Despite the presence of dust, powder, and water, many food processing facilities attempt to use consumer-grade computers for reading recipes, controlling machinery, or tracking inventory. At face value these computers look to be a no-brainer due to their low purchase price; however, they very quickly realize their mistake, as their consumer-grade computers fail shortly after installation. Most customers we talk to in the food and beverage industries see a maximum usable lifespan of 2 or 3 months for a consumer-grade computer placed in their processing areas.
To put this into perspective; if a food processing plant requires 10 computers in its processing area, the company would need to purchase 40 new computers every year. This would require a minimum annual investment of $16k (assuming $400 per computer) for the hardware alone, not including the time/resources required to troubleshoot and replace the failed units.
When speaking with customers who need to operate computers in harsh environments, we regularly walk customers through the process of determining the best ingress protection (IP) rating for their application. Several important factors will determine the best choice.
Dust and Powders
Consumer-grade computers don’t perform well when there is a high level of airborne particulate that the cooling fan can pull into the chassis. The particulate will collect inside the computer until it causes internal components to fail. To protect against this type of damage computers should carry an ingress protection (IP) rating sufficient to ensure internal components are completely safe from airborne particulates. This means that the computer should utilize a passive fanless cooling system.
Water and Humidity
Moisture is not typically a word that you want associated with a working environment requiring a computer, but those in the food and beverage industries don’t have that luxury. They need computers that can operate in the presence of spraying water, powerful water jets, humid air, condensation, and cleaning agents. A consumer-grade desktop or all-in-one computer is simply not designed to operate under these extreme conditions.
It wouldn’t make sense to replace your computers at least once per quarter, so it’s essential that food and beverage facilities equip their operations with computers that offer full protection from water. Full protection is achieved by computers with passive fanless cooling systems and a totally sealed unit housing. Waterproof IP ratings begin at IP65 (protection from hose water) and go as high as IP69K (protection from close range, high temperature, and high pressure water jets).
Food Processing Computer Solutions
Teguar has pioneered several innovative industrial-grade waterproof computers specifically engineered for reliable 24/7 operation in harsh industrial or food/beverage processing environments. These units feature passive fanless cooling systems, dustproof ratings, and waterproof ratings. If you’re still trying to cobble a consumer-grade product into your operations it’s time to stop wasting money and invest in a proven food processing solution. Call 1-800-877-7715 or check out our selection of industrial-grade waterproof computers on our website.