Computers are a vital in most industries; No longer is the PC just a piece of office equipment they are used in almost every industry and environment imaginable from the factory floor to the hospital ward.
Computer control and data storage makes most functions and processes easier and more efficient but using PCs in many surroundings does pose problems.
The harsh elements of an industrial area can damage a PC so they and the monitors have to be protected – often in some form of industrial computer enclosure and LCD enclosure. But there is one aspect of a computer system that can’t be enclosed – the input devices.
A keyboard and mouse is essential for most computer operations. While, touch screens are commonly used in industrial areas for controlling processes they are not suitable for data-entry or other types of information entry so keyboards and mouse pointing devices still have to be used in many locations and this poses two problems:
Industrial Keyboards and Mouse
Industrial areas the most common problem with using standard keyboards and mouse solutions is they quickly get disabled by the amount of dust, dirt, grease and other elements. Protective plastic covers are available but are only effective up to a point and any industrial area with a standard keyboard or mouse will require frequent replacements on a par with the amount of harsh materials about.
Industrial keyboards are therefore an obvious requirement in these sorts of areas as are mouse pointing devices such as tracker balls or touch pads. These rugged PC peripherals are designed to withstand almost every harsh or hazardous material found in industrial areas and ensure that production doesn’t have to stop because of a clogged keyboard or mouse.
For less frequent use, and to save space, flexible silicone keyboards can also be used. These can even be rolled up for storage unravelled for typing. The silicone is waterproof and they are designed so dirt and grime cannot interfere with the workings of the keyboard.
Medical Keyboards and Mouse
In some areas it is not the elements in the environment that are a problem to a keyboard but the keyboard and mouse themselves become potential hazards.
Keyboards and mouse pointing devices are harbourers of germs which is a problem for hospital and medical environments as they can assist in the spread of infection – including hospital acquired infections such C Dificile and MRSA.
Cleaning a traditional keyboard and mouse is difficult as any water will effect the inner electronics; however, silicone medical keyboard enable complete washdown and as they are manufactured from bacteria resistant silicone and designed without any raised surfaces they prevent bacteria from breeding on the surfaces. These keyboards can be cleaned with standard hospital disinfectants so preventing the spread of infection.