Enclosure Design Services

We can help with your project.

 

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NK Labs has designed the enclosures for high-volume consumer electronic devices, one-of-a-kind scientific instruments, highly-durable medical equipment, avionics systems, and consumer wearables.

 

Capabilities:

  • Injection molding

  • Sheet metal

  • Quick-turn machined and soft-tool prototypes

  • Consumer-grade finishes and CMF

  • Thermal design, heat sinking, heat pipes

  • RF design, integrated antennas

  • Flex and rigid-flex, 3D integration

  • Small form factor portable devices

  • Tight space and weight requirements

  • Efficient heat dissipation

  • Microelectronics

  • Ultra small devices with energy efficient electronics

  • Wearables

  • Stretchable electronics

  • Integration of electronics and fabric

  • User studies, user experience, ergonomics investigations

  • Design for:

    • Drop and tumble testing​

    • Fluid and dust ingress protection

    • Temperature and humidity variation

    • Vibration and shock

    • Shipping

    • Electromagnetic compatibility (EMI/EMC/ESD)

We can help with your project.

Concept Design

 

Our design process for an enclosure starts with creating a space plan, enumerating what needs to go inside the enclosure in order to meet the functional requirements. We will mock up key mechanical components in CAD, and incorporate the space requirements for the electronics.

 

On some projects, we work closely with industrial designers on the product form factor, taking into account areas such as human factors and user experience (UX). We have several industrial designers we work with on a regular basis, and we also frequently work with the customer’s industrial design team.

Detail Design

 

We have experience in a range of industries designing housings for durability in drop and tumble, for fluid and dust ingress protection, for vibration protection, for EMI shielding, and for manufacturability. We do the detail design of the housing components, and generate the MCO (mechanical component outline) for the electronics, so we can efficiently lay out the PCB.

First-Article Mechanical Integration

 

Once we have the PCBs, housings, and other product components (e.g. displays, speakers) in hand, we can build the first functional prototypes of the product. We are skilled at highly integrated consumer electronics with tightly packed rigid flex boards, optics, seals, as well as more straightforward enclosure designs with space to spare.

Prototyping

 

We have in-house 3D printing, laser cutting, and machining capabilities, which allows us to create product prototypes quickly. We also work with several vendors who can manufacture appearance models and early functional units with consumer-electronics-grade fit and finish, suitable for boardroom demonstrations and investor presentations. Typically, the housings are built using machining or soft-tool injection molding, plus a great deal of hand polishing and finishing. These types of enclosures can usually be turned around in three weeks, once the design is finalized.

Laser cutting batches of small parts

Engineering Validation Testing (EVT)

 

The goal of engineering validation testing is to ensure the design is capable of meeting its functional requirements. Once the first articles are working, we collaborate with an outside lab to run them through an extensive battery of mechanical tests, to ensure they meet design goals. The customer will typically be conducting supervised focus groups and quality assurance (QA) testing at this stage, and subsequently give us change requests to the design. This is also the stage when we engage an outside lab to do compliance testing for FCC, UL, CE, and other regulatory standards.

Design Validation Testing (DVT)

 

Once we have completed engineering validation testing, the next step is design validation testing. The goal of design validation testing is a product that looks, feels, and functions exactly like the real production unit. DVT units will be built in the factory by the customer’s chosen contract manufacturer (CM), and we often travel to the factory on the customer’s behalf to debug and correct any issues that come up during this period.

Production

 

Once DVT is complete, the product can move through Production Validation Testing (PVT), ramp, and finally move into mass production. After a product we have worked on reaches this stage, it is a lot of fun to march into the store and buy one for our office.

The groundbreaking, modular Project Ara smartphone developed by NK Labs (courtesy of TECHSPOT)