mobile | classic
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology Magazine

Follow us on:
Follow us on Facebook Share via Twitter Share via LinkedIn


Electronics Buyers' Guide

Electronics Manufacturing & Production Handbook 2019


Electronic housings with standardised interfaces
12 September 2018, Enclosures, Racks, Cabinets & Panel Products

High-performing, easily adaptable and highly available – for quite some time now embedded systems have been more than just invisible mini-computers.

In decentralised automation structures, they fulfil an assortment of control, regulation and communication functions. Thanks to the rapid increase in the performance of integrated software and hardware, embedded systems play a key role in the efficient networking of autonomous functions to complex, complete systems.

Complexity of requirements

Current technological developments – Industry 4.0, Internet of Things, e-mobility, energy efficiency – call on developers of embedded systems to meet a variety of requirements. Extreme miniaturisation, continuously growing computing power and efficient communication between systems in a network have long become routine.

The major areas of focus for users of embedded systems are the reliability of the electronics as well as the suitability for trendsetting applications. And the desire for high flexibility and long-term availability consistently plays a key role in this context.

The development of electronic devices based on embedded systems boasts many advantages for device manufacturers, and they can respond swiftly to new market requirements. A comprehensive range of components on the market reduces development work, meaning the device manufacturer also benefits economically from the time saved. With the symbiosis of adaptive housing solutions and standardised interfaces, Phoenix Contact offers reliable solutions based on established standards and common norms for different market requirements.

The Universal Case System ‘UCS’

Device manufacturers use both standardised and in-house developed printed circuit boards, which require a housing that effectively protects against environmental impacts. The market offers an almost inconceivably large number of enclosure systems serving this purpose. The systems are manufactured either specifically for an application, or basic housings are modified for the respective application at great expense.

Figure 1. Numerous interfaces and mounting options simplify the integration of devices.
Figure 1. Numerous interfaces and mounting options simplify the integration of devices.

If the electronics are to be used both inside and outside the control cabinet, then different housing solutions are required, and oftentimes housings are purchased from different manufacturers. More and more device manufacturers also want to stand out from the competition through the sophisticated design of their devices, and they want to be able to respond quickly to customer-specific requirements. This is where the modular design of the Universal Case System (UCS) is particularly advantageous to the device manufacturer seeking the right solution for their electronics (Figure 1).

The UCS housing consists of two identical half-shells, removable side panels and colour-contrasting corner inserts. If more installation space is required for the same area, the system offers an interesting solution: side panels and screws are replaced by a 20 mm higher version and supplemented by a height adaptor. This makes it easy to generate a new housing size.

The design can also be easily modified using other colours or materials. Corner inserts and half-shells can still be used. The UCS system was designed so that the longer side panel can also be used as the shorter side panel in the next larger housing variant. The advantage here is that the easy-to-machine side panel for integrating the corresponding interfaces is available for various applications.

Variable or fixed PCB mounting

The Universal Case System offers two ways of mounting PCBs. In order to make maximum use of the PCB surface, the PCBs are fixed directly to the corner insert with an integrated screw boss. If maximum flexibility is to be achieved in the positioning of the PCBs, the corner inserts are used without the integrated screw boss.

To fasten the PCB, specially designed screw bosses are used that are simply glued in place. This allows different PCBs to be accommodated in one housing. The modular UCS housing also offers the possibility of positioning several PCBs in each of the two half-shells.

Connections for efficient wiring

Figure 2. Connectors for different pitches are available for efficient wiring of the PCB.
Figure 2. Connectors for different pitches are available for efficient wiring of the PCB.

The housing itself is one strength of the UCS. The other strength is the universal and standardised interfaces – on the PCB and externally. With COMBICON, a product range that has been on the market for decades, Phoenix Contact has appropriate interfaces on offer here (Figure 2). The range includes screw or push-in spring connections, PCB terminal blocks and connectors. Common manufacturing processes such as soldering, press-fitting or direct plugging are also supported.

Connection technology requirements on the PCB have changed in recent years. Today the type of connection technology, the required installation space on the PCB and the soldering process itself play a major role. In the field of connection technology, the push-in spring connection is now largely established on the market and has excelled in particular. With the push-in connection, rigid and stranded conductors with ferrules can be connected simply by plugging them in, without having to open the terminal compartment.

Miniaturisation also does not stop at the components on the PCB. Here, too, a comprehensive product range of corresponding connectors is available. These connectors, which have been designed for high contact density, can also be easily handled in SMD (surface-mounted device) and THR (through hole reflow) soldering processes.

Signals, data and power

Intelligent devices based on embedded systems only achieve their high functionality with appropriate device interfaces and transmission solutions. Passive connection components such as device and field connectors determine how functional a device is and how flexibly it can be adapted to different areas of application.

Figure 3. By integrating all conventional device connections, the UCS housing achieves a high level of functionality.
Figure 3. By integrating all conventional device connections, the UCS housing achieves a high level of functionality.

For the transmission of signals, data and power, Phoenix Contact has its PLUSCON connector range, which has also been available on the market for decades (Figure 3). The M5 to M12 circular connectors can be used to implement universal cabling systems.

In order to integrate these optimally into the embedded systems, the circular connector solutions are available for all common soldering processes. They also feature all the conventional pin assignments with an identical design-in design. This means that matching PCB and device panel levels can be implemented in devices of the same size.

The connectors from the PLUSCON data product range were designed for secure and reliable data transmission. With their industrial design and innovative connection technology, these connectors add important external functions to the UCS housing solution.


The market for embedded systems will continue to grow strongly, especially in view of the major transformations being brought about by Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things. In this dynamic environment, manufacturers of electronic devices need universal and flexible housing solutions.

The Universal Case System and the numerous connection technologies offer manufacturers great potential for implementing creative product ideas. In particular, the modular design of the housing and standardised connection technologies reduce production costs and enable the device manufacturer to quickly and easily meet market requirements.

For more information contact Richard Schoonebeek, Phoenix Contact, +27 11 801 8200,,

Supplied By: Phoenix Contact
Tel: +27 11 801 8200
Fax: +27 11 793 4403
  Share on Facebook Share via Twitter Share via LinkedIn    

Further reading:

  • Digital workflow eases selection of Schroff products
    28 August 2019, Actum Electronics, Enclosures, Racks, Cabinets & Panel Products
    nVent Schroff has a series of coordinated services that simplify and speed up the digital workflow from selection to delivery of Schroff products. Now when users search for products on
  • Sealed enclosures for industrial electronics
    26 June 2019, Electrocomp, Enclosures, Racks, Cabinets & Panel Products
    Hammond Manufacturing has added 36 new configurations to its 1554 and 1555 sealed enclosure families for Industry 4.0. Available in ABS or polycarbonate with styled, opaque, clear or smoked lids, the ...
  • ebm-papst expands AxiBlade fan range
    26 June 2019, Ebmpapst South Africa, Enclosures, Racks, Cabinets & Panel Products
    Axial fans, which are used in air-conditioning and refrigeration systems such as evaporators, condensers and heat pumps, must fulfil high requirements with regard to air flow, energy efficiency and noise. ...
  • Verotec supplies turnkey enclosure for NMR monitoring
    26 June 2019, Vepac Electronics, Enclosures, Racks, Cabinets & Panel Products
    TgK Scientific’s InsightXpress new stop-flow delivery pumps enable the screening of reaction conditions by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) at an unprecedented speed for industrial and academic scientists ...
  • Verotec VMEbus hardware chosen for anti-tank system
    29 May 2019, Vepac Electronics, Enclosures, Racks, Cabinets & Panel Products
    Verotec has been selected by a top 10 global defence contractor to supply seven different variants of VMEbus system hardware, backplanes and PSU sub-systems for a land-based US anti-tank system. The ...
  • Aluminium profile enclosures
    29 May 2019, Avnet South Africa, Enclosures, Racks, Cabinets & Panel Products
    In addition to its wide range of plastic enclosures, OKW also offers elegant aluminium enclosures. The two product groups, Synergy and Smart-Terminal, feature good stability, heat dissipation and a high-quality ...
  • Outdoor housings in compact format
    29 May 2019, Phoenix Contact, Enclosures, Racks, Cabinets & Panel Products
    The outdoor housings of the Phoenix Contact ECS series are now also available in a more compact design. The shorter installation depth of 109 mm – instead of 169 mm – is especially suitable for space-critical ...
  • Ventilated sensor enclosures
    27 March 2019, Electrocomp, Enclosures, Racks, Cabinets & Panel Products
    The new 1551V miniature ventilated sensor enclosures from Hammond Manufacturing are designed to house sensors and small sub-systems installed in the manufacturing environment as part of IoT (Internet ...
  • Electronics housings for harsh environments
    27 March 2019, Phoenix Contact, Enclosures, Racks, Cabinets & Panel Products
    Phoenix Contact has introduced new electronics housings for especially harsh ambient conditions. The robust housings of the ECS series, with IP69 degree of protection, are suited for a broad temperature ...
  • Extruded aluminium enclosures
    27 March 2019, Sivan Electronic Supplies, Enclosures, Racks, Cabinets & Panel Products
    The extruded aluminium enclosures of Gainta’s ALUG7XX series are available in different sizes, with lengths suitable for indoor desktop device or outdoor wall-mounting junction/control box use. Five ...
  • Enclosure front-panel customisation service
    27 March 2019, Actum Electronics, Enclosures, Racks, Cabinets & Panel Products
    Pentair offers a wide choice of front panels and plug-in units for all kinds of electronics applications, and complements this with Front Panel Express, a rapid customisation service for all 19” and standard ...
  • Rack-mount and desktop 19” enclosures
    30 January 2019, Communica, Enclosures, Racks, Cabinets & Panel Products
    Hammond Manufacturing has introduced 4U high versions and added extended 559 mm depths to all heights of its RM family of 1U to 4U 19” rack-mounting and desktop enclosures. 1U to 3U half-width versions ...

Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd
1st Floor, Stabilitas House
265 Kent Ave, Randburg, 2194
South Africa
Publications by Technews
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology
Electronics Buyers’ Guide (EBG)

Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Business Directory

Motion Control in Southern Africa
Motion Control Buyers’ Guide (MCBG)

South African Instrumentation & Control
South African Instrumentation & Control Buyers’ Guide (IBG)
Terms & conditions of use, including privacy policy
PAIA Manual


    Classic | Mobile

Copyright © Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.