Frequently Asked Questions

Custom enclosures - what can you offer?

It’s often a race against time to get enclosures for new products designed and manufactured. Waiting until electronics and internal workings are finalised can leave you very short on time, but the good news is, there are lots of options and Plunkett Associates is here to help.

What are the options?

Some parameters such as strength, fire retardancy and ingress protection will be dictated by the product’s application. Others, such as cosmetics, design, and branding will depend on lead-time and budget.

Enclosure options range from standard off the shelf designs to using 3D Printing to create a highly customised case. Whilst each option has advantages and disadvantages, the perceived ideal is an injection moulded custom enclosure. Many people wouldn’t consider injection moulding for low volume, but we’re happy to dispel some of the myths, such as:

‘Injection moulding is too expensive’ - Actually moulding is likely to give the cheapest unit price per enclosure of all the options. It is the associated tooling that can seem expensive, but there are ways to address this. For example, using a standardised mould frame negates the need for a bolster. Alternatively using loose inserts within the tool can save on automating the release of undercuts or threads.

‘My quantities are too low’ – Plunkett Associates has moulded batch sizes down as low as 50.

‘I do not have time’ - If the design is in place, tooling can be completed in two weeks.

‘I do not have a designer’ – Plunkett Associates can offer support on Solidworks to generate a design from your concept or interface requirements.

Custom enclosuresThere are many advantages to a custom moulded enclosure, including the fact that there are a wide range of materials and finishes available, which can be complemented with screen printing or labels. The quality/finish is similar to mainstream high volume products and the geometry can be tailored to suit the particular electronics, connectors, and displays. Sealing (Ingress Protection) can also be addressed if required.

The Key to Success

The key to success is in the design and ensuring that this is optimised for the process. Thus whether working from concept sketches or a detailed design (destined of CNC machining or 3D Printing) the manufacturing process has a very significant bearing. Ensuring that the interfaces are defined, i.e. size of pcb, fixing points, screen location, switch/button size and operation, will also help.

If the design already exists, but is based on a different process, then we will need to review it to see whether injection moulding is feasible. The process is usually relatively quick and prevents expensive issues being rectified at a later date.

We’ll check whether the part contains undercuts that can be re-engineered, wall sections that will give rise to sinkage, negligible draft and/or be devoid of fillet radii. We may discover that the part is mouldable, but the resultant tooling will have very thin walls, or vulnerable features – although these can be rectified if identified early enough. Parting lines will be a consequence of draft and geometry, but also need to be checked against the parts cosmetic requirements.Mouldflow

Should the geometry warrant it, Plunkett Associates can then run the part through Moldflow to look at how the part will fill. This not only provides a ‘confidence of fill‘, but illustrates where potential weld lines will occur, ramifications of selecting certain gate locations, injection pressure, time of fill and gives an overall quality prediction.

What happens next?

Given a mouldable part, the next step is to decide how and where to undertake the tooling and moulding. Options include UK or the Far East, aluminium or steel, and manual or fully automatic. Factors such as quantity required, future call off, material availability, post moulding operations (screen printing, inserts etc), size and customer preference all influence the decision.

Plunkett Associates will supply quotations that include initial samples and importation costs if appropriate. We will also manage the entire process from initial order to final delivery.

How much and how long?

Cost and leadtime are very specific to each project. However, if we were to take a simple two piece enclosure comprising a back box and bezel, that was subject to no special sealing requirements, then design, tooling and first off parts can be achievable in 3 - 5 weeks and at a cost of between £4,000 and £6,000.

The danger of suggesting costs is that everyone translates it against their particular components, so please get in touch if you have a specific project in mind. Yes, we can go faster and yes, some tools will cost a lot less. However, it is also true to say others will take longer and cost substantially more!

The more information you can supply, the quicker we can get it made. Low volume does not mean you cannot have a unique, injection moulded enclosure, to brand and promote your product.

  • “Plunkett Associates have excellent breadth of experience, work with high quality partners and have a flexibility that we have found enables challenges to be met successfully, cost effectively and in a timely manner.”
    Nick Skaer, CEO, Orthox Ltd
  • Plunkett associates always find a solution. Whatever we need to prototype, they have a great grasp on the technologies available, costs and lead-times so we get the right solution tailored to the project needs. Have always delivered and never let us down.
    Naim Audio
  • “I can’t recommend Tim and his team highly enough. We ended up with a design which can be produced and assembled quickly, efficiently and reliably, in volumes that make sense”
    Simon Leggett, Director, Olivewood Technology
  • "Tim's experience, expertise and supplier base have been fundamental to us getting this project off the ground."
    Sam Pearce, Jelly Products Ltd
  • “We were really surprised at how quickly they turned round such a high quality prototype and the parts certainly proved their worth. They were of high enough quality to provide a fantastic visual representation and to undergo rigorous testing."
    Stuart Wilson, Design Director, TRT Lighting
  • “Accuracy, finish and delivery all first class.”
    Andrew Peters, JMDA Ltd
  • “We use Plunkett Associates because we want someone we can trust, that knows what they’re talking about, has all the contacts, will provide reliable advice and feedback and will get the right result for us.”
    Jim Copestick. Design Manager, Thorlux Lighting
  • “We always know exactly what we’re getting and we know we won’t be let down on quality, price or lead times.”
    Mark Williams, Research and Development Director, Johnson Safety Products
  • “Plunkett Associates truly offer a complete turnkey solution with Speed, Effectiveness and Precision.”
    David Harden, Director, Enica Ltd
  • “Kirintec were thrilled with Plunketts. They made a complex process simple and we were just amazed at the lead times achieved. Plus, every single deadline was met without any drama.”
    Penny While, Marketing Director, Kirintec
  • “Thanks to Plunkett Associates flexible, bespoke and cost effective service I was able to produce the objects that I had originally had in mind.”
    Simon Ryder, Artist
  • To create such a consistent quality finish in chrome was an amazing achievement and the prototypes really gave our stand the wow factor.
    James Clark, Group Commercial Director, The Airdri Group
  • Interestingly, people who look at it in its own right with little knowledge of what it does, just like it! It’s tactile and it looks good…
    Tim Collings, Operations Director, Troika Systems Ltd
  • "With their simple to understand language, willingness to go the extra mile and approachability, Plunkett Associates were a great partner for our company. We couldn’t be happier with the results of our project. (A working prototype that they got right first time, by the way). Thank you!"
    Carolina Ballon-Forrester, Director, Kittyrama Ltd
  • Plunkett Associates worked on the design and production of titanium frames for an artificial heart valve where precision and consistency was paramount. Communications were efficient and productive with concepts readily incorporated into the final design, and suggestions for improvements all highly appropriate. The quality of the end product was ideal and I have no doubt that I will use the advice and expertise of Plunkett Associates again.
    David Wheatley, Wheatley Research Ltd
  • “Thanks for the present that arrived this morning, as promised. Parts look first class, as always.”
    Jon Todd, Design Manager, PHS Group
  • “Plunkett Associates have a fantastic supply chain, work with all sorts of production processes and will always do their utmost to solve a problem.”
    Naim Audio
  • “ Plunketts developed a solution that met our precision requirements at a cost significantly lower than alternative manufacturing approaches we had investigated”
    Nick Skaer, CEO, Orthox Ltd
  • “Doing business with you has been an absolute pleasure. You have made my goals a reality. You have been patient, helpful and above all, responsive. Best service that I have experienced in ages. I consider Plunkett Associates to be an integral part of my business plan moving forward.”
    Jet Cooper, Sculptor
Related Processes

CNC Machining

The benefits of CNC parts include substantial flexibility in material choice, high accuracy and repeatability.

more info

Injection Moulding

Produces production intent material properties. Injection Moulding is used for development as well as production parts.

more info

3D Printing

Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), Polyjet, Digital Light Process (DLP); all are quick and provide a degree of accuracy that satisfies most design requirements. But which is the best option?

more info

Read more expert articles in our FAQ section where we discuss topics on materials, methods and products.

Back to FAQs
  • “Plunkett Associates have excellent breadth of experience, work with high quality partners and have a flexibility that we have found enables challenges to be met successfully, cost effectively and in a timely manner.”
    Nick Skaer, CEO, Orthox Ltd
    Nick Skaer, CEO, Orthox Ltd
  • Plunkett associates always find a solution. Whatever we need to prototype, they have a great grasp on the technologies available, costs and lead-times so we get the right solution tailored to the project needs. Have always delivered and never let us down.
    Naim Audio
    Naim Audio
  • “I can’t recommend Tim and his team highly enough. We ended up with a design which can be produced and assembled quickly, efficiently and reliably, in volumes that make sense”
    Simon Leggett, Director, Olivewood Technology
    Simon Leggett, Director,  Olivewood Technology
  • "Tim's experience, expertise and supplier base have been fundamental to us getting this project off the ground."
    Sam Pearce, Jelly Products Ltd
    Sam Pearce, Jelly Products Ltd
  • “We were really surprised at how quickly they turned round such a high quality prototype and the parts certainly proved their worth. They were of high enough quality to provide a fantastic visual representation and to undergo rigorous testing."
    Stuart Wilson, Design Director, TRT Lighting
    Stuart Wilson, Design Director, TRT Lighting
  • “Accuracy, finish and delivery all first class.”
    Andrew Peters, JMDA Ltd
    Andrew Peters, JMDA Ltd
  • “We use Plunkett Associates because we want someone we can trust, that knows what they’re talking about, has all the contacts, will provide reliable advice and feedback and will get the right result for us.”
    Jim Copestick. Design Manager, Thorlux Lighting
    Jim Copestick. Design Manager, Thorlux Lighting
  • “We always know exactly what we’re getting and we know we won’t be let down on quality, price or lead times.”
    Mark Williams, Research and Development Director, Johnson Safety Products
    Mark Williams, Research and Development Director, Johnson Safety Products
  • “Plunkett Associates truly offer a complete turnkey solution with Speed, Effectiveness and Precision.”
    David Harden, Director, Enica Ltd
    David Harden, Director, Enica Ltd
  • “Kirintec were thrilled with Plunketts. They made a complex process simple and we were just amazed at the lead times achieved. Plus, every single deadline was met without any drama.”
    Penny While, Marketing Director, Kirintec
    Penny While, Marketing Director, Kirintec
  • “Thanks to Plunkett Associates flexible, bespoke and cost effective service I was able to produce the objects that I had originally had in mind.”
    Simon Ryder, Artist
    Simon Ryder, Artist
  • To create such a consistent quality finish in chrome was an amazing achievement and the prototypes really gave our stand the wow factor.
    James Clark, Group Commercial Director, The Airdri Group
    James Clark, Group Commercial Director, The Airdri Group
  • Interestingly, people who look at it in its own right with little knowledge of what it does, just like it! It’s tactile and it looks good…
    Tim Collings, Operations Director, Troika Systems Ltd
    Tim Collings, Operations Director, Troika Systems Ltd
  • "With their simple to understand language, willingness to go the extra mile and approachability, Plunkett Associates were a great partner for our company. We couldn’t be happier with the results of our project. (A working prototype that they got right first time, by the way). Thank you!"
    Carolina Ballon-Forrester, Director, Kittyrama Ltd
    Carolina Ballon-Forrester, Director, Kittyrama Ltd
  • Plunkett Associates worked on the design and production of titanium frames for an artificial heart valve where precision and consistency was paramount. Communications were efficient and productive with concepts readily incorporated into the final design, and suggestions for improvements all highly appropriate. The quality of the end product was ideal and I have no doubt that I will use the advice and expertise of Plunkett Associates again.
    David Wheatley, Wheatley Research Ltd
    David Wheatley, Wheatley Research Ltd
  • “Thanks for the present that arrived this morning, as promised. Parts look first class, as always.”
    Jon Todd, Design Manager, PHS Group
    Jon Todd, Design Manager, PHS Group
  • “Plunkett Associates have a fantastic supply chain, work with all sorts of production processes and will always do their utmost to solve a problem.”
    Naim Audio
    Naim Audio
  • “ Plunketts developed a solution that met our precision requirements at a cost significantly lower than alternative manufacturing approaches we had investigated”
    Nick Skaer, CEO, Orthox Ltd
    Nick Skaer, CEO, Orthox Ltd
  • “Doing business with you has been an absolute pleasure. You have made my goals a reality. You have been patient, helpful and above all, responsive. Best service that I have experienced in ages. I consider Plunkett Associates to be an integral part of my business plan moving forward.”
    Jet Cooper, Sculptor
    Jet Cooper, Sculptor