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HOME > TECHNOLOGIES > BOARDS > DESIGNING AN ENCLOSURE FOR SHOCK AND VIBRATION

DesigningAnEnclosureForShockAndVibration
Staff|EEProductNews
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Oct8,2008
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TestandMeasurement

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Allelectronicequipmentneedstobeabletowithstandthephysicaldemandsofthe
environmentinwhichitistobeused.Andsinceapplicationsrangefromofficeand
industrialusetofullmilitarydeployment,thedesignrequirementscanvarygreatly.
Typicalshockvaluesforindustrialusemightbeinthe5Gto10Grangewhereassystems
locatedonnavalshipsneedtowithstandshocksinaccessof100Gs.Basedonthe
application,materialtypesandconstructiontechniquescanbeemployedtoensurethe
unitcanwithstandtheenvironment.

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TypesofShockandVibration
Athoroughunderstandingoftheenvironmentinwhichtheequipmentwillneedto
surviveisessentialbeforethedesignforshockandvibrationbegins.Whetherthe
equipmentismountedonagroundbasedvehicle,airbornevehicle,shipboardmounted,
orjustneedstowithstandseismicevents,aruggedizedconstructionshouldbeaprimary
designcriteria.
Vibrationcanbeeitherrandomorsinusoidal.Anexampleoftheformeristhevibration
thatvehiclemountedequipmentexperiencesrollingacrossroughterrain.Sinusoidal
vibration,ontheotherhand,isacontinuousvibrationlikearotatingengineina
helicopter.Awelldesignedruggedchassisneedstoprotectagainstbothtypes.Toensure
thishappens,aruggedchassiscanundergosevereshockandvibrationtestinglikeMIL
STD810F,MILSTD167,andMILSTD901D.Figure1showsanElmaElectronicRugged
COTSenclosureabouttogoundershockandvibrationtesting.
Themaingoalinhandlingshockandvibrationistoisolatetheequipmentfrom
excitementatitsnaturalfrequency.(Naturalfrequencyofacomponentorsystemisthe
frequencyatwhichthedisplacementisthegreatest).Isolationsystemsaredesignedto
changethesystemsnaturalfrequencysoitisasfarfromtheexcitingfrequencyas
possible,withoutcreatinginstability.Thenaturalfrequencyofasimplespringmass
systemcanbecalculatedfromthemass(m)andthespringrate(k)ofthesystem.In
ordertoprotecttheequipmentanditscontentsfrompotentialdamageadesignercanuse
passiveisolationsystemssuchaselastomericdampers,ropecoilisolatorsandairsprings.
KeyComponents
Isolatorsarecriticalelementsusedtoreducetheeffectsofshockandvibrationin
embeddedsystemplatforms.Agoodisolatorsystemhastwocomponents,aspringto
supporttheloadandadampingelementtodissipatetheinputenergy.Theamountof
dampinghasanimpactontransmissibility,whichistheratioofoutputresponsetoinput
excitation.Iftheratiois0.2,thatmeanstheisolatorcandampenordissipate80%ofthe
inputenergy.Iftheinputexcitationfrequencymatchesthenaturalfrequency,resonance
occurscausingamplification(transmissibilityratio>1)ofresponsevibrationandif
unchecked,canleadtosystemdestruction.
TipsForUsingIsolators
Airspringsshouldbeusedforlowfrequencyapplicationsontheorderofjustafew
Hertz.Forheavyshockandvibration,wireropecoilisolatorsareveryeffective.Thisisdue
tothefactthattheyofferlargedeflectionsinrelationtotheirsize.Also,ropecoilisolators

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arenotaffectedbytemperatureextremesandresistattackbysolvents,chemicalsozone,
andsoforth.Elastomericisolatorsoffereconomicalsolutionsifonlyvibrationisolationis
needed.
Thekeycomponentsofanelectronicenclosurethatneedisolationarethecardcagewith
circuitcards,backplanes,diskdrivesandpowersupplies.Sincemoreoftenthannot,both
shockandvibrationareprevalentintheoperatingenvironment,adesignincorporating
ropecoilisolatorsensuresoptimalperformance.Thesearecoilsofstainlesssteelbraided
wireconstructedtocarryaload.Whendeflected,frictionbetweenthewirestrands
producesthedampingeffect.Varyingthesize,shape,constructionandthenumberof
coilsallaffectthespringrateanddamping,aswellasthemountingorientationand
whetherthecoilsareintensionorcompression.Figure2showsa12R2enclosure
incorporatingcoilisolatorsthatsupportaplatform.Theplatformhousesthecardcage,
diskdrivesandpowersupply.Theswayspace(duetodisplacement)requiredinallthree
axesshouldbecalculatedbasedonthetotalmasstobeisolated,shockspringratesforthe
isolatorsinallthreeaxesandthemagnitudeoftheinputshockpulse.

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TheEnclosureFrame
Theenclosuresexteriorframeorshellshouldbeofsufficientlyrigidconstructionsoasto
withstandtheshockpulsewithoutanybucklingordistension.Thematingpartsofthe
frameshouldbeboltedorweldedtogetherinamannersoastolendthestructural
integritytowithstandvibration.
InordertohaveaboxthatismodularandincorporatesanyrequiredMILstandards,a
keydesignfeaturewouldbetouseruggedizedsideplatesinpreconfiguredsizes.
Providingspotweldedaluminumextrusionslendsstructuralintegritytotheframeand
provideshighprecisioncontactsurfaceforreinforcingpanels.Theresultisamodular
ruggedCOTSchassisdesign.Thisallowsawiderangeofsizesandconfigurationstobe
incorporatedcosteffectivelyandwithshortleadtimes.Further,ifthebaseplatformhas
beenMILtested,youcanfeelconfidentthatacustomizedversionisbuiltuponaproven
coredesign.

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MILStandards
ForMil/Aeroapplications,theCOTSenclosureshouldbedesignedandpreferablytested
tomeettheMILstandardsrelatingtosystemperformanceundershockandvibration.
Theapplicabletestsare:
MILS901D(Navy)Highimpactshocktestingforshipboardmachineryand
equipment
MILSTD810FEnvironmentalshockandvibration
MILSTD167Shipboardvibration
CabinetEnclosures
WhileEurocardenclosuresorsimilarembeddedsystemplatformshavevariousdesign
solutionsforshockandvibration,acabinetenclosurehasitsownsetofconsiderations.
Sincecabinetenclosurescanstand42Uorhigher,thefocusshiftstolimitingframe
displacement.Also,thecornerbezelsandbasemustberuggedizedtoprovideasecure
foundation.
Acabinetforseismiczonesorruggedapplicationsneedstohaveheavydutyconstruction
throughout.Topreventtheframefrombending,thecabinetdesignercanrunaback
stiffenerfromonesideoftheframetotheother.Often,thesestiffenerswillbeemployed
nearthetopofthecabinet,inthemiddle,andnearthebottom.Next,youcanaddcross
bracingtoprotectfrommovementindifferentaxis.ThephotooftheElmaOptima
SeismicCabinetinFigure3illustratestheuseofthesestiffenersandcrossbracing.
Anotherconsiderationistohavedoublewalledconstructionwheretheframehastwo
layersofsheetmetalforextrastrength.
Weldingandcrimpingallofthecornersocketsandcornermembersalsoprovides
resistancetobendingandvibrationalstresses.TheweldingshouldalsomeetANSI329
andBellcoreTR63certificationspecifications.Doublecavityaluminumextrusionscan
alsobeusedtostrengtheninterconnectionpointsofthepieceparts.Ofcourse,itis
importanttoalsousevibrationresistanthardwareandthickergagesteel.Thewelded
baseshouldbeverystrongwithathicksteelupto7gauge.Therailsshouldbethickas

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well11gaugesteelcanprovidestrongsupportand10gaugecanbeusedforextra
heavydutyreinforcement.
CabinetsforruggedorZone4seismicapplicationsneedtogothroughstringenttesting.
Thisincludesshockloading,vibrationtest,shakertable,andmore.Figure4showsan
exampleofanElmaOptimaSeismiccabinetundertest.Theshakertabletestrecorded
resultswereobtainedbysimulatingZone4loadingonamodelwitha600lb.weight,
distributedsothecenterofgravitywas4"abovecenter,tomatchtheactualtest
conditions.Thissimulationverifiestheactualshakertabletestfindings,andrevealsthat
thestresslevelwaslessthan60%oftheallowablemaximumamount.Modelingcanalso
showlevelsofstressesundertest.AvibrationstesthasthecabinetsubjectedtoSeismic
Zone4vibrationloadingintheX(sidetoside)andtheY(fronttorear)directions.
Colorsinthemodeling,rangingfrombluetored,indicateincreasingstress.
Conclusion
Therearemanyelementstodesigninganenclosureforshockandvibration.Oncethe
specificapplicationenvironmenthasbeenanalyzed,theenclosuredesignercan
incorporateawiderangeofoptions.Theseincludeisolators,stiffeners,braces,heavyduty
materials,andmore.Thoroughtestingforshockandvibrationisanimportantelement.
Finally,itisimportanttorememberthatwhileyouareresolvingoneproblem(asolution
forshockandvibration),youdonotimpedetheperformanceinanotherarea(airflow,
EMC,etc.).Itsbesttoworkwithaknowledgeablevendorwithexperienceinawiderange
ofenclosuresolutions.
JustinMollisDirectorofMarketingatElmaElectronicInc.Youcanreachhimby
phoneat5104907388x516.
Company:ELMAELECTRONICINC.
ProductURL:Clickhereformoreinformation

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