Here at Protocase, we turn your design ideas into functional custom electronic enclosures, parts and components as quickly as possible. To ensure we manufacture exactly what you envisioned, we have carved out certain steps in our procedures, the most important of which is the drawing approval process.

After you have submitted your design, your Protocase account manager provides it to our Engineering and Design Services team so that they can analyze the design and put into the proper files in order to be manufactured. From time to time, there are little things that need to be adjusted within the design for manufacturability, such as material thickness, bend radii, etc. To ensure your design is created just the way you intended, we send you a final document of your design to approve.

For the approval process, a member of the Engineering and Design Services team will email you using the same file type you provided us with such as e-drw, easm, eprt, etc. as well as a link to download eDrawings, which enables you to view a 3D model of your enclosure. eDrawings is an excellent tool because it provides you the ability to inspect every aspect of the design: verify dimensions, view the enclosure from all angles, view section cutaways to inspect the inside and disassemble the enclosure to view each part that makes up the assembly – in every file format.

I would also like to note that re-orders, where designs have been approved, do not require approval. Also, orders placed through Protocase Designer seldom require approval because our enclosure design software only allows you to design what can be built, which avoids time-consuming design iterations to adapt to manufacturing constraints. However, sometimes your account manager will send your Protocase Designer file to the EDS team if you leave notes on the design (i.e. you require seam welding) or if your design shows “design failure” to meet our manufacturability rules. At this point, one of our engineers will work with you and send you an approval to fix these errors.

We strive to get your design to you in 2-3 days, therefore we rely on this approval process to diminish any delays that might stop that from happening. Having to make changes during the approval process will not cause delays, but not approving a design and ending up with an enclosure, part or component that doesn’t fit your requirement will. This is why we rely so heavily on this process of approving designs. As I’ll discuss below, approvals save you re-work, which in turn saves time – so we can get your design to you in those 2-3 days.

 

Here are 4 benefits to approving your design through our approval process.

 

  1. A chance to communicate with our Engineering and Design Services (EDS) team

My EDS team works with information that comes from our sales department. Although they have reviewed your design for a quote, this is the first time your design has been assigned to one engineer. Since this may be his or her first time reviewing the information, your engineer wants to make sure they interpret everything correctly. As mentioned above, there are always little things that need to be adjusted, whether it is material thickness or the bend radii.

As an example, if your cutout is too close to a bend, we may suggest to notch out the bend. Even though you “ok” this change, we would prefer to show you any changes made on our end in a drawing approval, to ensure you get exactly what you wanted. Also, drawing approval on any adjustments your assigned Protocase engineer made to your design is imperative, as we need to ensure the changes we made won’t cause a problem for your design.

 

  1. A chance for you to check our work

This is your chance to review what we put together and make sure we understood everything properly. I’d like to say we don’t make mistakes, but as with everything, sometimes error or misunderstanding can occur, hence why we have this process. If we, for example, reversed two values somewhere in your design, this enables you to review and make sure we are on the same page. It doesn’t happen often, but I feel safe knowing there are extra checks in place to make sure my team hasn’t made an error and we can get you your design without any delays.

 

  1. A chance to check your work

  As I had mentioned above, this is your Protocase engineer’s first time communicating with you, therefore, if they find discrepancies during their review, they will make a note of it in the approval process, but also make suggestions to help you improve your design. These little notes and suggestions are the reason one-third of our customers end up making changes to their design during the approval process. 

 For example, just recently we had a customer who wanted to change the position of their connector cutout and forgot. When we sent off the design for approval he noticed he didn’t make the change to his design. He let us know and we were able to make the change for him. Missing this cutout could have meant re-work and delays for this customer, but because of the approval process we have in place, he was able to identify his error and our engineer was able to make the correct adjustments.

 

  1. A chance to save time and re-work

This process gives you one more opportunity to make sure everything is the way you need it, and if something is wrong, we are catching it before we are cutting it. In this process, we are confirming every single aspect of your design: the materials, the finishes, cutout placements, bend radius, and more. Therefore, if you have last-minute changes, we can make them now without having to redo your order, which would add more days to your delivery time.

 

Conclusion

I hope this clarifies any questions you may have had about our approval process and why we encourage every customer to approve their design before we send it to be manufactured. If you would like to discuss any of our manufacturing processes or issues around sheet metal or enclosure design, please contact us.

As always, we welcome any feedback you may have, so feel free to comment below.

About The Author

Christa Carey has been with Protocase since the very beginning. In fact, she was the first employee the company hired back in 2002, after working for Protocase co-founders previously. She graduated in 2000 from Cape Breton University in Nova Scotia, Canada. As the Engineering and Design Services Manager, Christa manages a team of 14+ engineers and technologists who work with Protocase customers daily to provide quotes, assess the manufacturability of their designs, suggest design changes where required and finalize files for approval.

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