What Is an "Industrial Computer"?
An Industrial Computer—often referred to as an Industrial PC (IPC) or Rugged Computer—is a type of computer system designed to operate reliably in harsh industrial environments. These environments can include manufacturing floors, warehouses, outdoor locations, and other settings where standard commercial computers might not withstand the conditions.
Industrial Computers are built to be more robust than standard PCs, and designed to withstand extreme temperatures, vibration, and shock.
Wide Temperature Range
The ability to operate in a broader temperature range makes Industrial Computers suitable for extreme hot or cold environments.
Industrial Computers often come with specialized ports and connectors for interfacing with industrial equipment, such as controllers and sensors.
Industrial Computers are engineered for continuous, 24/7 operation with redundant components to minimize downtime.
Many Industrial Computers use fanless (or passive) cooling systems to reduce the risk of dust and debris getting inside the system.
Different industries have different needs—Industrial Computers should have ordering options for processors, memory, and components.
Common Industries and Applications
Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)
Medical & Healthcare
Defense & Government
Agriculture & Food Production
How to Select the Right Industrial Computer
Selecting the right Industrial Computer involves critical factors and considerations to ensure it meets the demands and requirements of your industry. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you make the best choice:
Understand the specific needs of your industrial application. Different industries have varying demands, such as display, automation, data acquisition, process control, monitoring, or machine vision. Knowing the exact requirements will help you narrow down the options.
Industrial environments can be harsh, with factors like extreme temperatures, dust, moisture, and vibrations. Choose an industrial computer that is designed to withstand these conditions. Look for ruggedized and sealed enclosures with appropriate Ingress Protection (IP) ratings.
Certifications and Standards
Look for industrial computers that comply with relevant industry standards, such as CE, FCC, UL, and others. Compliance ensures that the device meets safety and performance criteria.
Longevity and Reliability
Industrial computers should have a longer product life cycle compared to consumer-grade computers. Ensure that the manufacturer provides a long-term availability guarantee and a minimum 2-year warranty to support your critical operations.
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
Look beyond the initial purchase cost and evaluate the overall TCO. Consider factors like maintenance, downtime, energy consumption, and potential future upgrades.