08 Dec 2011

Over molding circuit boards compared to installing in a custom enclosure

R&D, Tips

Circuit boards are relatively fragile and most circuit boards have some type of protection. Cables with a circuit board will tend to be over molded versus using a case. Over molding uses softer materials that patients prefer over cases and their hardness. When a cable or circuit board is over molded, it helps make it more tamper resistant. There are no screws to pull out or put in, which also can reduce labor costs. This also makes molded circuit boards harder to repair. Because smaller objects are over molded, tooling for the mold is much lower compared to cases. Water-proofing can be easier with over molding and most over molding is moisture resistant and easily cleaned. Many hospital cables are over molded because of this fact.

Cases can be better choices for objects that have buttons, or when an object needs to be larger to be used. Think of your computer mouse. If you look inside, the circuit board is very thin, but you wouldn’t be able to use it comfortably without the larger case protecting it. Unlike molding, cases do not have to fill in all of the gaps between it and the circuit board. This allows a device to be lighter for it’s size. Cases can generally be taken apart to allow the possibility of the device to be repaired easily. Some cases are sonically welded and cannot be taken apart easily though.

Talk to your molding expert to see which option may be better for your product. Don’t have one? give us a call at 1(800)-635-6995 and ask for Bryan.