Every week, Team Protocase is bringing you a Proto Tech Tip video, where we’ll give an informative look at a particular aspect of sheet metal fabrication and CNC Machining.

This week, Chris from our Marketing team discusses louvers, and how they can help you achieve proper ventilation in your custom enclosure.

Watch the full video below – or, if you’d prefer to read his Proto Tech Tip, we’ve got the full transcription below the video.

Be sure to subscribe to Protocase’s YouTube channel so you don’t miss a single Proto Tech Tip!


Hey everybody, Chris here with another Proto Tech Tip and today we’re going to be talking about sheet metal louvers.

So airflow is crucial for just about every custom electronic enclosure and a properly ventilated design will allow the heat to dissipate evenly and will prevent your electronic components
from overheating so there are multiple ways that you can achieve ventilation in your custom enclosure.

You can use perforated sheet metal which we stock here at Protocase or you can create your own patterns of cutouts in just about any shape that you desire, which we can laser cut into the

Today we’re going to talk about another way of achieving ventilation and that is by using sheet metal louvers. A sheet metal louver is a formed ventilation hole in your enclosure or
part that provides proper air flow and helps maintain a degree of protection against unwanted debris.

We form these louvers by using our press brake machines and a special top and bottom die. When the piece is being formed, the metal is opened across the length of the louver and then forced into the die to create a raised window. This raised window creates a feature that gives protection on three sides and is open on the fourth side for airflow.

And for those reasons, louvers are ideal to achieve proper air flow and as well to prevent accidental dirt or debris from entering inside your enclosure. And as you can see from the sample I brought here, Protocase currently stocks the tooling to make two-inch louvers.

And remember when designing with louvers to give these features proper space and clearance. A common mistake would be not considering the spacing in between each louver. And you’re going to also want to make sure that you’re aware of the bend lines and the edges of your design, you can do this by positioning the louvers far enough from the edges or from each other to allow the tooling of the press break to fully engage and form into the metal.

So I mentioned before that louvers are not the only way to provide ventilation for your custom enclosure, we did write a blog not long ago that went into much more detail on not only the
best ventilation options for your enclosure but also how to calculate the heat flow rates based on the size of your design. The link to this blog will be in the description below.

Another tip here is that you can create not necessarily louvers, but vent slot cutouts inside of our 3d enclosure design software, Protocase Designer. We released a tutorial that explains this and the link for this can be found in the description below.

Feel free to check out our website for more information on adding louvers into your next enclosure design. As well, be sure to check out our blog, which includes many other technical articles or just send us an email at info@protocase.com.

So thanks for watching this week’s video and we’ll see you next week for another Proto Tech Tip!

About The Author

Christa Carey

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 the Protocase co-founders in a previous job. She graduated in 2000 from Cape Breton University in Nova Scotia, Canada. As the CNC Engineering and Design Services Technical Services Manager, Christa manages a team of engineers and technologists in the CNC Machining Division.

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