Why do I need an Industrial Computer?

Trevor Staley

Why do I need an Industrial Computer?

To the average user, a computer is generally seen as a simple box. It performs a task and is expected to work consistently, with some occasional support from IT bods. But that’s typically just in the  office. What happens when computers are exposed to challenges caused by extreme elements, or need to operate continuously with minimal servicing for months at a time over periods extending into the decades?

Chances are a commercial computer wouldn’t cut the mustard in these instances – and even if they came close to meeting requirements, would need a significant amount of TLC to achieve the reliability levels needed. In these cases, a more durable, long-lasting and dependable alternative is vital. That’s where you’ll need an industrial computer.

Where are industrial computers most suitable?

Industrial computers are most suitable in applications where reliability is critical and regular maintenance is not commercially viable, or even possible. There are design compositions that enable them to be compatible with a fit and forget methodology – providing the operator with assurances that the computers are equipped to perform their required task, reliably and repeatedly.

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What industries use industrial computers?

Sectors where industrial computers are prominent include energy, medical and transport and many more. Often these industries are highly regulated and require some level of compliance or certification to guarantee the safety of the computing equipment and its operatives.  This can be due to environmental factors like heavy shock and vibration, thermal constraints, EMC susceptibility or ingress of any kind. Industrial computers can be engineered to withstand these conditions, and suppliers often have capabilities, whether in-house or through external relationships, to guide computers through the certification process to achieve a first time pass.

How long do industrial computers last?

The change frequency associated with industrial computers is much lower when compared to commercial or enterprise alternatives. Commercial computers possess a typical lifespan of only 18 months. So when you compare that with an industrial computer which has been specified with industrial components, the lifespan can stretch anywhere up to 15 years. This makes them ideal for applications where frequent changes to hardware or software would have a detrimental impact on the overall mission. In addition, changes to hardware or software would necessitate retesting to meet any applicable industry standards, which would cost a significant amount to achieve and take months to complete!

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Is an industrial computer expensive?

When the initial outlay of industrial computers is compared to commercial alternatives in isolation – yes, industrial computers are slightly pricier. However, when you take into account lifespan, reliability, maintenance needs and change demands, the investment in industrial hardware actually lowers the total cost of ownership while improving performance and reliability substantially!

Does my application need an industrial computer?

If your application is situated in a challenging environment, has a requirement to run dependably for a sustained period of time or is mission-critical and highly dependent on reliable operation, the chances are you’ll need an industrial computer!

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