Designing rugged enclosures for PIM testing in complex multi-band 4G & 5G networks

Author : Alan Vincent | Sales Director | Foremost Electronics

01 June 2020

Foremost Electronics custom enclosure Case Study - AceAxis 5G Network PIM Testing_580x280

Engineering-led importer & specialist distributor of electromechanical components, Foremost Electronics works closely with its global suppliers to provide bespoke solutions for its customers, where standard products do not meet the needs of the end product.

This case study was originally featured in the June 2020 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. Sign up to receive your own copy each month.

Foremost’s customer, AceAxis creates IPR (intellectual property rights) and technology to build, test and analyse the telecoms networks of the future – and are pioneers in the development of remote radio head (RRH) and embedded test & measurement technology for the telecoms market. They are changing the way cell-site radio equipment is designed & tested with ground-breaking technology, new products, partnerships and solutions with a focus on innovation, value, time-to-market and quality. Alan Vincent, Sales Director at Foremost Electronics tells us more in this case study...

AceAxis approached Foremost Electronics requiring an enclosure for a single board device for Passive Intermodulation (PIM) testing in complex multi-band 4G and 5G networks. The test system analyses the digital bitstream (I/Q data) on the fibre interface between the base band unit (BBU) and the remote radio head (RRH) to measure the effects of PIM.

The enclosure had a number of very specific requirements: it had to be a compact customer specific form factor, with a maintenance-free conduction cooling concept for a high thermal performance without the use of fans; it required comprehensive EMC shielding; and it demanded the integration of custom-developed rubber frames to protect the surface of the case, eliminating the use of conventional rubber feet, while ensuring a firm grip even when the enclosures are stacked or placed on a workbench or table.

Foremost Electronics custom enclosures - AceAxis 5G Network PIM Testing Case Study_580x280.jpg

As an added value channel partner for nVent SCHROFF, Foremost have access to a very wide range of standard, customisable and complete custom enclosure solutions and accessories. In order to shorten the development time for a non-standard case, Foremost decided to use products from the nVent Interscale case range for the AceAxis design.

The Interscale enclosure range is a platform concept that provides a choice of enclosures with heights of 1, 2 or 3 U, and with various widths and depths. It includes a wide palette of matched accessories, such as mounting plates for PCBs or fan kits if required. The Interscale components selected provided simple customisation and excellent EMC protection is guaranteed because of a special locking mechanism of the side panels. As fan cooling was not permitted, a heat sink with a thermal pad to the processor was used to increase cooling performance. The custom rubber frame assembly is screwless and easy to remove, and the cases have been painted to meet AceAxis’ requirements.

Alan Vincent, Sales Director at Foremost Electronics summarised: “We specialise in the supply of non-standard and customised products from a range of global manufacturers. The nVent Interscale is a very flexible electrical enclosure solution that can speed up integration times without incurring expensive tooling or NRE (non-recurring engineering) costs. The Interscale platform offered all the components we required to meet the complex specification we received from AceAxis in a timely and cost-effective way.


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