Are your highest paid, best-trained employees spending their time measuring and marking up, drilling and cutting your enclosures? Has modifying those enclosures to meet exacting customer specs become a production bottleneck? Do design revisions during the build cycle cause documentation headaches?
If you answered yes to any of these or similar questions, I have one more question for you. Why are you still manually modifying enclosures in house?
Don’t waste time making holes and cutouts manually–let Steiner Electric, the exclusive Hoffman Certified Modification Center in Northern IL, deliver your modified enclosures and back panels to you, on your schedule and ready to populate so you can focus on integrating and providing control solutions to your customers.
Get modified enclosures fast
For contractors that produce electrical and electronic assemblies for end users, modifying enclosures is essential to the panel building process, but the task does not bring the most value-add to a project.
Steiner’s CNC-based Hoffman Certified Modification Center, the ModCenter 293, eliminates the time-consuming and costly manual methods of modifying enclosures. The automated system makes your shop more competitive, efficient, improves your bottom line and can make design changes on the fly.
Reduce your lead times by modifying stocked or quick-ship enclosures and have them delivered to your facility or job site on your schedule. In addition, the quality of the cutouts are higher and turnaround times on custom enclosures and back panels are faster.
Utilizing an automatic tool changer, the machine can use any of 21 precision cutters — a combination of drills and taps for holes and end mills for cutouts. The ModCenter can mill mild steel at 2,000 mm (78 in.) per minute, and it can make a 4- by 4-in. in under 3 minutes. Including filing and cleanup, it can take a person about 15 minutes to manually do that job.
Considering that a 36-in. by 48-in. electrical enclosure could have 40 to 50 holes and cutouts and a back panel could have as many as 200 holes with taps, the ability to accurately and expeditiously customize enclosures is vital.
Dan Williams, manager of the Steiner Electric Custom Products Group says, “By automating labor-intensive modification tasks we can increase productivity, quality, and flexibility. We can produce holes and cutouts in minutes, not hours, and when we are done the holes are precise and clean and ready to populate.”
From small to large enclosures
The CNC unit handles enclosures up to 93.7 in. by 86 in. and back panels up to 93 in. by 94 in. It can process a variety of materials including mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, PVC, and glass-reinforced plastic (GRP).
Vertically oriented and operating in multi-axes, the unit grabs a tool and makes all the cuts that it can with that cutting tool, moving along a preprogrammed cutting path, before exchanging the cutter with another tool to continue the process. The CNC machine operates along these vertical lines, explains Williams. “It rides on this plane, modifying whatever is on the plane.”
A flexible machine, the ModCenter 293 allows for fast changes if needed. “We are like an on-site job shop,” says Williams. “Our number one priority is to make sure our customers get the enclosure they need for the job, at a competitive price, and get it on time, every time.”
The ModCenter 293 features software that integrates seamlessly with CAD DXF, DWG, and other file formats to push jobs forward. This saves workers from the laborious job of copying a pattern by hand.
Having Steiner do the modification work may also reduce tooling costs. Drilling holes and making cutouts by hand is hard on tooling. Depending on the enclosure material, drill bits can wear out after about 150 holes. Saw blades, especially when cutting stainless steel, can wear out in just minutes.
With benefits such as precision cutting, fast turnaround times, and labor-savings, outsourcing your enclosure modifications to Steiner can be a good decision in many ways.