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Enclosure assembly service removes production bottleneck

Enclosure assembly service removes production bottleneck When increasing growth at Bond Display Cabinets meant that assembling and wiring control boxes for its refrigerated display cabinets was proving a production bottleneck, the company looked into the possibility of finding an enclosure who could supply fully assembled enclosures as a single part.

Based in Telford, Bond Display Cabinets designs, develops and manufactures refrigerated display cabinets specifically for the UK market, The company designs and builds in the UK offering a full range of backup services to support the products, including delivery, installation, engineering design and project management.

Established in 1976, The Bond Group has grown to become the UK's leading refrigeration manufacturing, remanufacturing and refurbishment company. The refrigerated display units meet the needs of UK retailers through energy efficient designs which reduce running costs. The energy efficiency means that many of the cabinets are covered under the government's Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) Scheme, enabling businesses to claim 100% first-year capital allowances on qualifying capital equipment. To qualify for the ECAs, equipment must meet stringent thresholds for the use of energy and be independently tested and certified as such.

Features such as this have seen Bond's business growing rapidly in recent years, and the company began looking at how it could streamline some of its production processes. One particular bottleneck was in the populating and wiring of the control enclosures.

Bond Display Cabinets Managing Director Harish Chander comments: "We had been buying in metal enclosures, and then machining and assembling them in house. But we decided to look into the possibility of outsourcing this work. We needed a company which could not only provide the required enclosures, but which would also offer the flexibility to take in any design modifications quickly and cost-effectively as changes to the specification arose, but which could also supply the enclosures in small batches, rather than us having to buy large numbers at a time and then having to store them until needed."

Coincidentally, engineers from Spelsberg had visited Bond Display Cabinets to discuss the benefits of changing over from a metal enclosure to a plastic enclosure, highlighting the benefits of its TK range. This meeting proved highly serendipitous, when it became clear that Spelsberg could also CNC machine the enclosures, fit them with the required DIN rail, terminals, switches, control unit, MCBs, etc, and complete all the necessary wiring.

The TK enclosure range includes hundreds of sizes and options. They are manufactured in high strength plastic that provides a rugged housing for sensitive electrical and electronic equipment. The plastic will not corrode, provides protection from UV, is designed to resist mechanical impact, and offers protection to IP66 as standard.

"We had some samples made, and did some price comparisons, and the Spelsberg units compared extremely favourably," says Harish. "In addition, where we managed to get equivalent quotes, they were generally from overseas suppliers that committed us to buying large numbers of enclosures in each batch. That would mean we were simply putting lots of enclosures into storage for long periods of time, and that we wouldn't have the flexibility to make changes to the specification as and when they were needed. Spelsberg, by contrast, is located very near to us and was happy to supply the lower numbers we were after."

There are other benefits, too. Because the TK enclosures are sealed to IP66 protection as standard, they guarantee protection from the ingress of dust and water, while offering protection against severe temperatures. "As you'd imagine, supermarkets and other retail outlets are not particularly challenging environments," comments Harish. "But we are often delivering the display units in the rain and in less than pleasant conditions, and the IP66 protection just provides the extra assurance that everything within the enclosure is safe."

Further, as more retail businesses look to move to natural and environmentally friendly refrigerants, hydrocarbons are becoming increasingly common, replacing the more aggressive refrigerants that had previously been used. Typical hydrocarbon refrigerants include propane and propene. Although completely safe as refrigerants, the flammability of these compounds has to be considered. With the high protection rating of the Spelsberg TK enclosures, in the event of a refrigerant leak there is never the risk of the hydrocarbon coming into contact with the electrical equipment.

Bond Display Cabinets made the switch to the Spelsberg TK enclosures over 12 months ago, and is extremely pleased both with the enclosures themselves and with Spelsberg's overall service. Harish concludes: "The enclosures ideally suited for use in the display cabinets, and the machining and assembly service has proved excellent. Finding all of this in a company just a few miles from our base in Telford instead of some remote overseas location has also meant a much closer working relationship, and we are reaping the benefits as our cabinet designs evolve."
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