Covers & Hoods
Many technical applications call for a non-structural protective cover or hood to shield components from view and/or the environment. In most of these cases components are mounted to a load bearing chassis or cart that supports their weight. The requirements for a hood or cover usually include for it to be lightweight, visually appealing and electrically non-conductive while offering some protection from the elements.
A common solution to this problem are sheet-metal shrouds, which are heavy, require painting, may corrode over time and offer limited options in terms of form factor. Another option are thermo-formed plastic parts. However, these require expensive tooling which is only justified for larger production runs. Fiberglass parts require less costly tooling but take more time to manufacture.
An assembly of multiple CNC machined and thermo-formed panels accomplishes the same thing without the need for tooling and offers the benefits that plastic materials have to offer without the upfront cost. This makes our process a good choice, especially for smaller production volumes.
Internal ribs and bulkheads can add stiffness where needed while keeping the overall weight to a minimum. Solvent-welded seams make for weather and water-proof parts that will stand up to rain, snow and pressure washing.
The materials of choice are ABS , PC/ABS and PC . These materials are available in a variety of gauges, colors and textures which means that no painting or powder coating is required. Furthermore these polymers are not affected by corrosive environments and stand up well to common cleaning agents, fuels, oils and other chemicals.
Large surface areas can be visually broken up with graphics or by using a combination of different colors for a multitone effect.
We use a high-resolution digital graphics flatbed printer to directly print on these substrates with UV-cured and highly wear-resistant “inks”. The “ink” really is a UV-curable polymer that penetrates the surface and is “baked” onto the substrate so to speak. The result is a slightly raised, high-contrast, photo-quality print which allows the use of the full color palette and also shades and half tones to create opaque and translucent effects. These prints will stand up to outdoor use and UV exposure.