Computer enclosures are now common methods of protecting PCs in industrial our hostile environments. There are many manufacturers producing fabricated enclosures that claim to enable standard computers and devices to be used in these types of areas.
However, there is more to protecting computer equipment in hostile areas than just placing them in a metal box. Keeping computers, printers and display devices protected means creating the perfect environment not just protecting them from water splashes and dust.
Computer enclosures have long been built to European and US guidelines. The IP65 and IP54 (NEMA 4) standards describe the types of protection any enclosure offers against airborne particles and water. However, the IP and NEMA ratings are self-certified guidelines and are not any guarantee or certainty the enclosure is suitable for the environment it is required to work in.
Computers, printers and LCD or plasma displays are designed to operate in the home or office environment and are not suited for any of the hostile elements found in industrial or outdoor locations.
However, there are other harsh environmental factors to consider than just airborne particles and water splashes. For instance temperature extremes are something that is not included in the IP and NEMA rating systems. However, there are many industrial locations not to mention outdoor areas where temperatures can be either extremely hot or cold (or both in the case of outdoors where summer heat and winter freeze have to be countered).
To cope with extreme temperatures additional heating and cooling facilities have to be installed in the computer, printer or LCD enclosure ensuring the device is operating in the perfect environment.
Industrial computer cabinets printer protection and LCD enclosures are not just metal boxes but should represent the perfect environment that sensitive electronic devices need to operate in.