Industrial Computer Enclosures – Common Questions

What is an Industrial computer Enclosure?

An industrial computer enclosure is put simply a box that protects a housed computer. It does not necessarily take the place of a normal PC enclosure but acts as a containing unit where an entire PC can be installed inside to gain protection from the elements of an industrial environment.

Many industrial areas contain hazards that can cause severe problems for a standard computer. Dust, dirt, fluids and the rough and tumble of factory floors can prove to much for the sensitive electronics of standard computer.

Can I use an industrial enclosure instead of a bespoe industrial PC?

Yes. In fact an industrial computer enclosure has all the benefits of an industrial computer with none of the drawbacks.  Not only can an industrial computer enclosure offer the same protection against dust, water, dirt, knocks, bangs and excessive temperatures it offer a flexibility that a bespoke industrial computer simply can’t match.

Industrial computers are often built with reliable but outdated components for the simple reason that they are often solid state and sealed units making repairs extremely difficult to carry out. Because of this many industrial machines are generations behind their desktop counterparts in terms of technology. With an industrial enclosure there is no need for this outdated technology. A normal off-the shelf PC with specifications to suit your need. If all goes wrong, then unlike a conventional industrial computer all is not lost. There is no need to shut down production whilst an engineer is on his way, simply open up the enclosure and repair, upgrade or just replace the housed PC.

How do I know what protection it offers?

Industrial computer enclosures are rated to industry standards. Both the European IP rating (ingress protection) and the USA’s NEMA rating (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) are used to identify the protection that is offered. As an example an IP code, an IP 65 computer enclosure, protects to a high level from solid objects (the first number = 6) and a reasonably good protection from water (the second number = 5). Alternatively Nema 4 describes an enclosure that provides a degree of protection against falling dirt, rain, sleet, snow, windblown dust, splashing water, and hose-directed water

Can I use it in explosive atmospheres?

Yes. Some industrial computer enclosures satisfy the European ATEX directive (explosive atmospheres) these enclosures have often the ability to operate in ATEX zone 2 which are areas that have a reasonable but severe possibility of explosions being caused by dust levels in the atmosphere.

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