When you think of an industrial embedded computer you might think of the monolithic consumer PCs which flooded the technology market in the ’90s. Rectangular gray and white boxes, either stood upright or were laid on their side, with cords protruding from the back, a floppy or CD drive on the front, and vents cut into the sides to allow cooling of the internal components. As advancement in technology continues, the size and design of PC systems have changed dramatically. Today’s industrial embedded PCs barely resemble their desktop-tower counterparts. Even more importantly, perhaps, is the way industry utilizes PCs has changed to include applications which seemed impossible not-all that long-ago. But what exactly is an industrial embedded PC?
What is an industrial embedded PC system?
An industrial embedded PC is basically any specialized x86 automation box PC-based computing-platform implemented as part of a bigger device, intelligent system or-installation Embedded computers go by a number of names (Gateway, Controller, Box PC, Industrial PC). They are designed for maximizing manufacturing productivity and efficiency in industrial applications.
An industrial embedded PC is most-easily described by how it is used. However, there are some key features which have made them a vital part of modern-system design. Industrial embedded PCs offer different features compared to consumer PCs in terms of compatibility, expansion options, reliability, and long-term supply.
While a commercial computer is built with the notion that it will be disposed of eventually, an Industrial computer system is built-to-last for a longer period of time, and under more abuse. Featuring compact design, PCIe expansion capability, and flexible I/O selections, embedded box PCs meet many challenging configurations and specifications required by virtually all industrial automation applications. And, while your regular commercial PC needs to be treated fairly delicately, industrial embedded PCs are designed to endure the harshest climates, work treatment, and environments. Depending on the type you use, Embedded PCs may be used in water, dusty areas, in extremely hot and cold temperatures, or even withstand being handled roughly or dropped.
What are the pros and cons of embedded industrial PC systems?
Embedded computers offer numerous important advantages over standard-consumer grade hardware.
- Small Form Factor: Embedded PCs can be installed in areas where antiquated towers would certainly not fit since they are often built around small form-factor motherboards. They can also be utilized in almost any position or orientation because of the solid state-storage and flexible mounting options.
- Higher-powered motherboard processor: The user can, therefore, expect a fast turn-around of outputs during the processing operations because it is highly compatible with tough applications.
- Lower Maintenance: As their name suggests, embedded computers in many instances, live deep-inside complex systems, making reliability really important. Industrial PCs are engineered to offer 24-hour, uninterrupted operation, frequently employing carefully engineered, vent-less and fan-less enclosures designed to dissipate heat efficiently while protecting internal components from environmental damage that range from moisture, extreme temperatures, and vibration to dust and airborne debris.
- Efficient Cooling: While fans are used in consumer-grade computer systems to help cool the components, they may create a point of potential failure in an Industrial embedded system. Embedded systems will require openings in the enclosure to help enable inflow and outflow of air.
- Embedded computers can be customized, which means users can request for a custom-built panel PC based on their needs.
- Perceived to be a costly investment
Deciding upon a reliable embedded industrial computer for your specific industry
Embedded computer systems come in an endless array of sizes and shapes, from the miniature ARM-based devices which power today’s smartphones, to all in one’ solutions which run massive earth movers and military equipment. Industrial computers also play a key role in in the evolving IoT (Internet of Things), aiding the connections between people, machines, places, things, and the cloud. Embedded computers are being used by a wide array of industries all over the world which require high-performance computing system power that can serve as the brains behind a new system or be easily integrated into their existing device.
Primarily, Industrial embedded computers are used for data acquisition such as in solar arrays and/or process control. They also serve as navigation equipment, to the brains behind modern interactive kiosks and complex digital signage displays. The fanless embedded PCs can also be customized with a company’s own brand, with the functionality it is needed for and desired appearance, even when in small quantities.
Contact Faytech North America for all your questions.