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Technical Articles & Industry Trends
So you’ve been asked to integrate an industrial-grade panel pc into an existing product. After feeling has returned to your face, the thought crosses your mind, what do I do next?Thus begins the search for the industrial-grade computer. There are several pretenders out there in the market, who claim a waterproof bezel and industrial-grade components.
Here are some questions I suggest asking as you navigate the sometimes murky waters of industrial computers:
This is important especially if your environment requires the touch screen to be clear of debris. A recessed screen can catch particles and build up. Also with a flush front bezel, the rating tends to be IP65, which is waterproof against washing with water from a spray bottle or hose water.
There are a number of industrial computers out there that have a smart fan to keep the CPU cool, which is important. However, a fanless system allows for a total sealable system which prevents the buildup of dust and dirt on the internal components.
This is important when it comes to servicing and repair of the computer. Let’s face it, machines break down and need repair. If the computer follows the Intel Embedded Roadmap, then you can be assured that parts will continue to be available for at least 5 years. This will save cost in the long run.
This can be overlooked as a lesser part of the whole operation but I would say that it is important. Most industrial computers will have at least a VESA mount hole pattern of 75mm or 100mm. Other options to consider are whether the computer can be mounted into an enclosure and does it have the option for a side or arm mount.
There are more options to consider such as the range of operating temperature which would depend on the operating environment and if the screen needs to be high brightness.
Overall, it is important to find a company that will work with you, step by step, to find the solution that best meets your needs. Changes will occur as you go through the design process, and your supplier for the industrial-grade computer will need to understand this and work with you.
Good luck and happy panel pc hunting!