What is an Industrial PC?
An ‘industrial PC’ (sometime referred to as an ‘embedded PC’) is a computer designed to provide a machine or system with its means of intelligence in order for the machine/system to carry out the specific tasks it’s been designated to perform (functionality) on a repeatable basis.
Industrial Computers Vs Commercial / Consumer Computers
Industrial grade or embedded PC systems are designed for use in environments where consumer / commercial grade PC Systems are not suitable for the application at hand – whether it be the overall performance needed or even surrounding environmental conditions. There can be a number of other reasons, especially where specific requirements are needed for :-
- Reliability; 24/7 and extended operation
- Longevity of supply
- Efficient thermal dissipation provided via custom system design
- Operation in extended temperatures; environmental extremes of hot, cold, humidity
- Safeguarding against poor or irregular power supply
- Remote location installations were attended support is difficult in regard to serviceability and maintenance
Like their ‘consumer’ PC counter parts (desk or laptop computers available for home or office use), industrial PC’s come in a variety of formats and ‘footprints’ (sizes) – such as motherboards, system PC’s and Panel PC’s to name but a few.
Industrial PCs are designed to provide for repeatability of solution (and consequently reliability) typically being provided on (at least) 3-5 year lifetime availabilities with a replacement program running behind them such that, as and when the PC model reaches an ‘end of life’ (EOL) situation – another model will automatically replace it that’s similar in footprint, provides similar features – but with enhanced efficiencies through advancements in processor technology, connectivity and a variety of peripheral choices such as memory or storage.
Industrial PC Construction and Features
All industrial PCs share an underlying design philosophy of providing a controlled environment for the installed electronics to survive the applications they’ve been tasked to deal with. Their electronic components may have been selected for their ability to withstand higher and lower operating temperatures than typical ‘commercial’ components. The following are just some of the typical features found in industrial PC’s :-
- Metal housings or enclosures
- Small form factors as possible to provide for compact sizing.
- Enclosure that includes provision for mounting within its surrounding environment (e.g. DIN rail, 19″ rack, VESA wall mount, panel mount, rear mount)
- Wide operating temperature solutions – for example -40 to 75°C
- Alternative cooling methods such as fanless (passive), forced air (active), liquid, and conduction
- Expansion card retention and support via interfaces such as PCIe, mini PCI and M.2
- Enhanced EMI filtering
- Enhanced environmental protection (ingress protection) such as dust, moisture, high pressure water spray or complete immersion
- Sealed MIL-SPEC or circular-MIL connectors
- Higher grade power supply
- Controlled access to the I/O through the use of access covers
- Inclusion of a watchdog timer to reset the system automatically in case of software lock-up
Typically, where are Industrial PC’s deployed?
- Passenger information systems
- Security control
- Vehicle monitoring / ANPR
- Vision Systems
- Machine Automation
- Robot / Machine Control
- Data collection
- Smart Factory Systems & Industry 4.0
Military and Defence
- Security / Intelligence
- Vehicle / Weapon Control
Industrial Computers, Box PCs and Embedded Systems available with Intel i3 / i5 / i7 / Celeron / Atom and AMD Ryzen Embedded CPU’s.
BVM Design and Manufacturing Services
- BVM have a portfolio of standard (‘off the shelf’) industrial PC or embedded PC product solutions (motherboards, panel PC’s, system PC’s) to provide for a wide variety of application uses and needs.
- Where something a little more specialised is needed, please consider BVM’s bespoke custom designed solution services where we provide configured systems with memory, storage and optimised embedded operating systems. And if you need further advice around a system that’ll meets your specific requirements, then speak with our in house design team who will talk to you around designing your product from ground up; concept, design, development and production.
We like to make life easier ….
Our technical & commercial team members will always provide you with valuable but impartial advice around the products and services that BVM supplies. With their collective backgrounds, they’ll provide you with the benefit of their knowledge and experiences when & where you need it. We’ll always help you in the first instance and get back to you when additional information is required.