To be honest when you first look at an industrial PC it would look fairly similar to your office computer mainly because it uses very similar components i.e. hard drive, CPU, memory and even your operating systems etc... But this is where the similarities end.
Industrial PCs have very specific and different qualities than normal pc’s that make them far more adaptable to a range of applications than your normal desktop PC, see here how some of our current customers use theirs.
An industrial PC really is built to last, normally for extended time periods over and above what you would expect from your pc at the office or home. A fair amount of our customers are in the offshore industry and they do not want to be changing over IT systems every 5 mins because of the environment they are in, so they insist on systems being built of a rugged nature.
This begins with the outer casing which is normally made using high grade steel and or aluminium and sometimes this casing will only fit into certain spaces therefore has to be bespoke designed and made, which we do.
One customer asked if he could have the industrial casing but with normal components inside! We pointed out that would be very counterproductive as the case would last for 10years plus but the pc would have to be rebuilt every 2 years may be less with the use it was going to get. So we only recommend and use industrial grade components that are built from higher quality materials, which ensures the longevity of the Industrial PC.
We have all done those office moves where the IT manager is stood there watching you like a hawk in case you knock or even worse drop the pc! Industrial pcs are designed to operate in harsh environments. This could mean wide operating temperatures from the very cold (Artic survey ships) to the very hot (A data centre in Dubai), the odd knock and even dropped.
Some of our systems are used within the marine environment which means they must be waterproofed and able to withstand rough handling of the panel pcs by crew members with gloves on covered in remnants of their trade.
We are also finding more and more of our customers are looking for ruggedized laptops, tablets and PDAs, from vets out on the farm to rail workers out on their inspections, real time data is a big part of everyday life now and being able to use rugged systems whilst out and about doing your job ensures that the data gets back to the office and you don’t have to worry about the systems being damaged. Some of our tablets are droppable from 9ft! Yes they are more expensive but compare this to you being without your real time data.
Here’s a real life example:
A customer asked us to quote for 2 rugged tablets, which came in around £3000 as they were mid-range spec. The MD said sorry no-way I can get two pads (a well-known make) for £1200 and they operators will put them in their jackets to keep them dry! About 5 weeks later one of his staff rang up to buy the two tablets and explained what had happened. One tablet was dropped on the 2nd day in the field and the second tablet got left in the rain at a job and wouldn’t turn on when they eventually got it back to the office, which also meant they had lost the days data. On the second incident because they lost almost two days’ work without a tablet as they had to get a replacement put the software on etc… they lost the contract which cost them over £10,000!
Yes they are more expensive than normal tablet, laptops etc…but with good reason.
A bit more about the components used
For industrial pcs the components generally you are looking at a life span of 5 years plus. When choosing CPU and chipsets we would always ask about the roadmap of the product to ensure we get the maximum life out of the pc for our customer. As standard this is normally 5 years from the likes of Intel.
Power, cooling and noise
As we said above these are designed to operate in the most hostile of environments but also power requirements can sometimes be an issue, with varying voltages being required. The industrial pcs can be adapted for this which then leads to a more important issue, cooling.
These pcs are designed to be on 24/7 and therefore cooling must be factored in, by using industrial grade components the heat given off is kept to a minimum but the design of the pc is such that only the elements required to do the job are installed therefore giving better air flow within the casing due to more space. Lastly I bet if you opened your office pc the cables within would be loose and all over, in an industrial pc they are secured and routed to ensure maximum airflow is possible.
If you would like further information please contact us:
Tel: 01747 820111
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