Tag Archives: industrial computer

industrial tablets and medical tablets

Understanding Tablet Battery Life: Not All Solutions are Created Equally

Mobility in the workplace is crucial to boosting productivity. Ask any construction worker or physician using a tablet how their operations have improved and they’ll easily give a laundry list of benefits—time is money in the workplace, and saving one saves the other. However, changing to a mobile workstation can also present a new set of problems that can be pain points for professionals on the go. Battery life is probably one of the most common complaints with any mobile device, whether that be for personal or commercial use. But simply choosing a commercial grade tablet that boasts the longest battery life can end up causing a host of new problems that end up costing you more in the long run. A recent report by VDC Research shows that 18 percent of consumer-grade tablets fail every year when used in the workplace—that’s just one metric a business faces when insufficient tablets are used on the job. Here are a few more pain points to consider.

Understanding your Processing Needs

Scour the market to locate the best rugged tablet and you’ll find a vast majority use low-powered, compact processors. They’re great for running a quick app to check sports scores and what new 5-star restaurants are in the area, but those processors aren’t built for running sophisticated business software meant to track metrics, project progress, or other important business-related numbers. The wrong tablet in the hands of a professional can be frustrating—unresponsive applications, hefty load times, the works. We hate loading bars just as much as you do.

Address that problem early. Find a rugged tablet with an i5 or i7 processor. Your complex software will operate a lot faster than any tablet with the consumer-grade processor. While a more powerful processor can drain a battery faster, hot swap technology means you can just swap depleted batteries for charged ones without having to turn off the unit. Plus, any future upgrades to your software won’t mean you’ll need a new tablet upgrade for at least a few years.

Your Environment Impacts Readability

If you’ve held a mobile device recently (and you likely have), you probably recall squinting or moving to shadowy areas just to properly read what’s on the screen. We’re sure some professionals in the past have shielded the sun or find a darker area of their working environment—a heavy annoyance if you’re working on a construction site during mid-day or you manage a mobile medical unit trying to process patients. The reason for this is that a lot of commercial grade tablets choose to sacrifice screen resolution and brightness to preserve battery life.

The best rugged tablets have a high resolution of 1920 x 1200 and a “nits” emittance of 400 brightness—one of the highest brighest ratings for tablets available today. Brighter screens and higher resolutions are much easier on the eyes. You’ll likely experience fewer headaches and fewer frustrations.

Commercial Tablets Can Get Bulky, Quickly

If a physician is using a medical tablet, they’re a step ahead in maximum efficiency. Same can be said of a warehouse worker using an industrial tablet. However, their evolving task lists might require the use of different peripherals like barcode scanners, RFID readers, biometric security devices, and other equipment to do their job efficiently. External peripherals like an RFID scanner can increase the bulk of a medical tablet. Commercial grade tablets have limited ports, which in and of itself can make it difficult to connect peripherals like barcode and RFID scanners. And if you do manage to connect all of your devices, the tablet itself becomes bulky, and you know have two or three extra devices that you have to purchase and properly maintain.

Skip the tool belt approach by finding a tablet that has all the peripherals included in the design! All three components can be wrapped into the design for a rugged tablet so you don’t need to carry around devices to plug in or store away, risking time drain or possible peripheral loss. Not to mention that plugging in external devices to a tablet is going to contribute to battery drain anyway.

Solving the Battery Issue Without Sacrificing Functionality

After working ten hours with two hours to go on an exhausting shift, flashing battery lights and notifications that your tablet needs an immediate recharge are not welcome. Work has to be postponed to restore the tablet to a full charge. We’re sure there are cases where the internal battery for an industrial tablet malfunctions, the power shuts off, work is lost, and the battery is sealed inside, impossible to remove without voiding the warranty or cracking open components. If the tablet is out of warranty (or voided), it’s usually a costly repair. Once more, time and money are lost and your business suffers.

Resolve that potential roadblock by using a tablet with swappable batteries. There’s virtually no downtime when there’s an extra set of charging batteries that can replace one at the first sign of battery drain. Extra batteries can be charged at a central location and be quickly swapped out for a drained battery in seconds without having to power off the unit. This eliminates both downtime and the need to worry about battery life completely. In theory, a tablet with hot swap batteries can run 24/7 so long as you keep the extra batteries charged and ready.

The bottom line is time and money are at risk if you only consider one thing when purchasing a tablet for your business. Think about what the needs of your business are and what the potential pitfalls might be if you settle on a budget tablet. Cybernet features both a medical grade and an industrial grade tablet that are ruggedized and have a robust component integration, powerful internal processors that beat out consumer choices, swappable batteries to increase uptime, and high-resolution screens with above average brightness. Contact us to learn how we can customize our solutions to meet your unique needs.



HMI computers industrial panel PC

The Human Machine Interface and the Role Industrial Computers Face

Human Machine Interface (HMI) is an important concept to be aware of in today’s industrial automation IT world. Technological innovations and advances have pushed automation’s boundaries close to near-perfect operation within industrial warehouses and manufacturing plants. We’re seeing these pushes both on a software and hardware level. Developments in artificial intelligence software are getting more sophisticated, so naturally the hardware must scale with the demands of software. However, there still must be a “starting point” in the pathway from device controller to automation result, and that’s where HMI plays a part. It’s a concept that has evolved over time as an overarching idea that incorporates all functionality of a given production system into a single user interface that can be controlled by simply touching an industrial touch panel PC. It’s the combination of a graphical user interface, an automated production system, and its supporting software that must operate in synergy to be fully productive. These HMIs are becoming more important with the onset of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the desire to fully automate processes. However, not just any device will operate in the manner an HMI needs.

HMI Computers Must Be Compact

Warehouses come in all shapes and sizes, but regardless of the configuration of a warehouse it’s important to find an industrial touch panel PC capable of being installed in an area that’s non-obtrusive to traffic. A retail computer purchased off the shelf and then stored on a warehouse floor will undoubtedly get kicks and light shock damage. Populate an entire warehouse with computer towers, and you’re bound to see a hardware failure within the first three months. Small form factor design with a flexible open frame, wireless technology, and a fully integrated resistive touch screen are necessary components for a proper HMI computer. Why a resistive touch screen if it’s older technology? Capacitive touch screens won’t function with gloves. If you’re in an industrial warehouse, we’d recommend using gloves. We’d also recommend a resistive screen so you won’t need to remove them.

An Industrial Touch Panel PC Must Be Resilient

Temperature changes, sparks, disruptive noises, dirt, soot, chemicals, flying objects, shock damage, and other hazards are a concern for computers in warehouses. Workers can’t operate computers if they’re too close to an entity producing extremely hot or cold temperatures, so HMI computers must be resilient to extreme temperature changes. Thankfully, industrial computers are. Several industrial computer builds are encased in aluminum housings and constructed with military-grade components that have a Mean Time Between Failure of 50 thousand hours, much more than a consumer-grade computer. You’ll need an HMI computer resistant to all hazards to keep longevity. Combining metal enclosures, military-grade components, and resilience in extreme temperatures creates the perfect trifecta for longevity when it comes to HMI computers.

Industrial Computers Need Wireless Tech

A common problem with consumer-grade wireless devices is shoddy WiFi. Home routers drop wireless signals because of attenuation; wireless tech in HMI computers may do the same if the wireless range is too weak over the wireless “path,” or it’s blocked by warehouse walls—a concept known as a Faraday cage. Ensuring your next industrial touch panel PC is equipped with some of the strongest wireless capabilities—an Intel Dual Band Wireless-N 7260 Plus Bluetooth card—will reduce if not remove spotty wireless connections. Plus, if a keyboard and mouse are needed they can connect seamlessly with the HMI computer via Bluetooth. 

Industrial Panel PCs Need Mountability Options

For your next industrial computer deployment, it’s a strong idea to ensure all of the above are addressed, but that doesn’t address where your panel PCs might reside. What’s the solution there? An IT professional can’t leave them dangling from power cables or thrown about a warehouse floor, so a VESA mount is necessary to keep them clutter free. Using a standard 75/100m VESA mounting holes, staff can keep panel PCs out of the way by mounting them to the wall.

Adhering to specific hardware design and a set of features that expand productivity are what businesses should look for when it comes to HMI computers. At Cybernet, we’ve engineered a full line of industrial PCs that meet these standards and excels in the warehouse. Contact us today to find out more details.

DIN mounted computers

Real-Life Applications for Rack Mounted Computers and DIN Rail Computers

Mounting a computer isn’t just screwing in a few bolts into a strip of metal and calling it a day; there are stronger reasons for rack mounted computers and DIN rail computers than just looking professional. Rack mounts are best employed to keep hot and cold air moving at efficient rates. DIN rail computers follow a worldwide standard so professionals can easily mount them and other devices to a DIN strip. Let’s take a look at reasons some industrial companies utilize rack and DIN mounting for computers and possible problems when they’re not used in place of a consumer-grade PC.

Rack Mounted Computers Alleviate Heat and Manage Cabling

Rack mounted computers aren’t just installed in racks because it’s convenient; heat plays a major factor in the design for mounts. Imagine gathering several tower computers together in a room, connecting them haphazardly, flicking the power switch, and letting the computers sit without ventilation. That’s the equivalent of putting a computer in the oven for several hours—that infrastructure won’t last. Without a proper structure with the right industrial computers in place to route heat and wires, the server room in question will cook every component within it. In a server rack mount computer configuration, there are layout designs called hot/cold aisle configurations. They’re in place to ensure hot and cold air don’t mix. That’s why rack mounted computers have a superior design over consumer-grade PCs—since they will be functioning as “always on,” it’s important to design their cases in a matter so that they’re easily removable if need be and cold/hot air can flow liberally throughout their vents.

DIN Rail Computers Are Uniform

Without a mounting standard for computers, how can an individual know what they’re getting and how to mount it? If there’s no standard met with mounting an industrial computer, one can easily get lost in translation trying to match a random mounting bracket with a DIN strip. One of the greatest benefits to DIN mounting is that there’s no guesswork. DIN is a German national organization that sets measurement standards for a range of applications such as electrical connections, paper sizes, film speeds, and other standards. If a company decides to make it’s own mounting standard, industry professionals would be forced to stick with their proprietary industrial computers and terminal blocks. What if a company needs to purchase a range of products from different manufacturers, each with their own standards? That would lead to a potential pathway of unnecessary clutter, especially if a company requires four or five different standardized mounts. Standardizing the mounts through DIN make it easy to organize and mount DIN rail computers so there’s a neater possible configuration of components that retail off-the-shelf computers can’t provide.

DIN Rail Computers are Protected

If there’s a loose ground on an industrial computer for whatever reason, there’s an obvious risk of losing data, facing a short-circuit fiasco, or an entire system failure happening. Plus, heat has a tendency to rise upwards—if a series of computers are mounted together on a vertical rail, what kind of heat is each industrial computer receiving? How will cabling be handled with an entire coupling of computers? Gathering heat-producing electrical devices together can be a heat and electrical risk. That’s one reason why DIN mounts are standardized—they function as grounds for each computer. A DIN mount’s metal composition is important to the series of DIN rail computers installed on it. Aluminum is a common metal to use for ground transfer in the case of galvanic corrosion or electrical problems—it’s lightweight, too. Copper mounts can act as heat conductors, drawing away heat from the military grade computers. Plus, DINs function as proper cabling pathways. Setting up a bunch of retail computers to reside on a warehouse floor with cables strung everywhere is not an ideal solution for safety—either for the computer or for who might be using them. Protect your investments and your employees by mounting your DIN rail computers whenever possible to keep electrical hazards down and maintain a professional look.

Cable management, protection from heat, power distribution, and grounding all come to mind when handling rack and DIN mounted computers—that functionality isn’t just a matter of having convenient access to the computer in question when it’s needed. It’s a matter of optimizing your server installation layout to protect your data and ensure your network installation has zero problems in its design. That’s why choosing an industrial computer is a better option than consumer-grade.

tough tablets

Industrial Tablets vs Off-the-Shelf in the Field

Since 2010, Apple has seen tremendous success after the corporation released it’s first iPad tablet, launching a new market and being the trendsetter in a new line of mobile technology products. As recent as 2016, Apple’s global market share has reached 25 percent for tablets, leading Samsung by approximately 10 percent. It’s clear that this market has seen tremendous growth and application in the past 7 years—Apple sold more than 40 million iPads alone in 2016. However, what we’re looking at is largely representative of the consumer market for tablets and not the industrial market. It’s likely the case that an industrial company settled on Apple products for mobile productivity in the past, but there’s an important financial factor that’s hard to see on a day-to-day basis; the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is an estimation of expenses related with buying, deploying, using, and then retiring of a piece of equipment or product. Industrial companies focus a lot on TCO, but consumer grade tablets aren’t best in the long run for industrial companies. Generally the TCO for a tough tablet is lower (better) since they last longer. Here’s an in-depth look at why.

Tough Industrial Tablets Utilize a Hot Swappable Battery

If you’ve ever tried to remove the internal battery for a tablet, it was probably a frustrating and educational experience. Most tablets are sealed, so battery removable and replacement either requires someone who has experience getting into the innards of a tablet, a trustworthy individual with a steady set of hands who can learn quickly, or device shipment to the manufacturer who can replace the battery if the tablet is within warranty. If it’s not within warranty, expect to pay around 100 USD for a battery replacement and a turnaround time of 3-5 days with no promise of restoring all the previous data. If you’d prefer to remove and replace the battery yourself, kits often cost around as much as a manufacturer’s price for a battery replacement anyhow. That’s not a strong outlook for a business, especially if the tablets have no backstock, leaving at least one employee with no way to be productive. Or, you could just swap out the removable battery on the tough tablet instead and resume productivity. Not only does this removable battery functionality affect TCO greatly, it prevents production downtime. Plus, if a battery doesn’t hold a charge, others are available to purchase. The hot swappable battery function justifies the cost alone. It can take productivity from a few hours to a full work shift—or more, depending on how many people on different shifts use one tablet. One tough tablet with three batteries can be used continuously over the course of an entire day instead of three separate tablets in use, each potentially lasting the time span of a shift and then stored away to charge. Again, industrial tablets have a lower TCO.

Tough Tablets Need Tough Glass, and More

Some tablets use Corning’s Gorilla Glass, an alkali-aluminosilicate sheet of glass that is highly resistant to scratches, direct damage, and drops. Gorilla Glass has become a staple in tough tablet and smartphone manufacturing, but it’s not indestructible and a lot of videos have surfaced online demonstrating it can shatter if a tablet is dropped in sensitive areas—usually a corner. Industrial tablets are known to use Gorilla Glass and often have housings to protect the corners, which iPads and other consumer-grade tablets lack. Sure, a CFO can get protective cases for tablets too, but a rugged case can hit the wallet at about 80 USD—another cost consideration when going with consumer tablets. Why buy more when an industrial tablet comes with the protection? The last accidental drop a warehouse needs is one that shatters the glass on a tablet, potentially rendering the device useless. Tough tablets are built to withstand shocks and vibrations.

Tablets Tend to Bend

A quick search online reveals that consumer tablets aren’t the most resilient to warping. Some have actually shipped bent in the past, and others warp so much the glass actually shatters. Couple that in an industrial warehouse with temperature changes—not a favorable result. Even aluminum and stainless steel are known to warp a few microns because of temperature changes in machine shops, so we’ve come to expect sheets of silicon, aluminum, and glass to do the same. Industrial tablets are built to withstand temperature changes, vibrations, shocks, and accidental damage, extending their life beyond what a consumer would expect. Built with industrial-grade components, these tough tablets have a Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) timespan of six years. Consider that the original iPad released in 2010—several models of the iPad have been released between then and 2017, suggesting that one industrial tablet will last longer than several iPad generations. Again, lower TCO for the industrial tablet.

Capacitive is Great Technology—but Not For Industrial Tablets

Working in a warehouse often requires gloves—regular gloves, unless you buy capacitive-knit gloves (which are expensive and don’t provide much protection), don’t work on capacitive screens. Capacitive technology uses the electrical charge from our hands to actually register a change in voltage, thus changing the elements on screen. With a gloved hand, the electrical charge doesn’t register. Consumer grade tablets usually use capacitive screens, so a gloved hand won’t work. Industrial tablets use resistive screens so a gloved input can actually register. Sure, employees can take off their gloves and work with a tablet screen, but that’s quite a tedious annoyance.

These reasons clearly outline why tough tablets are the best choice for an industrial setting. Consumer grade tablets warp easier, batteries aren’t easily replaceable, gloved hands can’t interact with their screens, operational life is shorter, and there’s a higher TCO. Consider that the MTBF for an industrial tablet is longer than the lifespan for several generations of iPads and other tablets! You don’t want your employees to suffer productivity downtime over charging batteries or sending a broken tablet off to a manufacturer over one drop—unless you prefer spending more money over time.



Why Industrial Computers Are Perfect for Challenging Environments

Industrial computers are best equipped to work under the challenging working environments because they are built from the ground up to withstand the conditions that are not electronics-friendly. We can define such challenging working environments as anything that surpasses the norms of your typical controlled workspace such found in the office, school, library, retail store, or even hospital.


The challenging working environments in the industrial sector vary greatly and can be characterized by higher or lower temperatures than that of an indoor installation. Notably, when we speak about temperatures and the ability of the industrial computers to withstand the higher and the lower temperature margins, we should also inquire into the possibility of the temperature fluctuations. For example, when your industrial computer or rugged tablet is exposed to colder temperatures outside in the field and significantly warmer temperatures in the engineer’s vehicle or tent. Assuming your technical workers carry a rugged tablet from the tent and into the cold, the temperature fluctuation is abrupt and causes condensation. How will your iPad or Android tablet behave if you subject it to such frequent temperature fluctuations? Rugged tablets are built with such temperature fluctuations in mind, so the condensation or cold/heat do not affect the internal electronics. Industrial computers, too, are enclosed in a rugged casing that withstands extreme temperatures and protects the discreet parts from their destructive effects.


Temperature is not the only factor contributing to the ruggedness of the workspace. Humidity and exposure to liquid spills, splashes, liquid cleaning, or the need to function in the outdoor settings where it can rain is also a part of the normal operational needs in the industrial sector. The industrial computers, therefore, are liquid proof and have a sturdy casing that does not disintegrate if you clean it with a chemical solution.

Dust and Debris

On the contrary, if dust and other harmful particles find their way inside your computer, its lifespan shortens and its performance can be hindered. Industrial computers design takes into account the dusty, greasy and oily environments we can find in the food, beverage, restaurant industries, and other industrial settings, such as oil and gas. The fanless design and IP65 sealed, rugged casing keeps the dust, oil, grease and other harmful debris at bay.

Shock and Vibration

Vibration is, perhaps, one of the main characteristic features of the industrial workspace, be it on the construction site, on the manufacturing floor, or in the warehouse where the forklifts work. Needless to say, the off-the-shelf computers, when used in such environment, tend to fail significantly faster than if you use them in the office. The industrial computer, on the other hand, come with the solid state drive technology, and MIL-STD certified components and a rugged enclosure – all of which protect the electronics from the destructing effects of the excessive vibration and shock exposure.

Altitude, Solar Radiation

Solar radiation and altitude have a significant effect on the electronic products, and industrial computers use the different type of material and a design that stands up to a higher level of expectations than the consumer-grade computers. Unlike the MTBF of the discreet parts of the industrial computers, the MTBF of the discreet parts of the consumer PCS drops significantly when the PCs are exposed to high altitudes in the mountains, underground installations in the mining industry or excessive UV index, especially during the prolonged periods.


For some reason, when most people think about rugged, industrial environments, they tend to focus on the temperature, humidity, and vibration, whereas the location or the distance from the headquarters also translates into a factor of the ruggedness. Be in underground, high in the mountain, far in the field, or out in the desert or the sea, your industrial computers need advanced connectivity and electrical and radiation safety to ensure a) your installations are connected and the data keeps syncing, b) the safety of your installations and workers, c) the safety and longevity of your industrial computer, if it is exposed to power outages and current fluctuations.

Therefore, the industrial computers possess the advanced connectivity options – wireless WAN and LAN capabilities, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. As long as the rugged tablets are concerned, they cannot be locked to a specific wireless carrier, and allow for GSM or CDMA connectivity without being dependent on a specific provider. The electrical and radiation safety is ensured with MIL-STD rated components and a variety of stringent certifications adopted internationally.

Space Constraints

Space constraints also create a challenge the industrial computers need to address. Organizations often need to mount computers in rather small areas with very limited air circulation that can cause the overheating of a regular computer. Industrial computers rely on the fanless design that uses the passive cooling system. This build has several benefits. First, there are less moving parts in the computer, so its lifespan increases. Second, no harmful particles or dust penetrate the enclosure. Third, this configuration consumes significantly less power to cool down and run. Therefore, industrial computers are also energy-efficient, saving companies significant amounts in power consumption.

More so, if you need a robust industrial computer that is smaller than your typical installations. So, industrial computers address the challenge of space constraints with a variety of sizes and customizable configurations. The latter address, aside from small form factor in mini rugged PCs, the compatibility challenges with legacy systems and interfaces.

Customization Is A Must

So, customization is another way industrial computers address the need to adapt to challenging working environments. Industrial computers come with VESA mount options, legacy ports, dual hard drive support, Windows/Linux support, and a wealth of customizable parameters from hard drive to RAM and video card, or storage capacity. The ability of rugged computers and tablets to interface with a growing variety of complex networks of software and equipment is one of their decisive advantages achieved through customization.

Worker Safety

There is more to the industrial environment than the physical parameters. Namely, the worker safety, data integrity, security, and the sustainability. The worker safety is ensured with stringent tests and certifications, such as MIL-STD rated discreet components, IP65 rating, waterproof bezels, 60601-1 electrical and radiation safety, IEEE, or EN 50155 vibration protection, and many other certifications. If a device is not built with these intrinsic safety features from the ground up, it is not apt for use in the challenging working environments.

Data Integrity and Safety

Data integrity is ensured with the protection against current fluctuations, backup batteries and dual hard drive (SSD) technology and advanced connectivity for timely sync. On the other hand, data security features of industrial computers ensure the data is accessible only to authorized personnel and applications. With industrial espionage and ransomware rates increasing in all industries, cyber security issues cannot be ignored. Therefore, advanced authentication options, such as CAC/ Smart Card reader, biometric authentication with a fingerprint scanner, RFID Imprivata SSO coupled with Windows Professional user authentication features, sandboxing, encryption and remote administration offer the high level of security for your corporate data.


Future-proof sustainability is another crucial advantage of robust industrial computers and rugged tablets. As your workflow evolves and you add more devices and interfaces to the system, your industrial computers need to be able to accommodate your growing needs in capacity, performance, and compatibility. The trend toward the implementation of Big Data, IoT, predictive analytics and everything AI means your industrial computers will need more processing power sometime during their realistic, expected life cycle. Will you be able to upgrade them? Will the manufacturer offer spare parts, extra ports or other upgrade options if the need should arise?

To ensure your industrial computers and tablets are capable of sustaining peak performance under the increasingly resource-hungry – or mobile – use, make sure the manufacturer offers ample flexibility for the initial customization and the subsequent upgrades.

At Cybernet, we believe each client is unique, and ensure our industrial computers address the highest bar of our clients’ expectations. Contact us today to get a quote for your customized build.

How Industrial Computers Are Changing Industrial Automation

The accelerating pace of manufacturing competition pushes the adoption of advanced automation system globally. Used widely in detection, optimization, control, management, scheduling, analyzing and decision-making in various production processes, industrial automation improves product quality and the quantity output, increases the safety of labor and lowers the production costs.

Industrial Computers At The Heart of Industrial Automation

Industrial automation roughly consists of three key components – hardware, software, and system. Needless to say, the industrial computer is the cornerstone of industrial automation, the core of automation equipment and the base of information infrastructure. The industrial computer is now the driving force of industrial automation and the innovation that pushes the boundaries of automation the way we know it.

The current challenge for the enterprises now is to monitor the growing market of industrial automation solutions and technologies. Keeping up with the trend allows the companies to select and apply the automation solutions that will keep them ahead of the global competition. This means the decision makers need to not only understand the currently available technologies but to continue an ongoing self-education to be able to see the perspective in the innovative solutions.


The industrial automation is the present and the future, and robotics is gaining momentum. Collaborative robots dramatically broaden industrial automation possibilities. The flexibility of robotic automation solutions allows the companies with modest budgets to implement them widely. The worldwide competition has been shaped by now, with USA, Germany, China, South Korea, and Japan accounting for three-quarters of robot sales globally. China aims to become the leader of the world’s most automated nations, with 150 robotic units per 10,000 employees by 2020, according to the International Federation of Robotics.

The industrial computers drive the robotics industry, allowing for the industrial automation and digital information from sensors, cameras, the numerous IoT and industrial software to meet in a robust and easy-to-use interface of an industrial computer that can operate in rugged environments, is portable, has a significantly longer lifespan than the consumer PCs, and effectively a lower TCO.

Big Data

The consumer industry has influenced the changes in the industrial PCs evolution. The push for smaller, mobile and ever more robust and powerful devices has urged the industrial computers to keep up with the general trend. The past decade saw such advancements in the industry that allowed the industrial PCs to become smaller but handle the big data and analytics that require huge computing power. The capability of industrial PCs to handle big data increase the productivity and manufacturing performance. At the same time, the availability of multiple builds and solutions has made industrial PCs affordable for manufacturers of all sizes.

Powered by industrial PCs, industrial automation systems capture, process and analyze a wide range of data, the Big Data. That analyzed data is then effectively used to:

  • Improve productivity and performance
  • Make predictive maintenance possible, which helps manufacturers avoid production interruptions due to machine failures
  • Improve equipment utilization and overall equipment effectiveness
  • Run the equipment at optimized energy output, minimizing the production costs even further
  • Remotely access control systems with industrial mobile devices
  • Manage and control cybersecurity of the complex ecosystem


By capturing and analyzing data at every stage of production (through specially designed software, sensors and the industrial computer as the processing power of that data), manufacturers can review and create new manufacturing designs or optimize the existing ones. Big data allows the enterprises to connect, compare, assess different parts of the production cycle and use that information to make the production smarter, more cost-effective, and make predictive decisions.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

The growth of industrial automation by now has shaped a new vision  – Industry 4.0, which is a holistic approach that calls for omnidirectional modernization through the application of technology. The industrial automation adoption rates grow partly due to the fact that manufacturers now realize low labor rate is no longer a winning strategy. Industrial automation is.

This does not mean, however, that the machines are replacing humans – it means the humans need different skills. According to DMDII, The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, there are 600,000 unfilled positions in manufacturing around the country due to the technological skills gap, with Baby Boomers retiring and companies struggling to find skilled workers to replace them.

Industry 4.0, or the fourth industrial revolution, calls for the efficient implementation of the Internet of Things and communications technology in conjunction with the production. What else if not the industrial computer lets the multitude of machines communicate and offer a control and analysis interface to humans?

Industry 4.0 vision is grand and exciting. It envisions the achievement of the higher efficiency, productivity and self-managing processes, with industrial equipment, machines, logistics systems, IoT, communication systems, Big Data, analytics and humans communicating and cooperating directly. And the industrial computer is at the center of the intertwined web of these interactions. Namely, the mass production, affordability, and availability of industrial PCs.

The Industry 4.0 envisions the production of highly customizable produce in large quantities through industrial automation. In an environment, where production and logistics intelligently and effectively communicate creating a flexible manufacturing ecosystem, industrial computers play the key role.

A recently published Price Waterhouse Coopers report Industry 4.0: Building The Digital Enterprise says 72% of manufacturing enterprises expect their data analytics to improve their customer relations, while 35% of companies that already adopted Industry 4.0 expect their revenue to grow by 20% during the next 5 years.

New Opportunities

Finally, the growing role of industrial automation, robotics, IoT and Big Data is projected to give life to new business models that will offer new opportunities for manufacturers big and small.

Just as mobile technologies have revolutionized the communications and entertainment sectors, the increasingly powerful industrial computers let the industrial automation revolutionize the manufacturing processes and even create new business models. The enterprises that will harness the benefits of the digital technologies will be ahead of the competition in the upcoming decade.

Smart Factories and Their Use of Industrial Computers

Smart factories are rapidly replacing their traditional counterparts. By cutting costs, reducing labor requirements, and shrinking the space needed for operation, smart factories are able to increase production, raise profits, and improve customer satisfaction.

What Is a “Smart” Factory?

Smart factories are operated from an industrial computer, which controls the smart camera that allows the system to operate. Smart factories differ from traditional systems in a variety of ways. The predominant difference is the elimination of the errors that can result from human manual operations. Automatic inspection by machines means consistent output along every step of the factory process, providing consistent quality.

But smart factories have other benefits as well. They can help to lower production costs, as they eliminate much of the human labor that must be paid in a traditional factory. They also have increased productivity, because the entire system is automated and runs smoothly, with less risk of error. The consistency of production also means better customer satisfaction with the finished product.

Why Are Industrial Computers Essential for Smart Factories?

An industrial computer must be used because the system has to be rugged. Factories produce a variety of products, many of which can cause wet or humid conditions, spread dust, or produce a lot of vibrations. Industrial computers can hold up to whatever rugged elements a factory throws their way, while also providing the processing power needed to run the smart system. The computer also must be small, as smart factories being created in traditional factories often lack the space necessary for large, bulky technologies.

When it comes to operating smart factories, the vision system dictates the work that can be done, the quality of the work, and more. Smart cameras utilize multiple different technologies, including image sensors, storage space, and processing capabilities. While a more powerful smart camera may be able to execute more complicated tasks at a faster speed, they also take up more space and require more power for operation.

A larger camera may also require a fan if there isn’t space to regulate heat, but in a factory space, moving parts like a fan represent the threat of failure, which can shut down the entire system. Rugged industrial computer systems, such as Cybernet’s Fanless Rugged Mini PCs, help to eliminate the need for a cooling system, as they are better able to withstand temperature changes than lighter systems.

What Add-Ons Are Available for Industrial Computers that Are Specific to Smart Factories?

Smart factories utilize other technologies alongside their industrial computers as well. Many smart cameras can now be connected with HMI or a screen at the production line, rather than communicating only with a control room. The ability to have a screen on the production line means that problems can be caught far earlier in the production process. This presents the need for an industrial panel PC, such as Cybernet’s iOne N19, which can allow an operator to monitor and control any step of the process with ease. If an error occurs, production can be stopped or adjusted almost instantly. The industrial panel PC, like the computer itself, is rugged, and can withstand the elements within any factory space.

Another option available alongside industrial computers are industrial tablets. These make working on the factory floor or quickly and easily shifting operations a breeze. Cybernet’s Rugged X10 10.1” Industrial Tablet, with its waterproof and shockproof build, weighs just 2.2 pounds, but is powered by Intel i5/i7 CPU with vPro. Their rugged build makes them perfect for use anywhere and in any factory, while their processing power make them great for working on the go when a traditional computer is not available. Many industrial tablets, including the Rugged X10, also have cellular capabilities, which can allow operators to work from anywhere, which can help to speed up production and increase profits.

The Critical Reasons Why 3G/4G Wireless Functionality Is Important for Industrial Computers

As industrial computers get more and more sophisticated in their designs and capabilities, the focus has shifted to making them more versatile and efficient. An industrial PC today, in any of its forms – fanless, panel, etc – is built to be able to cater to the requirements of any industry, medical, engineering, aviation, retail, and so on. In order to be successful in doing so, an industrial PC must fulfil certain common criteria. Chief among these are durability, heat and water resistance, shock and vibration resistance, and wireless connectivity.

3G/4G wireless functionality has had a lot to do with the popularity that industrial PCs currently enjoy. By eliminating the need to hardwire each and every computer in an industrial setup, 3G/4G has set the stage for a much more evolved approach to industrial computing, and here’s how:

Widening the Field

Industrial establishments are often set up in remote locations, where hard wired connections are difficult to implement. These environments include manufacturing plants such as in the automobile industry, where intelligent connectivity protocols are just as important as the physical toughness and internal configuration of each individual machine. When on the field, a high-speed wireless functionality goes a long way in removing the hassle of cables, tethering and bulky control units from the equation, relying instead on the existing cellular service in the concerned location.

M2M Communication and Automation

The high data transfer speeds offered by 3G/4G wireless technology facilitate machine to machine communications and data sharing between multiple nodes of an industrial setup. It enables live video streaming and real time monitoring, thus keeping the field units of an industrial establishment up to speed with control centers spread across multiple locations. With individual machines efficiently participating in a shared process remotely, without the need for human supervision, the groundwork for smart industrial automation is laid.

Embedded Computing Applications

3G/4G wireless capabilities allow industrial mini PCs to be used as embedded computers. These compact fanless computers, when reinforced with wireless connectivity, can cater to dedicated tasks within a large or complex mechanical or electrical system. Such embedded systems have numerous applications today; vital stats monitoring equipment and medical imaging systems (PET, CT, MRI, etc.) in the medical industry are good illustrations.

Staying up to Speed

3G/4G wireless functionality also enables industrial computers to be upgraded remotely, whether in terms of improvements to their software capabilities, or in terms of streamlining or expanding them with newly developed functions significant to the particular industry they belong to. The upgrading process becomes much simpler and more convenient thanks to a high speed wireless connection.

3G/4G wireless functionality has affected a sea of change in how industries function, and will no doubt pave the way for a future with many more possibilities. This technology has, in a sense, completed the definition of the modern industrial computer, by adding to it the capability to do its job from anywhere and everywhere, regardless of physical and/or connectivity constraints.

Mobile Medical Applications of the Industrial Computer: The Case of the Medical Emergency Vehicle

The demands of modern mobile healthcare are much more challenging than those of most other industries. This is where lives are at stake, and emergency situations arise at little to no notice. In recent years, sophisticated computing has worked hand-in-hand with infrastructural advancements to increase the capabilities of mobile healthcare. Medical grade computers and tablets are now completely geared towards facilitating the provision of state-of-the-art medical care in mobile or makeshift situations.

Mobile Medical Care

Mobile medical care encompasses a host of concepts ranging from virtual mobility – such as patient data sharing – to actual physical portability of medical equipment and processes. The most tangible illustration of the latter can be seen in modern medical emergency vehicles. This includes ambulances that are used to transport patients from one station to another, as well as non-transporting EMS vehicles that are dedicated to moving medical equipment and supplies, and in some cases paramedics, to a site of emergency.

Up until a decade ago, medical vehicles were hardly equipped to adequately cater to emergencies. Today, industrial computers play a critical role in patient care during medical emergencies. Sturdy, shock proof and highly sophisticated, these rugged computers and tablets are designed to withstand demanding situations, and deliver results that ordinary computers could not have.

Fanless Rugged Mini PCs in Mobile Medical Care

The most commonly used medical tablets are the fanless rugged mini PCs. These industrial computers package superior performance in a casing that is resistant to heat, water damage, dust, microbes, shocks and vibrations. Their fanless cooling systems further add to their toughness and give them small footprints that can be docked into any setup – in this case a medical emergency vehicle. Modern industrial mini PCs are also equipped with wireless functionality, again adding to the convenience with which they can enable paramedics to stay connected with hospitals and medical centers.

RFID Scanners

Industrial computers also boast of some highly developed features that give them an edge over even the most top-notch regular PCs. Medical care providers can use the built in RFID scanners in these systems to bring themselves up to speed with a patient’s medical records and test results and update this information with details of any drugs administered or procedures performed during transit to a medical facility.

Industrial Computers in the Mobile Medical Industry

The rapid increase in the number of industrial computers used in the mobile medical industry is increasing with time. Thanks to these devices, medical emergency vehicles are now able to provide advanced life support to patients in critical conditions. They also allow basic tests and prepping procedures to be conducted in transit, and relay this information in real time to the hospitals the concerned vehicles are affiliated to. Even blood banks have adopted industrial tablets as the control devices in their mobile donation centers, using built-in barcode scanners to acquire donor data, thus saving precious time and effort.

Mobile medical care has broken new ground worldwide, and the bulk of the credit goes to industrial computers. Visualizing a future where a standalone vehicle can provide advanced medical care to a remote location without immediate hospital access is no longer all that difficult.

The Role of Industrial Computers in Industrial Automation

Industrial automation, as the name suggests, refers to the automation of industrial processes. It may be understood as an umbrella term for automation of design, manufacturing and monitoring processes and techniques, across the industrial spectrum, be it engineering, civic, defense, medical, retail or home automation, to name just a few. Automation has shaped our perception of these industries, and as such defined our relationship with them.

Computers and industrial automation cannot be understood in isolation. Not only have computers directed the trajectory of industrial automation, developments in the latter have in turn influenced advancements and improvements in computing processes. This symbiosis is so deeply inset in the modern world, that no longer are questions about the significance of computers in the industry relevant; this significance is a given. There is however, one development in the field of computing that deserves mention on account of its highly sophisticated synchronization with the requirements of industrial automation. This development is the arrival of the industrial computer.
Industrial computers come in various shapes, sizes, configurations and capacities, depending upon the aspect of industrial processes they are meant to handle. Between compact fanless rugged PCs, panel PCs, and highly scalable models, industrial computers can safely handle automated manufacturing, assembly, monitoring and remote access for any industry.


Industrial computers are ideal for high volume manufacturing that transcends the limits of human labor. Industrial PCs with state-of-the-art configurations and highly robust physical forms are used in factories to create and assemble the components of complex equipment with perfect precision, and also run automated quality checks at very high speeds. Automobile and equipment manufacturing industries have greatly benefitted from the development of rugged and powerful industrial computers.

Asset Tracking

One of the primary benefits that industrial computers bring into the equation, is their ability to monitor any given processes or components for possible discrepancies. This is not limited to quality control; in fact, industrial computers are immensely popular in the day-to-day functioning of industries such as retail and healthcare. This is because they facilitate the tracking of assets, both on site and remotely, and the efficiency and accuracy with which they do so makes them irreplaceable. Compact panel PCs can easily be integrated into a teller’s counter, or scaled up to make the most of a monitoring center, giving any industry immense flexibility to design their asset tracking processes as per the environment within which they function.

Simulation and Visualization

Scientific advancements today owe a major component of their success to industrial computers. These powerful systems emulate real world situations, making it possible to analyze risks, extrapolate possibilities and test any system within any framework, at little to no risk of adverse impacts. The capability of an industrial computer to simulate and generate realistic visualizations of possible outcomes finds application in a wide range of industries, ranging from geology and mining, to mechanics and engineering design, right up to surgical simulations and real time medical imagery.

Industrial computers came into existence as a response to the growing need for evolved and sophisticated automation, experienced by every industry with a global consumer base. They are, therefore, inseparable both from the modern definitions of these industries, and the future that awaits them.