Industrial Computers – Drawbacks to Solid State Machines

Computers are now widely used in industrial processes. Many plants, factories and production lines are now fully automated and computers are essential in maintaining efficient productivity.

The environments of industry are not however, ideally suited for the sensitive nature of processors and electronics. Many industrial areas contain high levels of dust, dirt, water and fluids, there are often forklift trucks whizzing up and down isles and different machines and processes billowing out excessive heat.

All these elements can play havoc on a standard computer system. Dust will block vents, clog moving parts and even short circuit the machine, whilst the perils of water and electronics is obvious to most. Bangs from forklifts and heat from machines can also cause the life of a computer to drastically shorten.

For this reason special industrial computers have been manufactured for several decades by some highly reputable computer manufacturers. These machines can defend against all the hostile elements present in industrial environments because of their design. They are mostly manufactured solid state (without moving parts), rugged and intrinsically sealed to prevent ingress of water or dust.

It is however, this very design that causes the main problems with industrial computers. Because they are solid state and intrinsically sealed this makes upgrade and repair exceptionally difficult. The machines have to be taken offline and a specialist engineer has to be called. This downtime can be extremely costly if production has to stop until the unit is repaired/upgraded.

Many industrial computer administrators have to weigh up the costs of repairing/upgrading such a unit with the cost of down production time and opt to keep the machine running no matter how badly.

Industrial computer manufacturers
attempt to solve this problem by only fitting steady and reliable components and software. This means that although he machines have tried and tested technology installed it is technology that is out of date this means that whatever processes the computer is controlling it is not doing it as efficiently as it should be.

A solution to this problem is very simple. Instead of buying these expensive industrial computers it is easier and more affordable to but normal, office computers running the components and software that you require for the task. To protect the computer from the industrial elements it can then be enclosed in an industrial computer enclosure. These afford exactly the same protection from hostile areas as a bespoke industrial computer, protecting form dust, dirt, water, fluids, grease, knocks, bangs, heat and extreme cold.

The benefit in using these enclosures is that repair, upgrade and replacement takes but a moment with the enclosure able to open up and the enclosed PC can be repaired upgraded or simply replaced.  By buying an industrial computer enclosure not only will it probably cost less than a bespoke industrial computer even including the standard PC that it is housing. But It will also save vast amounts of time and money by preventing the need for the production line or processes to stop while the computer is repaired or upgraded.

This post was written by Richard N Williams

Richard N Williams

Richard N Williams is a writer and journalist based in Birmingham, UK. He has many years of experience writing about all aspects of the internet and digital technology. He is the author of several technology related books and his articles have appeared in various publications, trade magazines and online journals. Richard N Williams Google+

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