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An On-Site Metal Shop

Previous Page: Better Circuit Boards Through Automation
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An on-site metal shop that turns "weeks" into "minutes"

Jet
The water jet can cut custom
cases in a matter of minutes

There aren't any stops in the manufacturing process - cases are built at the same time that circuit boards are made. DPS's in-house metal shop perfectly illustrates the virtues of vertical integration. If metal work was outsourced to a stamp-and-die works, it would take up to six weeks to complete a design. If a design needed to be changed, that would take another six weeks. The DPS solution? A 50,000 PSI water jet that cuts metal to a tolerance of 0.004 inches in less than five minutes.

The metal cut by the water jet is then shaped by the press brake, which operates with 10 tons of hydraulic pressure. The press brake is computer-controlled, fast, and precise. The shaped case is coated with a powder coating that's more durable, scratch-resistant and rust-resistant. This creates a weather tolerance far higher than that provided by regular paint. The powder is fused to the metal with 15,000 volts of static electricity, then baked to seal the finish.

Metal Shop
In-house circuit board production
at DPS is highly efficient

"The powder won't flake, it won't fall off, it won't let moisture and rust in," said Rinehart. Case graphics for control and connector labels are silk-screened onto the case. The design is created using graphics software, and from there the design goes straight to the software controlling the silkscreen machine. Changing the silkscreen to accommodate a client's custom design requires only a new design file.

After the silkscreen is applied, the case is baked a second time to make sure the finish is extra durable.


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