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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.

Industrial Computer Selection Criteria for the Oil and Gas Industry

Technological advancements have led us to areas we have never had access to before, such as horizontal drilling in the Bakken region. Conventional drilling techniques have only been able to extract a fraction of the available crude. Producers flock to newly available areas that provide the oil and gas extraction. As technology creates new business in the oil and gas industry, computing systems must keep up to support these harsh environmental activities.

The substantial growth in unconventional oil sources like shale deposits, subsea deposits, and oil sands has created a much more complex system. The technology that supports these efforts must be more advanced as well. For example, oil extraction produces massive amounts of data that must be reviewed in order to prevent a rig from shutting down. Field staff members need to connect with experts so they can make critical decisions based on the evaluation of easily accessed data in real time.

Whether collecting and reviewing data or automating processes, computer systems need to be able to withstand the harsh environmental conditions. High-end, rugged industrial computers are now available to accommodate the needs of the oil and gas industry.

The Need for Rugged Systems

The computing industry has made immense progress for accommodating the processes and systems that are newly connected to the oil field. There are new advancements in computers that improve equipment control and data processing. Developers now face new challenges for design and performance. Additionally, the must be able to perform reliably while handling harsh conditions like extreme desert heat and below freezing temperatures.

When it comes to embedded system design, the oil and gas industry requires some of the most demanding and complex systems. They require optimization for reliability and mean time between failures (MTBF). Avoiding downtime is critical in most embedded environments, especially in the oil and gas industry. System failures cause downtime in oil production, resulting in significant losses.

This is an especially big problem when drill sites are located in remote sites, requiring more resources and time when systems go down. In-field operational costs are greatly reduced with reliable, rugged systems. Computer systems designed for the oil and gas industry ideally include specific design features, uninterrupted supply lines, and support readily available. Time and money can be saved when debugging of a system can be done remotely with a connected system.

Most computer systems are built to withstand the traditional office setting; however, oil and gas office settings are much different. Command centers consist of temporary structures filled with contaminants like dust. The command centers are on location in close proximity to pump systems and drilling platforms. Computing systems are transported by vehicles, so being shockproof and vibration resistant are important factors in the design of a rugged system.

Due to environments much harsher than traditional office settings, computing systems have been developed specifically for the oil and gas industry. Capabilities and new features have been created, such as eliminating dirt entering systems with removable dust filters. Shock and vibration are now reduced with hold-down brackets for I/O, expansion cords, and cable tie downs. Operating near a source of constant, heavy vibrations is no longer an issue. Systems are protected during transport with shock-mounted drive bays adding stiffness in the chassis design. There are many features and designs created for computing systems in the oil and gas industry.

Choosing the Right System

With so many technological advances in computing systems, which one is best? Not all industrial computers are created equally so it’s important to choose the right system for oil and gas operations. Here are the three most important qualities to look for in an industrial computer system:

  1. Tough Design – An ideal rugged, industrial system can manage dust and temperature extremes, meet shock and vibration considerations, be optimized for connectivity and computing power, and ensure reliable and long-term performance that is required for oil and gas installations.
  2. Low Maintenance and Long Life – A developer with global service presence is critical for oil and gas installations, providing the necessary support to meet the goal of maximum system uptime. They provide this vital support and require minimal field manage maintenance. A system should be supported by the manufacturer and in-field maintenance made easy. It should have a long-term availability of components for continued performance and guaranteed longevity.
  3. Technical Support – Ideally, system support will be available in the region where the system is deployed. There are only a few manufacturers with global presence for both design and manufacturing. This is important due to the complexity and global nature of oil and gas companies. Advanced systems make a difference in oil production by connecting with critical data with people around the world, improving productivity and safety of operations.

Additionally, experts in embedded computing solutions provide engineering resources and share knowledge of computing platforms to ensure the systems’ faster deployments. Global technical support substantially reduces downtime.

Due to the new technological advances in drilling and access to more remote areas, rugged systems are necessary now more than ever. Previously undrilled areas are now accessible and enabled with the assistance of new computing technology. Systems must adapt to these changes and withstand the harsh environments. The demands for high MTBF, higher performance, extended product lifetime, and reliability are met with the right system.

Check out these fully customizable, rugged industrial computers>>>>

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.

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.

Optimal Performance in The Industrial Sector: RS-232 Serial Ports Over USB

The current version of the RS-232 was issued in 1997, but its original use was for 1960s telegraphs. Technologically speaking, the RS-232 is borderline artifact, yet it’s still found attached to many PCs in the industrial sector – and for good reason.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a RS-232 serial port on personal laptop computers in stores today. In recent years, the RS-232 has been replaced with the sleeker Universal Serial Bus (USB). Yet even with its limitations, namely high energy draws, when compared to the newer USB, the RS-232 is still an ideal component for computers within the industrial realm which transfer high volumes of data daily, and whose work environments require a bit more reach power.

RS-232 Basics

The “RS” in RS-232 stands for the “recommended standard” which defines the electrical and mechanical traits of the connector, namely the pin numbering, for example, a 9-pin connector. The port is used to connect a piece of data terminal equipment (DTE), like a computer, to a data circuit terminating equipment (DCE), like a modem.

RS-232 offers flexibility in communicative abilities, in terms of a minimal unidirectional communication, or a more complex bidirectional connection. For a unidirectional communication, the RS-232 requires two wires: the TX/RX and GND. Within a bidirectional configuration, at least three wires are used: TX, RX, and GND. Communication over RS-232 is simple and almost intuitive on the PC’s part, completed with minimal code input and no need for additional software, which USB communication often requires.

As previously mentioned, in recent years, the installation of RS-232 serial ports has been replaced with USB, specifically in personal computer design. Limitations of the RS-232 include slow transmission speeds and large voltage swings, both of which contribute to high energy usage, especially in comparison to the efficient USB. Adding even more appeal, USB also offers a bit more versatility in tasks.

Due to the four wire configuration – ground, 5V, D+ and D – USB goes beyond mere data transfer to offer charging capability. The USB’s versatility, low cost, and sleeker design earned its place in the consumer marketplace. However, even with limitations in the consumer world, plenty of characteristics make the RS-232 a more advantageous element in industrial-use computers than USB.

RS-232 Serial Ports vs USB: When the DTE and DCE Are Not Co-Located

A RS-232 serial port is ideal for situations where the DTE and DCE are farther apart, but ideally no more than 15 meters. USB 2.0 ports only work with up to 5 meters of cable for hi-speed transmissions (480 Mbit/s). This is because if the receiver of the USB waits too long for a reply, it assumes the connection failed.

For the RS-232, any distance more than 15 meters will have maximum capacitance and will require the use of additional cables. If the two terminals requiring connection are within 15 meters, then low-capacitance cables can be utilized, resulting in full speed communication, making the workspace ideal for RS-232.

RS-232 Serial Ports vs USB: When Space Is Vital

USB ports require a protocol for transferring data, adding more required software to facilitate successful transmissions. RS-232 ports don’t need additional software.  In fact, they easily communicate to headless systems, like servers, where no keyboard or mouse commands are inputted.

If your industry is merely interested in data transfer, especially continuous communication and data feed, then RS-232 frees up space for data, rather than for its instructions.

RS-232 Serial Ports vs USB: Older Computers

Since RS-232 serial ports have been around much longer than USB ports, older computers and machinery utilize the uninterruptible connection. Industry-specific consoles or programmable logic controllers often utilize RS-232 simply because that’s the way it’s been, and for the aforementioned reasons, it hasn’t made sense to update the machinery to include USB ports.

Purchasing a new PC with only USB options can prove frustrating if older equipment only features RS-232 ports. While there are RS-232 serial port adaptors available on the market (and ironically connected to USB plug-ins), they won’t work as well as traditional RS-232 serial ports.

Although most personal computers don’t come standard with RS-232 serial ports, industrial computers, which serve far different purposes, find vital use in this older style port. RS-232 serial ports have been criticized for their high-energy usage.  In actuality, however, they are continuously communicating data, which, in some workplaces, is exactly what is required to remain productive. USB offers versatility with data transfer and charging capability, but that comes with additional software and protocol, whereas the RS-232 requires little instruction to operate. Finally, in a work center where machinery is spaced further apart, the RS-232 is the only viable option as the USB only maintains transfer within 5 meters.

Choosing between a RS-232 or USB equipped PC really comes down to knowing what your particular data transfer needs are, then meeting them accordingly with the proper port.

Why Industrial Computers are Perfect for the Petroleum and Coal Business Sectors

There are a number of sectors that rely on industrial computing devices to carry out an extensive number of business processes. In terms of growth, the processing power and capabilities of modern industrial computing devices have grown to mirror evolving business needs. The petroleum and coal industry is one sector that has successfully integrated the use of industrial computers in critical operational tasks. Much of the world’s power runs on petroleum or coal resources. The demand for these resources are considerable, thus, it becomes vital for every stakeholder to utilize the best tools available to expedite manufacturing processes. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why industrial computers are a must for the petroleum and coal business sector.

The Nature of the Industry

The nature of the location of petroleum refineries pose a considerable challenge for the tools that are used to extract and process the vital resource. One of the major processes involved in the petroleum industry is the practice of seismic data processing to locate and identify viable oil reservoirs. Given the nature of the working environment, the computer devices that should be deployed has to be capable of processing huge packets of data while managing to adapt to the harsh environment of petroleum refineries.

Rugged Capabilities

The reason why industrial computers work so well in hostile environments like petroleum refineries is because of their ability to withstand a variety of environmental hazards. The rugged characteristics of industrial computing devices ensure that performance isn’t compromised in hazardous working conditions. Industrial computing devices are constructed to withstand heat, ingress of dust, exposure to liquid, and resistance to shock and vibration caused by sudden drops. These features make industrial computing devices the perfect tool for petroleum refineries to employ. Drilling operations can proceed uninterrupted even when dust, debris, and other elements are circulating thanks to the sturdy construction of industrial computers.


One of the challenges associated with drilling operations in petroleum refineries deals with monitoring requirements. Monitoring oil wells can result in extensive labor hours when traditional methods of monitoring are employed. Mistakes brought about by human error can also occur when traditional monitoring methods are employed. The high performance computing output of industrial computers successfully addresses monitoring requirements without being susceptible to the weaknesses of traditional methods. Errors are reduced and production levels skyrocket when industrial computers are used to track, monitor, and report developments that occur in petroleum refineries as they happen.


As industrial computing devices are used as communication hubs, the problems associated with the remote locations of refineries are addressed sufficiently. The need to deploy teams of professionals to isolated locations can be mitigated when industrial computers are used efficiently. It becomes a simple matter to remotely track and record the data from various petroleum refinery sites when industrial computing devices are utilized. Rugged capabilities, high performance output, and efficient monitoring capabilities are some of the major reasons why industrial computers are such a perfect fit for the petroleum and coal business sectors.

The Use of Industrial Computers in the Aerospace Sector

Over recent years, industrial computers have come to take on a critical role in a number of professions. The aerospace industry is one sector that has come to rely on the use of these devices to address a number of tasks and needs. Aerospace is chiefly concerned with the merging different streams of science, business, and engineering to navigate the atmosphere of the Earth and outer space itself. The scope of the industry is remarkably diverse and its applications cover commercial, military and industrial concerns. While there are a variety of computing devices available on the market, the features inherent in industrial computers make them the default device of choice for professionals who operate in the field of aeronautics. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that industrial computing devices are being utilized in the field of aeronautics.

Aircraft Maintenance Procedures

One of the critical processes that are constantly being executed in the aerospace industry deals with maintenance procedures. Aircraft maintenance methods require personnel to be frequently mobile. Portability is the main feature that maintenance personnel require from an industrial computing device. Rugged tablet PCs grant maintenance personnel this critical capability but it takes more than mobility to carry out a successful aircraft maintenance operation. The features that are available in industrial computing devices ensure that maintenance procedures are carried out successfully. Aircraft maintenance personnel can easily analyze flight related data, display three dimensional images, view technical documents, and even search for signs of damage within the aircraft through the use of industrial computing devices.

Defense Applications

The aerospace industry extends itself to include defense applications and industrial computing devices have proven to be an essential tool in carrying out a number of tasks. Modern day battlefields now have soldiers wielding computers to carry out routine procedures like surveillance, reconnaissance, intelligence gathering, and terrain mapping. Industrial computing devices are such a perfect fit for defense applications because of the harsh nature of the operating conditions that they are used in. The rugged features of industrial computing devices allow soldiers and defense personnel to carry them around in areas where they may be exposed to water, dust, fluctuations in temperature, and even shocks caused by sudden drops.

Rugged Displays for Aeronautic Vehicles

Vehicles used in the aerospace industry utilize displays that run a variety of applications. Industrial computers have allowed planes, helicopters, and ground vehicles to house rugged displays that display mission critical data, maps, and video in real time. The interactive displays found in these vehicles are capable of functioning in a variety of conditions. Personnel can access these displays during low visibility conditions at night. The rugged construction of these devices also ensures optimum performance in the harsh environments that they are being deployed in.

Experiments in Outer Space

Industrial computers are capable of withstanding extreme fluctuations in temperature and that is a feature that is especially useful in the aerospace sector. Research missions in outer space feature the use of industrial grade computing devices to weather the punishing temperature conditions that these electronic components are exposed to. Experiments in outer space that delve into the nature of plasma utilize the industrial computer’s resistance to fluctuations in temperature to great effect. 99 Percent of the visible material in space is considered plasma. Plasma is considered the fourth state of matter after solids, liquids, and gases. Experiments involving gas clouds and stars in outer space rely on industrial computing devices to process data while withstanding the exposure to cold and heat and resist sudden shocks and vibrations.

Three Industries That Benefit from the Use of Industrial Computing Solutions

Computers have come to occupy a position of importance in a variety of professional settings. A gamut of tasks, from the minute to the complex, is executed by these devices. The office sector has integrated the use of desktop computers to great effect. When it comes to fulfilling the needs of a specific profession, not all computers are made equal. The fields of industry and manufacturing rely on specific tools to carry out important business functions. Industrial grade computers have steadily risen to become the primary tool of choice for professionals who are working in demanding working environments. To understand this fully, it is important to consider the nature of each profession’s working environment. The areas of industry and manufacturing do not have the comforts of a controlled office space. Industrial working environments are usually dusty, loud, and filled with a number of potentially hazardous materials. Let’s take a look at some of the industries that are best served by industrial computing solutions.

Power Generation

Power stations that generate electricity are one industrial setting where industrial computing devices need to be employed. The demand for electricity is nearly universal and industry leaders cannot afford to work with tools that can be compromised easily. The unique environmental conditions of power stations are the main reason why industrial grade computing devices are required. More often than not, power stations are outdoor locations that aren’t immediately friendly to electronic devices. The remote locations of some power stations will expose electronics to the elements. It is important for the computers in power stations to be engineered in such a way that they are resistant to dust, vibration, and fluctuating thermal conditions. Industrial computers are the best tool for these environments because of their rugged features and high standards of reliability.

Mining Industry

The mining industry is another sector that can benefit from the use of industrial computing solutions. Traditional mining methods have given way to more sophisticated approaches made possible by technological advances. Industrial computers are used to guide the tunneling machines that are employed in various mining operations. These devices dictate the speed, position, and output of the tunneling machines that are being deployed resulting in a streamlined and efficient operation. The rugged features of industrial computing devices also come into play given the nature of the environmental conditions in the mining industry. Industrial computers manage to address performance needs without succumbing to extreme fluctuations in temperature, system malfunctions brought about by flying dust particles, and humidity and moisture issues.

Transportation Industry

The transportation industry heavily relies on industrial computing solutions to address a variety of needs. Railway transit systems use industrial computers to fulfill numerous tasks. The processing power of industrial computers is employed to fulfill communication, safety, collision avoidance, lighting, and location monitoring tasks in railway systems. At the same time, the sturdy build quality of industrial computers ensures that the devices get to withstand the constant stresses brought about by continuous exposure to shock and vibration.

The Use of Industrial Computers in the Automotive Industry

The nature of the working environment in automotive manufacturing plants calls for the use of a device that is powerful enough to meet business process requirements while managing to address the constant need for flexible manufacturing practices. Modern industry standards see a single automotive manufacturing plant carrying out the task of creating multiple vehicles in various permutations. The use of industrial computers has enabled business leaders to keep up with the evolving demands of the automotive manufacturing sector. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages that are made available when industrial computers are used on the manufacturing floor.

A Streamlined Manufacturing Process

Industrial computers have allowed industry leaders to wield an unprecedented level of control over the manufacturing process. The very method of manufacturing cars has shifted from the traditional assembly line to a streamlined manufacturing process that extensively employs the use of industrial computers. These devices link a variety of processes, such as design, distribution, inventory control, and analysis functions. These disparate functions can be accessed through the industrial computing device and is linked to critical functions in the factory floor. Users can access all of these functions in one device, thereby simplifying the tasks of operations monitoring and process control.

Improved Factory Working Conditions

The working conditions of automotive manufacturing plants have drastically changed as a result of the use of industrial computing devices. In the past, automotive manufacturing plants were seen as a less than ideal working environment. The undesirable working conditions that characterized the manufacturing plants of the past were mired by filthy factory floors and hard labor. The model of dirty automotive manufacturing plants has drifted into obsolescence. Modern car manufacturing plants feature a more streamlined work process thanks to the use of industrial computers. Much of the labor intensive tasks are executed by these devices. Robotic arms are linked to industrial computing devices and assembly tasks are executed in a methodical manner.

Increase in Productivity and Safety Levels

Output and productivity levels have increased in automotive manufacturing plants because of the use of industrial computing devices. Modern automotive assembly plants utilize computers and robots to assume much of the labor intensive parts of the manufacturing process. As a result, the limitations associated with the traditional assembly line model have been eliminated. Automotive manufacturing plants no longer need to employ as many people to assemble cars. With industrial computing devices handling much of the assembly task, automotive manufacturing plants are much safer to work in and have enjoyed an exponential increase in productivity levels as well.

Rugged Features

The rugged features of industrial computing devices make them the perfect tool to employ in the busy factory floor of an automotive manufacturing plant. Industrial computers are resistant to fluctuations in temperature as well as the ingress of dust, fluids and other particles. In the automotive industry, devices that do not have these rugged features cannot withstand the frequent processes of welding and spray painting. Industrial computers allow for an uninterrupted work process in spite of the relatively unpredictable working conditions. With industrial computing devices, the manufacturing process has become more reliable and streamlined.