Stock Rackmount panels
I really like the idea of your side panel extrusions. They seem affordable, and I'm sure they are very solid. For the purposes of making rack cases however, the costs of top/bottom panels adds up very quickly.
For my purposes, I don't have any special requirements for top/bottom panels. Perhaps a few air vent holes, but I don't really even care where they are located. For an 11" deep 19" wide rack case, the cost of the top and bottom panels comes to around $60 a piece, which is about the same as front/rear panels. That makes a 1U enclosure somewhere around $260.
I like the flexibility of front and back panel design, but I wonder if one of the following could be a solution to reduce cost and increase sales:
1. Manufacture standard rack width top/bottom panels similar to your extrusions: in one big long sheet, and then cut to the customer's length requirements.
2. Keep several standard length top/bottom rack panels (like 6", 10", 13", 16", 20"), and manufacture them in bulk so that you can make them more cheaply and offer them more cheaply.
3. Source some standard length top/bottom rack panels (like 6", 10", 13", 16", 20") in steel from another supplier in bulk and just resell them. This way they could be thinner (0.06") and cheaper.
As is, I'm probably going to end up purchasing a stock rack chassis from somewhere else and then either send a front and rear panel to you to customize or just drill it myself. If you offered simple stock top/bottom panels at $10 a piece, an enclosure would be around $160, which would be affordable enough where I would be much more likely to get a custom chassis from you.
I have no idea how many rack cases you sell, but it seems that if you sell enough to warrant having some top/bottom panels in bulk then you could sell more.
Posted By: Eric Pruett on Jul 24, 2010 07:46PM Category: Whishes
Thanks for the input! While I can sympathize with you in terms of the costs associated with fabricating a custom enclosure, cutting a pre-cut sheet to various lengths would add significant time (and cost) to the process of enclosure fabrication. For a 19" wide rack enclosure, the top and bottom panels would need some mounting holes for the housing brackets, and adding these after a sheet is cut out would raise the price significantly.
This caveat makes the bulk purchasing/manufacturing less advantageous. When you add in the observation that nearly all of our rack panel boxes are made with different depths, we end up holding onto significant amounts of additional material.
If you wanted to use our extrusions, front panels, and back panels, you could investigate obtaining raw 1.5mm aluminum provided elsewhere for your top and bottom panels.
You could also likely purchase and machine perforated sheet on your own for this application.
Hopefully this is helpful!
Posted By: Paul Birkeland on Jul 26, 2010 07:25PMReply