Making the Right Connections

Designer Receptacles Accept Flame Retardant Compound

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Entratech Systems has been a long time manufacturer of diesel engine sensors. Recently, when Entratech’s Mike Richardson was building a new house, he thought he’d get some separation between his home and work lives. Boy, was he wrong.

What started as a frustrating search for building components has become an award-winning product that promises to change the way household electronic connections are made. Richardson found no suitable way to both functionally and aesthetically manage wiring a modern home for electronics devices. Connectors for computers, telephones, audio, security systems, television, and fiber optics-each required separate wall outlets. Commercial boxes were available for a few combinations, but nothing that allowed much more than a limited and basic arrangement. Further, Richardson was dissatisfied with their appearance?involving unsightly protrusions from the wall that, even unused, detracted from an otherwise sleek d?cor.

His solution has become Entratech’s Infoplate Plus? line of coverable wall outlets consisting of device boxes and covers offering recessed mounting of receptacles. When not in use, they can be easily covered for aesthetic and safety considerations. Designed to accept universal decorator style wiring devices, the Infoplate system can also handle standard household current and low voltage wiring.

As Richardson developed the product, he enlisted RTP Company to assist in selecting the right material. Initial trials involved ABS, a traditional choice for electrical devices, but the Infoplate design differs significantly from tradition. Standards require the part to exhibit minimal deflection under a suspended 50 lb (23 kg) weight, both over time and through a range of temperatures. The ABS not only deformed, but cracked at lower temperatures. Nylons were considered for higher strength, but would not be amenable to any desired painting to match a home’s interior.

Richardson opted for an RTP 300 Series flame retardant polycarbonate compound, pre-colored in white, almond, and ivory. The compound exhibits a deflection temperature of 260 degrees F at 264 psi (127 degrees C at 1.82 MPa), allowing the parts to easily pass differing temperature testing. Its surface is paintable and the material has a UL Recognized flammability rating of V-0 at 1/16 in (1.5 mm).

The Infoplate system won the Distributed Audio award in the connectivity category at last fall’s Electronic House Exposition and, by all accounts has enjoyed a successful launch. Richardson credits RTP Company’s willingness to "extend their expertise to what was initially a small project" as being key to the Infoplate’s initial success.

Entratech Systems manufactures the Infoplate systems along with marine and trucking fuel sensors from its facilities in Sandusky, OH. For more information visit their website at www.entratechsystems.com.

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