If the proper planning is executed from the beginning of the process, finding the best computer enclosure does not have to be overwhelming. Setting aside time for adequate research is the best course of action and will pay off in the long run. Keep in mind: not every enclosure company has the same product for the same price, and appropriate product comparisons should be made and reviewed.
What steps should be completed to find the perfect solution?
6 Steps to Specifying the Best Computer Enclosure for the Job:
- Define Requirements
Meet with the team members involved on the enclosure expansion to clearly define the computer enclosure requirements. Important items to consider, include the NEMA rating, power supply, locks, hinges, window choices, thermal management, environmental temperature extremes, space requirements to house electronics (computer, monitor, printer, UPS, etc.), and the overall durability of the enclosure material. If every team member is on the same page at the beginning, there will be no surprises when the equipment arrives on site.
Complete the necessary homework! Every enclosure company is going to make claims that they offer the highest quality computer enclosures on the market. However, if you dig a little deeper, you will find that the materials and hardware used – to build some enclosures – are flimsy. In the end, experience speaks for itself. To make sure you are purchasing the best product, submit the clearly defined project requirements to enclosure providers for a recommendation on their best product. Also, do not overlook the length of the warranty being offered. This could help down the road, if something unexpected occurs.
- Choose the Best Supplier
When possible, evaluate a potential computer enclosure in person, or inquire if an evaluation unit is available. Most companies are willing to send one unit for a hands-on review, in anticipation of selling multiple units after the evaluation period is over. Companies with heavy duty units are always eager to send over a sample unit, because it will likely impress the end user. If an evaluation unit is not available, ask the enclosure supplier for a list of referrals of similar companies that they have worked with on previous projects.
Once it is determined what (product) and who (enclosure supplier) has the best solution for the project, obtain a competitive price quote. Too often, customers ‘ballpark’ their budget far too low in the beginning and do not perform the correct evaluation of the products available on the market. Poor initial budgets could equate to sacrificing enclosure quality, which may end up costing a company more money over the course of time.
- Create a Timeline
From electronics to accessories, understand the lead time for all the items required to properly execute a successful computer enclosure plan. Enclosure suppliers always have a handful of best-selling products ‘in stock,’ which means the lead time should only be a few days. However, if a specialized project requires a custom-made enclosure, then the lead time can be extensive. At times, a customer may need an enclosure solution in two weeks, but in order to fabricate a new product, the lead time could take up to 2 months. This will create headaches for everyone involved in the process. Failing to prepare – in a timely manner – may result in expedite fees to meet the company’s “go live” date.
If all of the ducks are in a row, executing the project will prove to be the easiest part! Be sure to assign a project manager to keep everything moving on the right track. In the end, if the plan was implemented properly, then the project will be a huge success. Also, save the enclosure supplier’s number or email, because you may want to order more units in the future!
Poor planning may result in poor product choices. In order to get the right product for the job, always ask questions (and more questions) during the process. How much will this cost? Will the chosen enclosure be best for my environment? What is the lead time? How will this ship? Can this product have thermal management? Can a printer fit? How will power enter the enclosure? These are just a few of the queries to ponder.
Detailed research is always the best course of action. When it comes to purchasing new computer enclosures, it is always good to have a strategy.