For more than 57 years, AMCO Engineering Company has manufactured systems enclosures to accommodate the increasingly complex hardware configurations of electronic systems. Gloria P. Cahill reports on the company’s current and future outlook.
When it comes to setting up electronic systems hardware — usually a computer, monitor, keyboard, printer and peripherals — most of us are pleased when we manage to set up the equipment on a sturdy surface and tuck away the cables and wiring that connect the parts. We’re even more pleased if it all works when we press the power button.
Now, consider the installation, maintenance and security requirements of a business, financial or educational institution, medical or research center, government agency, military branch or any other organization that relies on electronic and data systems. Fortunately, AMCO Engineering Company did just that more than 57 years ago, when it became one of the first manufacturers of systems enclosures.
Over the years, AMCO has developed its capabilities apace with the growth of the electronics and data industries — bringing together form, function, ergonomics and aesthetics in every design. The result is a product line that accommodates systems ranging from single units to multiscreen data centers, large local area network (LAN) systems and multifunctional processing units. James R. Walenda, director of marketing, says, “AMCO provides an extensive product line of electronic cabinets for virtually any application, from general packaging to specific segmentation of complex requirements — data, telecommunications, etc. — in a standard or custom solution.”
In developing a highly adaptable product line, this ISO 9002-certified company has simultaneously built a reputation for quality by engineering enclosures that meet the most exacting industry standards for numerous applications, including security, data/telecommunications, networking, test and measurement, broadcast and process control. AMCO enclosure units are shipped fully assembled, and all accessories (such as shelves) can be mounted to the customer’s specified locations. The customer base that uses AMCO enclosures runs the gamut from small businesses to large organizations. AMCO services the data communications market, the medical industry, the process control industry, security equipment manufacturers and the military, to name a few.
At its location in Schiller Park, Ill., AMCO employs 250 in a manufacturing facility measuring 235,000 square feet. The company projects that annual sales for 2001 will be $30 million. AMCO’s sales representatives cover the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska. The company also has international representation. AMCO manufactures one of the industry’s largest standard product lines, comprising an array of styling options and including cabinets, consoles, vertical and horizontal expansion pieces, desks and desktop cabinets, and accessories. Its shielded enclosures fit the most demanding industrial and military applications, and help customers meet all Federal Communications Commission regulations on radiated emissions. The standards were first established for the U.S. government, the military and NASA.
AMCO also produces LAN/data cabinets for networking environments. The ever-growing requirements of more complex and sophisticated networking result in new hardware and dense packaging requirements for systems enclosures. As one example, 12-outlet and 32-outlet power-tap strips are typical in server cabinet configurations. The company’s portable, desk and bench-top cabinets feature polydimensional design, and it offers a choice of 17 standard colors and high-quality cabinet finishing. It also creates special finishes on request for non-standard colors, abrasion-resistant finishes, environmental finishes and special primers. AMCO assures the integrity of every finish. Equal to AMCO’s product quality is the company’s emphasis on customer service. These services include the quick-ship program, an AMCO innovation that delivers in-stock cabinets, desks and accessories in five working days.
Designs for Needs
AMCO acknowledges the often-unique aspects of its customers’ electronic and data-processing needs as reflected in their hardware and equipment configurations. The company offers special features and modifications of standard products to meet the special needs for structural reinforcement, air flow, factory prewiring, panel and wiring cutouts, locking mechanisms and shock mounting:
• A heavy-duty structural aluminum framing system provides a simple, strong solution for complex enclosures. A variety of extrusions, corner castings and mounting flanges enable customers to build extremely rugged systems with a few simple tools.
• Efficient, effective cooling devices address the problems of heat buildup from densely packed enclosure systems. AMCO’S adaptations include motorized impeller blowers, centrifugal blowers, tube axial fans and an assortment of accessories.
• Seismic enclosures feature cabinetry designed for specific seismic (earthquake) applications. Zone 4 Bellcore-certified enclosures have rugged frames in a new design concept that is ideal for equipment that requires a high level of protection.
• Custom-design services and application engineering meet the demands of applications that cannot be satisfied by standard or modified standard products. The use of these services, including CAD and CAM facilities, can result in unique designs that ultimately save the customer time and money. AMCO’s design consultation services include a free initial consultation to establish design, performance and testing criteria.
Change Follows Change
Walenda points out that as the electronics and data industries continue to evolve, so will AMCO’s products and services. As examples, he cites several recent changes. For one, cabinet depths are increasing to 36 inches and 42 inches for the larger equipment used in application requirements such as file servers, networks, power distribution and co-location.
Larger cabinets are also being built to house increased cabling, and new interior designs have been created to organize the cables. Further, mounting capabilities, including “universal” square-hole mounting rails that meet international as well as domestic specifications, are now incorporated into the designs. “AMCO is dedicated to the art and science of enclosure design and manufacturing,” Walenda says. “We make it a point to listen to our customer base as a means of gauging our market development. By doing this, we are able to meet existing needs and anticipate those of tomorrow.”