There are many different reasons to build an enclosure (or a partial enclosure, often called a safety guard), and it’s one of the most common framing structures we produce here at Motion Ai. We assemble custom enclosures weekly using aluminum t-slot extrusions for various applications. The main reasons our customers build custom enclosures are as follows:
Dangerous flying debris is a leading cause of injury in the workplace, and an enclosure can insulate workers from machines or processes that could produce airborne hazards.
If an internal machine or process produces dangerous fumes or particulates, an enclosure can prevent or reduce those contaminants from entering the worker’s environment. Sometimes, these enclosures are designed for fume extraction or have a HEPA filter mounted on the top of the unit.
Some enclosures are required to purify the air coming into the unit or maintain specific humidity levels so that scientific testing or other processes can be done more reliably.
Many types of research use enclosures to protect workers from accidental splashing or exposure to blood-borne pathogens, drugs, or other dangerous fluids.
This is the type of enclosure everyone is most familiar with. It prevents a person from injuring their hand or finger in a machine. In many manufacturing environments, enclosures and safety guards made from t-slot extrusions provide extra safety for workers around machines that could hurt them. While common sense would assume you would avoid dangerous machines, OSHA has determined that specific devices require an enclosure or safety guarding to prevent worker injuries. Did you know that OSHA-approved safety guards need a tool to remove them? If you have a simple latch or thumb wheel, that’s outside the OSHA code.
Enclosures are often recommended for noisy machines or other loud processes to protect nearby workers’ hearing and improve workplace satisfaction. Use thicker materials and gaskets on the panels and doors to enhance noise reduction.
Some enclosures house lasers and other lighting that can damage your eyes. Special types of plastics are used for the viewing panes of these enclosures so operators can see what is going on without jeopardizing their eyes or health. They are not cheap, but neither are lasers.
Sometimes, enclosures are used to keep things clean in between manufacturing processes or during temporary storage.
Some enclosures are needed to keep valuable items secure. These enclosures can be very large, like a tool room at an automotive manufacturer or a chip storage room at a computer manufacturer. Some are small and mobile – like a rolling cart locked with medicine in a hospital environment.
Once you identify why you need an enclosure, the next step is to choose from one of two general varieties: encapsulating or partial enclosures.
Partial enclosures are made to sit directly on the floor or on top of a table. They usually do not include all six sides. The machine or process to be enclosed is often already at its location, and it would be too difficult or costly to move it. So, the enclosure must be built around an existing item. For example, a large plastic injection molding machine or a printing press is usually mounted directly to the floor. Consequently, an enclosure would have to be built around it.
Encapsulating enclosures are made to fully contain a device, process, room, or even a living thing like a snake at the zoo. These enclosures give the owner more control over what goes on inside them – often to prevent mixing what happens inside with what happens outside. As mentioned, preventing debris, fumes, noise, particulates, or liquids from interacting with the outer work environment is a common goal.
Enclosures built from t-slot aluminum extrusions by Motion Ai are designed in partnership with our customers to meet any requirements. We utilize professional CAD software to create and illustrate the enclosure’s features to customers and ensure all machining and cutting of components are done precisely. Building an enclosure with t-slot aluminum extrusions can be fun and informative for simple or basic solutions.
Ready to get started? Contact us today.