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  • Writer's pictureBoro Park Manufacturing and Sheet Metal Fabrication

Aluminum: A Great Asset of Electronic Enclosures (And Why It Often Beats Steel)

When it comes to protecting your valuable electronics, material choice isn't just about the enclosure itself – it impacts your product's performance, longevity, and ultimately, your bottom line. Aluminum stands out as a remarkably versatile option, often surpassing mild steel and stainless steel for these critical applications.

Let's break down the key reasons:

Weight Matters (A Lot)

Aluminum's density is about one-third that of steel. In industries like aerospace, transportation, or even in large-scale installations where enclosures are mounted overhead, this translates to:

  • Easier installation and reduced risk of worker strain

  • Lower load on support structures, potentially simplifying design

  • Significant fuel savings in mobile applications

  • Reduced shipping costs throughout the product's life

Fighting the Elements

Rust is the enemy of mild steel. Aluminum, however, forms a protective oxide layer naturally.

Consider these scenarios:

  • Coastal installations: Salt spray won't easily degrade an aluminum enclosure.

  • Chemical exposure: Many industrial settings involve corrosive substances aluminum withstands better than uncoated steel.

  • Outdoor life: Sun, rain, temperature swings – aluminum handles them with minimal maintenance.

Keeping Things Cool: Electronics get hot.

Aluminum's excellent thermal conductivity means:

  • Heat dissipates faster, preventing damage to sensitive components

  • You may be able to avoid costly internal fans or complex cooling systems

  • Equipment lifespan is extended, improving reliability

  • Fab-Friendly = Cost Effective

Aluminum's workability benefits manufacturers in several ways:

  • Faster cutting, bending, and welding speeds up production time

  • Less wear and tear on machinery lowers overhead costs

  • Complex shapes are easier to achieve, opening up design possibilities

EMI Shielding: Worth Mentioning

While steel has the edge in maximum shielding, proper design allows aluminum enclosures to provide suitable protection for most electronics.


  • Consumer devices, where strong interference sources are less common

  • Industrial equipment with moderate EMI requirements

  • Applications where careful grounding and seam sealing are feasible

The Looks Department

Aluminum offers aesthetic advantages too:

  • Clean, modern look in its natural state, perfect for tech-focused products

  • Takes anodizing well, allowing for branding or color-coding

  • Can be painted, but often doesn't need it for a professional appearance

Steel Isn't Always Second Best

There ARE situations where steel is essential:

  • High-Security Needs: Where extreme impact or tampering is a concern, steel's strength is unmatched.

  • Maximum EMI Isolation: Sensitive scientific equipment or military applications may demand steel's superior shielding.

  • Lowest Upfront Cost: For simple, indoor enclosures with minimal requirements, mild steel can be cheaper initially.

Boro Park: Your Material & Fabrication Partner

Choosing the right enclosure material is complex. At Boro Park Manufacturing, we help you weigh factors like environment, performance needs, budget, and aesthetics to find the optimal solution. Our expertise in aluminum, steel, AND stainless steel fabrication ensures your project's success.

Ready to explore the possibilities? Contact us.

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