Industrial Computing - What Is It Really Costing Your Facility?

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Responsible for an average loss of 501 hours (29 days) per year and the loss of approximately 3.6 per cent in annual revenue, industrial computer downtime is no laughing matter. How did industrial computing problems escalate to such a level? More importantly, how can they be prevented?

Keeping computer systems operational in a harsh environment remains one of the single biggest challenges facing industrial facilities in the age of 'automation'. The industrial sector has recognized the value of integrating computer-based systems to aid production processes. However, not every facility can afford to spend big on 'super computers'.

For those facilities, they resort to using PC equipment to establish a computer network on the production floor. However, the average lifespan of a desktop PC - according to tech experts - is anywhere between 3 and 5 years.

In a harsh environment that average lifespan is dramatically reduced. You would be lucky if an unprotected desktop computer used in an industrial setting lasted three days let alone three years! Unfortunately, desktop computers are not up to the task of aiding the production process without some kind of protection.

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'Using desktop computers in an industrial setting, unprotected, will lead to downtime issues.'

If you use unshielded desktop PCs in a harsh environment you will forever be plagued by downtime problems and paying out for repairs and replacements that will eat into your bottom line.

With that in mind, it's ill-advised to think of computer protection as an unnecessary expense. However, so many facilities do consider computer protection as something that's not worth spending on. We can liken it to a company who thinks that cutting the marketing budget during a bad month is a good idea.

If you don't invest in the necessary computer protection, you will suffer far more extensive losses in the future. When all is said and done, computer downtime is debilitating and has caused many companies to close their doors for good because they could not recover from the disruption caused.

Granted, all this begs the question… why use computers in a harsh environment in the first place? They're a necessity for meeting demand and improving productivity. In fact, you would be hard pushed to find an industrial facility not using a computer for some part of the production process.

Thankfully, the emergence of industrial computer enclosures means there is a defence against downtime. Protecting computers using robust, harsh environment ready PC enclosures will dramatically cut the amount of hours you lose to downtime, plus revenue losses as a result of production grinding to halt.

What makes an industrial computer enclosure so special?

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'Computer enclosures offer long-term, flexible protection for industrial computer networks.'

The unique selling point of industrial computer enclosures is the flexibility they give you when it comes to operating a computer network on the production floor. Firstly, you can make use of standard PC towers and peripherals such as keyboards, monitors, mice and even printers.

Secondly, all computer equipment can be used independently of each other. Therefore, if you need to replace a keyboard, a monitor or PC tower or upgrade to new technology, you can do so, one item at a time. In contrast, when using an integrated computer, you would have to upgrade the entire system at a greater expense.

Long-term, computer enclosures give you value for money. Not only do they cut the hours lost to computer downtime and reduce revenue losses, but they make standard computers last beyond the average 3-5 year lifespan, ensuring that you get the most from them and giving you a reliable, low-cost way to integrate computers on the production floor.

Ultimately, the financial impact and the reputational damage that downtime can cause means that you need to remove the risk from your production line. Computer enclosures de-risk the opportunity for downtime to strike by shielding systems from the harshest shop floor environments, giving you peace of mind.

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