings. For example, the housings can be supplemented with anodized aluminum. Different colored plastic elements (color applications) are also possible.

Tip: with satinised acrylic glass, unusual LED light applications can be incorporated into a housing. Changing the light of the LED application greatly enhances the appearance of the housing.

Medizintechnik Gehäuse mit LED Beleuchtung Medizintechnik Gehäuse mit LED Beleuchtung Medizintechnik Gehäuse mit LED Beleuchtung

Can the medical technology housing be coated with lacquers?

Lacquering medical technology housings is possible as with our regular plastic housings. Surface designs in a wide variety of colors can be created with the help of coatings. We offer matt or gloss varnishes in the color variants, with and without surface structure, which are available within the specification of RAL colors. In order to avoid static charges, the housing can be coated with antistatic lacquer. To ensure electromagnetic compatibility, EMC shielding is also possible by coating the interior of the housing with EMC lacquer.

What technical enhancements do mentec® medical housings offer?

Weyergans spm 1 mentec<sup>®</sup> Medizintechnik-Gehäuse

In order to be able to operate the electronics inside the housing with external information, a wide variety of components for human-machine interaction are possible. mentec® offers suitable operating elements such as membrane keypads, silicone keypads and touchpanels.

mentec® enables the integration of technical extensions and applications when manufacturing your medical technology housing. We enable the use of doors, sliding elements and magnetic locks. Further housing accessories such as light guides, counters, snap-in hinges etc. are provided by mentec® and integrated into the overall concept.

What types of housings are available for medical technology housings?

Since electronic devices are used very close to people in the medical technology sector, it is necessary to adapt the housings to this situation. We ensure that our medical technology housings have the necessary suitability for everyday use, ergonomics and mobility to work in a medical practice. For this purpose, a wide variety of housing designs are possible: Standalone housing with castors, mobile / portable housings with handles, desk housings, desktop housings, wall-mounted housings and monitor housings.

 

 

Tabletghäuse - das Kunststoffgehäuse für den professionellen Einsatz

Tablet PCs have seen rapid growth in user numbers, applications and usage since the first release of Apple’s iPad 1, the tablet’s ancestor, in 2010. Approximately 149 million tablets are sold worldwide. Due to the open architecture of the Android operating system, the popular touchscreen PCs are also very popular in commercial applications that are not available to the general public via the Google Playstore. This is not surprising, since tablet PCs are more affordable and flexible to use than desktop PCs. It is often sensible to use a tablet housing in order to protect a sensitive device. In this blog posting, you learn more about tablet case manufacturing and applications.

Use of plastic enclosures for tablet PCs

In professional use, it often makes sense, compared to private use, to give the Tablet-PC a stable plastic housing. The tablet housing protects the sensitive electronics of the tablet from shocks or falls. Consequences of a fall are well known to anyone who has ever dropped their smartphone to the ground. The user height is sufficient to damage or even destroy at least the display or the housing of the Tablet PC. Such sensitivities are inacceptable in everyday use. The tablet must be shockproof and adequately protected against falls by using a robust housing. Various factors are important in the construction of such a tablet housing. Among other things, the tablet must fit seamlessly into the housing and all operating elements of this mini PC must be able to be applied by housing applications. mentec® has already designed and manufactured tablet housings for the professional sector for various applications.

Using tablet housings in exhibitions and museums

In public areas such as art exhibitions, museums or animal parks, the application possibilities are very obvious. The tablet, including its housing, serves as an interactive information medium. Such guidance systems are becoming increasingly widespread and are gradually replacing the audio systems that are frequently used. The advantage: the human-machine interaction and the playing out of selected information significantly enhance the user experience for the visitor. To ensure that the tablet does not shipwreck in everyday use and can still be used after many sessions, it has to be packaged in a suitable housing.

Kunststoffgehäuse für Tablet mit Griff

Usage of tablet housings in schools and workshops for the disabled

Tablet PCs can be used sensibly in workshops for the handicapped and inclusion/integration businesses. In this case, the tablets are integrated in the shock-resistant, scratch- and drop-proof housings that are required for everyday use to carry out the work. If desired, mentec® can also design and implement such housings with functions for attaching carrying or shoulder straps.

Tabletgehäuse im Einsatz: Tablet und Smartphone Kunststoffgehäuse mit Ösen für Umhängeriemen

Tablets in housings with wall brackets

Another application for the tablet housing, which is very popular in companies, is the assembly of tablets in wall-mounted housings. The tablet is used as an interactive display or information medium. The tablet can display the next meeting including its participants at the entrance of the meeting room or be equipped with a digital assistant as a control and information system in companies.

POS presentations for tablets

Tablets which are integrated into a housing, can also be used in stationary retail outlets. In this case, the tablet can be used to implement in-store webshop applications. In-store webshops are currently used by many retailers such as Cyberport.de or Hornbach to provide the customer with an overview of the company’s complete product range. Goods that are not in stock in the store can be ordered via the in-store webshop. The customer can then pick them up on site after delivery or have the goods sent home conveniently.

mentec® K-Box® technology: ideal for application with tablet housings

With the help of mentec® patented K-Box® technology, such projects can be implemented within a manageable frame. The initial effort required to produce such a plastic housing is by far not as high as in the injection moulding process. Changes during a model change can therefore also be implemented quickly with K-Box®. Within the scope of a project, the customer has many possibilities to design the housing. Surface painting in different colors is no problem, even if the color is not yet available in the mentec® material portfolio. In order to brand the tablet housing to the customer’s brand, mentec® offers engravings / logo engravings as well as silkscreen or digital prints on the plastic surfaces. The size of the tablet’s display is irrelevant, as the design is carried out individually at the customer’s request. The inside of the housing can be coated with EMV lacquer to shield the device against electromagnetic radiation, if required. Cellular rubber (EPDM) seals can be used to fix the tablet and protect the circumferential display opening from dust, dirt or splash water. For applications in which interaction with the user is not necessary, protective glasses, display panes or display windows can also be inserted into the housing, which are available in a scratch-resistant version too. The housings can also be manufactured in accordance with fire protection class UL94V0. Individual openings for cable access can be provided on the tablet housing. All types of mounting points can be set on the back of the housing, whether for wall mounting, tripod connection or other individual customer requirements.

Kunststoffgehäuse als Medizintechnik-Gehäuse von mentec®

The startup hype in Germany continues. Commercialisation of the Internet in recent years through the Internet of Things has led to the development of many new business models with small electrical appliances. So-called IoT devices are easily and permanently connected to the Internet through uplink and W-LAN. Wherever Internet access is available, IoT devices can be used, from the autonomous webcam, home control centre for household and energy monitoring to smart assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s HomePod. All these devices contain electronic components that were packed into a individual housing prototype at the beginning of their lifetime.

Why is a housing prototype required?

The typical story of a housing prototype is a start-up that has created an electronic product. During the next stage, investors are often needed to get the product ready for series production, and launch it. The developer cannot just present an investor with a circuit board, as it shows that the product is unfinished and not packaged ready for the market. Therefore the device requires an attractive, professional plastic housing. Often at this stage the developer cannot foresee whether the product will eventually go into large-scale production, whether it will remain in small pre-series or even just the one prototype. The first thought when considering a housing is one made of injection molding. However, this type of housing construction is expensive. For tool construction alone, i.e. merely the creation of the production molds, costs are high and can quickly escalate into 5-figure Euros sums.

Your plastic housing could look like this prototype - made by mentec

Production of a plastic prototype with K-Box® technology

With its patented K-Box® technology, mentec’s® aim is to manufacture individual housings of the highest quality and workmanship from prototype to series production at a reasonable price. The plastic housing prototype must be of high quality to convince a potential investor or end customer of the value of the device.
The production of the housing prototype paves the way for small or medium series of the product. mentec® saves all details of the production process electronically, making it simple to reproduce the housing any number of times. There is another advantage of prototype production with K-Box® technology: in contrast to injection molding based housing production, subsequent modifications such as the addition of ventilation slots to series-produced housings can be made easily, so the original investment for the design of the prototype is not lost.

What data do we need for a individual housing prototype?

For mentec® to produce a housing prototype for you, you will need to provide us with important relevant information. The following is the list of details needed from you in order for mentec® to prepare a quotation:

  • For which application is the desired housing required (indoor/outdoor, UV resistance, water resistance)?
  • Current customer drawings: do you have sketches and drawings relating to the desired housing? We process electronic files such as 3D construction formats (STEP or CAD data). Sketches or pictures are also possible.
  • Housing samples: are housing samples or built-in components already available?
  • PCB samples / built-in parts: in order to plan the inner part of the housing, original PCB samples and/or built-in parts are very helpful in the construction of the housing prototype, ideally as a 3D file.
  • Weight: the sum of the weights of all built-in components plays an important role before the start of the construction.
  • Dimensions: please specify width x height x depth in mm
  • Material: we have a wide range of base materials at our disposal – whether impact-resistant polycarbonate (PC) or polystyrene (PS), also in UL94-V0 class./li>
  • Colour: what colour should your housing be? Standard RAL colours as well as different special colours are available.
  • Additional parts & special parts
  • Printing (screen printing / digital printing) & varnishing

Building a plastic housing prototype

We will be happy to advise you on your requirements for a housing prototype – just contact us.

Formschönes Raspberyy Pi Gehäuse aus Acrylglas mit Druck

Since its launch in 2012, the Raspberry Pi has rapidly become a real phenomenon on the software and hardware development scene. With over 17 million units sold, the Raspberry Pi can truly be compared to one of the most successful home computers in the world, the Commodore 64. What is behind this device and what professional uses does it have? This article explains what the Raspberry Pi actually is, the applications and benefits of the Raspberry Pi, and demonstrates how mentec®, as a professional plastic housing manufacturer, can support you in your Pi project with the creation of an individual Raspberry Pi case. What if you had developed a fantastic application with Raspberry Pi but no one was producing an individual housing solution for it as a prototype case, small or medium series?

What is the Raspberry Pi?

The Raspberry Pi is a mini-computer. To be precise, it is a single board computer, which means that all components of the computer, such as CPU, RAM, GPU, etc. are on a single circuit board. Single board computers are often used for consumer purposes or industrial devices where space saving and energy consumption are important.

Individual Raspberry Pie housing with imprint
The Raspberry Pi provides an extensive range of accessories such as cameras, touch displays or simple LCD displays for presenting information. These add-on components pose a complementary challenge when designing for a Raspberry Pi housing.

What professional applications are there?

The Raspberry Pi is regarded as a toy. Using it as a game console emulator with RetroPie or its support of the children’s programming language Scratch reinforces this image. On the other hand, there are a multitude of serious and professional applications which have a Raspberry Pi hidden inside. Two professional applications are presented here. In particular the Raspberry Pi offers innovative startup companies a cost-effective way to integrate a fully-fledged PC into their hardware appliance. It does not matter whether this is a router, firewall or a Smarthome application. The usage possibilities are almost endless.

eBlocker: anonymous web surfing based on Raspberry Pi

Internet companies like Google, Facebook & Co. permanently collect unlimited information about their customers and their behaviour on their sites and beyond. This data is primarily used for their purposes, but always has one goal: to create added value for the platform operators. Ultimately this means that the Internet user is becoming more and more transparent in all areas. To prevent this, the eBlocker appliance helps to surf the Internet anonymously, all thanks to a Raspberry Pi or alternatively the Banana Pi in a housing.

PixTend SPS control technology

SPS technology is a common industry standard. The abbreviation SPS stands for Programmable Logic Controller. These systems are frequently installed in remote control and monitoring systems based on proprietary technologies. The Pixtend extension for Raspberry Pie allows the connection of sensors for temperature or humidity, servos, radio sockets, etc. The usage options are almost endless. Existing bus systems can be connected via the integrated RS232 transceiver. This offers the hobbyist and inventor a wide range of possibilities.

What kind of Raspberry Pi housings does mentec® offer?

The examples mentioned above are just two of many technical options. The Raspberry Pi is easily accessible and offers countless possibilities due to the open, Ubuntu-based LINUX operating system. We at mentec® make sure that the technical Raspberry Pi product is embedded in the appropriate housing. We offer tailor-made solutions in any form.

Individual Rasperry Pi housing stacked 3 times

It is no problem, whether a display is assembled or other peripherals such as the Pixtend system are docked. We build the prototype for your Pi housing or create the Raspberry Pi housing in small or medium sized batches.

Custom case for Raspberry Pie with two mounting tabs

We supply individual digital or screen printed housings, as well as milled logos, mounting tabs and a wide variety of suitable housing accessories.