It’s often said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. It’s a pithy saying that manages to convey a very important point in a small amount of space. But it’s also worth really delving into exactly why it’s so important to the industrial and manufacturing sector.
We often focus on the sheer amount of power involved with industrial manufacturing. It’s filled with examples of some of the most powerful motors or constructive forces in the world. The amount of power that’s needed to run even a small manufacturing plant is impressive. But amid that we often forget just how fragile some of the components involved with this process are. For example, computers are needed to run or at least configure many types of equipment. But, computers are typically fairly fragile.
One somewhat ironic piece of this puzzle comes from a manufacturing component. The same process which uses those computers also creates a material that can protect them. The end result are rugged computers. A hardened computer is a system which can stand up to an unusual amount of environmental stress. And it’s usually done thanks to rubber casing and components. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t something limited to specific products or industries.
A rugged computer is a given within the manufacturing and industrial sector. But it’s also something that people can benefit from for their own projects or products. This is often the missing piece for people interested in taking their projects to the next level. The main reason is that most hobbyist projects and prototypes put a heavy focus on functionality. It’s quite reasonable for someone to start out their project that way. After all, something that looks good but doesn’t work won’t get much attention. Or if it’s made for personal use than it would be even more pointless to have a device that can’t do anything.
This often means that people end up with a great product that lacks anything remotely like a useful casing. This is where some people look into some custom manufactured rubber products. One can often just create the proper casing in standard engineering software. From there it can be scaled to one’s needs in the manufacturing process.
The most basic benefit is standard for any casing. A hard rubber casing will protect electronics from the basic environmental dangers such as dust or debris. Not to mention that it’ll protect vulnerable motors. But rubber provides a few extra benefits when compared to standard options. One of the most important is that it’s stronger and more durable than most other casing types. If the internal components are secure the case can usually protect a device from fairly significant concussive damage.
Rubber is also inherently waterproof. Waterproofing is normally one of the more difficult aspects of electronic design. By using rubber, one can essentially get this important point as a side effect of the design process. And finally, one can usually mold the rubber to some unique forms which wouldn’t be nearly as easy with other methods. A rugged design is important when it comes to functionality. But it also provides a number of aesthetic and usability benefits.