PC World

Why Industrial PC

Using same CPU, industrial pc price is much higher than normal commercial office pcs, what makes industrial pc different from normal commercial office pc? Both can potentially perform the same functions, probably run the same software, but they are quite different from a hardware perspective.

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One of the biggest differences between an industrial pc and a commercial PC is the components used in their construction; ‘industrial’ grade rather than the (often lower cost) ‘commercial’ grade. These are longer lasting, better quality and built to a higher standard. They have longer supported life spans and aren’t replaced by newer versions as often as commercial components. This provides consistency of supply and long term repeatability so the same model can be available for much longer than the commercial equivalent, typically 5 years or more.

Industrial computers can be built to withstand less computer friendly environments, such as high temperature ranges, dirty, dusty and even wet conditions. The last two are defined by the IP (Ingress Protection) rating which defines the size of solid particles excluded and the degree of waterproofing provided. These ratings are defined by the European Committee for Electro Technical Standardization (CENELEC) (NEMA IEC 60529 Degrees of Protection Provided by Enclosures – IP Code). There are a number of clever techniques for dealing with thermal management and ingress protection, depending on the particular requirements.

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In addition to physical build standards and environmental protection, industrial computers running dedicated functions can be provided with embedded operating systems with up to 15 years life (unlike commercial operating systems which are replaced every few years), so you don’t have to keep redeveloping your application to run on new operating systems.

There is also the option for industrial computers to be constructed to withstand shock and vibration, as required for installation in vehicles, ships, tanks or aircraft. This requires components, connectors, cables, etc to be installed in a way that prevents them being shaken loose over time, and requires moving parts to be built to a much higher standard. Such as hard disks built to withstand higher levels of shock without failing. These are often referred to as ‘ruggedised’ computers.

If you need computers to work in an environment that is not as benign as an office or server room, you probably need industrial computers.

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