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Polycarbonate enclosures provide robust protection

A Spelsberg product story
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Edited by the Electronicstalk editorial team Jan 8, 2007

Spelsberg TK enclosures are being used to house an innovative laptop charging systems and connectivity hubs used for classrooms around the world.

Spelsberg TK enclosures are being used to house an innovative laptop charging systems and connectivity hubs used for classrooms around the world.

Designed and built by Hillbrow (UK), the Desktop Power Management Chargers and Hubs are distributed by market leader Bretford Mfg as part of a wide range of classroom IT support products that are proven to survive the rigours of working in schools for up to ten years.

Spelsberg tough polycarbonate TK enclosures provide robust protection for the wiring, plug sockets and overload protection circuits, while remaining pleasing to the eye and having no sharp edges.

Spelsberg predrills and machines the enclosures to close tolerances ready for Hillbrow to assemble the units, cutting assembly time and production costs significantly.

Several machining operations are carried out to accommodate sockets, switches and warning lights etc.

Stephen Rolph, MD of Hillbrow (UK) comments: "Working with Spelsberg UK has been very easy, the staff are positive and knowledgeable and our being able to subcontract the machining is a real bonus for us, reducing the pressure on our own manufacturing resources".

"Full safety certification is readily available from them and Spelsberg UK is sufficiently forward looking that we had no difficulties in complying with the new RoHS Directive".

"This is especially important when manufacturing product which will be used by children and teachers alike".

Graham Fox, Spelsberg UK MD adds: "The use of polycarbonate in this environment is ideal, as the units have to last up to ten years of 'normal' use; the material is impact resistant, will not corrode and won't become brittle due to UV exposure, it is also inert".

"The unit features 16 top-mounted IEC sockets with Y-leads for connection to the laptops power pack".

"During development the aperture positions were tested in order to populate the lid fully but make sure that there was enough material to support the socket blocks when a number of attempts were made to force plugs in the wrong way".

Computers are now an essential feature of most children's education at school and laptops are a popular choice as they can be cleared away easily when they are not being used.

In order to ensure a smooth running lesson they also have to work reliably, and since battery life can be variable equipment that can accommodate and power for up to 16 laptops and charge them at the same time is very useful.

The Desktop Power Management Charger ensures the laptops also remain charged ready for the next class.

From a safety point of view they reduce the amount of cables running across the floor and incorporate a power management system that regulates the amount of current being drawn from the building circuits providing secondary overload protection.

Each unit is fully tested and certified to BS6396:2002 and EN60950:2002.

A typical laptop unit when connected to the mains supply can have an inrush current of around 14A for 2ms.

Therefore an accessory unit for charging 16 units has a potential inrush current of 224A.

This is sufficient to trip a circuit breaker in the mains wiring of the building and can cause much disruption if an entire floor or wing is without electricity.

To help schools minimise these difficulties an electronic module has been developed to restrict the inrush current until it settles.

Diagnostic lights are also fitted to show correct operation or fault conditions plus the fuses that protect the IEC sockets have a "fuse fail" indicator which shows red should a fuse fail thus helping a school get the best from the equipment.

Spelsberg TK enclosures offer IP66 ingress protection, the polycarbonate version of TK is available UL and EX approved and all are available from stock in a wide range of sizes.

Machining and assembly services are all located onsite at the company's Telford HQ, ensuring consistent quality and fast turnaround times.

Spelsberg offers the widest selection of plastic enclosures ex-stock in the country along with immediate access to technical support and next day delivery on all standard items.

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