Not everybody is fortunate to work in an air-conditioned office, many of us have to endure warehouses and factory floors which can be dusty and grimy; often baking in the summer and freezing during the winter and full of potential hazards.
Of course our employers are at liberty to keep us protected. Overalls are provided to keep our clothes clean, jackets to keep us warm while hard hats and toe protection is now a legal requirement in many workplaces.
Obviously employees are a company's greatest asset and only a fool or bad businessman would neglect the welfare of their staff. Yet with many more tasks and processes being automated, more and more computers are being utilized in these sorts of environments.
Of course IT and technological systems can be a great asset, reducing production times and increasing productivity, but computer hardware can also be a substantial investment - especially if they have to keep being repaired or replaced due to the nature of the environment they are situated
Computers are fragile pieces of technology, designed to work at optimum conditions and temperatures; the opposite of the conditions in most warehouse, factories and production plants.
Dust can clog the keyboard and mouse making them unusable, whilst also blocking filters; clogging up the PC and causing it to overheat and often short circuit. Whilst the cold can freeze circuits destroying processors and data stored on drives while the heat can be even worse as it can actually melt the processors and sensitive hard drive.
Even if your warehouse has adequate heating and air-conditioning, knocks and bangs from fork lifts and pallet trucks could easily wreck a machine whilst spilt fluids can cause instant short circuits and even fires!
Fortunately, there are plenty of solutions available. Specialist industrial PCs are available but can be very expensive, particularly if you regularly upgrade your IT and have to replace them but cheaper alternatives in the form of dust covers and water or dustproof keyboards.
However, by far the best way of ensuring trouble free computing even in extreme conditions such as freezers and even ovens, are to use specially designed industrial pc enclosures. These are often air sealed and completely water and dust proof and often contain heaters or air conditioners to assist in temperature control. They also have the benefit of being able to house conventional PCs so there is need to keep buying specialist equipment.
Made from durable metals including food grade stainless steel, a decent enclosure should be able to withstand even the most ineffectual forklift driver, some are even bombproof! Many companies opt to store their IT in these enclosures even when the working environments are not particularly hostile, ensuring the protection of not only the expensive hardware but also valuable data.