Tag Archives: rugged industrial computer

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.

 

 

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 Ultimate Buyer’s Guide for Rugged, Industrial Computers

At the core of present-day production facilities are industrial computers. Aimed largely at streamlining data acquisition and process regulation in shop-floor settings, industrial computers continue to function both as a primary processing resource, as well as a secondary light-weight computing front-end. Nothing serves a highly distributed, process control environment better than an industrial computer.

Industrial computers exhibit certain differentiating characteristics that mark them distinct. Simply put, these peculiar characteristics are the very considerations that decision-makers must take into account when purchasing industrial computers for manufacturing facilities, mechanical laboratories, and other unforgiving operational environments.

In addition to sheer computing prowess, here’s a checklist of important features set to assist you in making the all-important industrial computer purchase decision:

Shock and Vibration Resistance:
shockvibProlonged exposure to high levels of shock and vibration is perfectly normal for industrial computers, particularly for the ones deployed in production plants and machine floors. The rugged computers are expected to tolerate such demanding operational conditions during their entire lifetime. It is important that the industrial computers you buy be shock and vibration tolerant.

This is achieved by incorporating a metal spring in the industrial computer chassis. The design intervention protects the internal modules from undergoing otherwise unavoidable damage when rigorously shaken, hit accidentally by moving parts, or dropped. Make sure your potential purchase is equipped with this feature.

Military Grade Electronics:
chip1To ensure fortification down to the component level, a handful of manufacturers go the extra mile and integrate military-grade electronics into their industrial computers. The move improves product reliability significantly. Aluminum electrolytic capacitors coupled with the latest in high-performance charge accumulation technology adds an extra level of protection – making it a must-have feature for computers to be installed in modern-day industrial settings.

Ingress Protection Marking:
IP65-TESTED-LOGOThe durability and longevity of electronic devices are ascertained by the International Protection marking standard they conform to. The IP certification indicates an ample degree of defense against dust, dirt accidental contact with water and liquid spills.

The IP65 certification signifies protection from the minutest solid-particles to such an extent that no ingress of dust takes place. The certification also means that the product’s enclosure provides a certain level of protection against harmful contact with water or similar liquids. IP marking is, for this reason, an immensely desirable feature in industrial computer systems. Double check that your future purchase conforms to standard IP protection marking.

Fanless Construction:
Why_FanlessConventional fan-based cooling systems in traditional medical computers are prone to mechanical failures. Instead, having a fanless, passive cooling system on-board the industrial computer ensures that debris such as dust, dirt, and chemicals are not spread at the workplace. This is particularly important for clean-room and high-precision manufacturing settings. A passive cooling system also ensures lowered levels of electrical and auditory noise, making the fanless design worth every penny.

Operational Temperature Range:
hot-thermometer-clip-art-dcrexypMiFrom ultra-low temperature around storage units for chemicals and food items to blazingly high temperature in the vicinity of heavy machinery manufacturing units, industrial computers are subjected to extremities in temperatures every single day of their operation. The dynamic range of temperature over which an industrial computer operates is perhaps the most important design consideration while making a purchase decision. A higher dynamic range is most often desirable and should be warranted.

Industrial computers built by Cybernet pack all of the amazing features mentioned above. Cybernet’s industrial computer systems are built upon a unique design philosophy that emphasizes a meticulous interplay of ergonomics and reliability, delivering the very best in next-generation, rugged industrial computing. Simplify your industrial computer buying decision by learning more about Cybernet’s rugged computer product line at www.cybernet.us.