Call of Factory-Floor Duty

Dec. 11, 2013
Industrial PCs Require Performance Capabilities Beyond Their Office-Based Siblings for Operations in Tough Environments

In April of this year, we surveyed the Control Design audience to better understand the preferences of those who specify a PC, rather than a PLC or other controller/computer option, as part of their control system.

When respondents specify a PC, 59% indicated they normally choose ruggedized industrial PCs for all or part of their machine control, while 24% prefer "white box" PCs, and 16% choose an embedded PC.

SEE ALSO: Industrial PCs and the Test of Time

Some 59% of these respondents told us that their PC specs include a panel-mount requirement; 41% expect solid-state storage, rather than standard drives; 40% find a small footprint to be an important design element; and 38% specify having an integrated display with touchscreen as part of the PC package. In addition, 37% want a low-power/low-heat CPU; 35% eschew cooling fans; but 25% prefer a rack-mount design.

Expectations about operating characteristics remain nearly identical to prior surveys. Nearly 91% ranked the ability to perform in harsh/dirty environments as important or very important. About 84% placed the same importance on shock and vibration resistance, and an enhanced operating temperature range was deemed important or very important by nearly 82% of the respondents.

They're growing more powerful as well. "As computers evolve in the industrial setting, they use more modern chipsets with 64-bit architectures, multi-touch drivers and newer bus standards," says Eric Reichert, product marketing specialist for industrial PCs and HMIs at Phoenix Contact. "This transition allows components to use newer features and technology that can be incorporated into the software. Due to this increased demand and the underlying trend that corporations are bringing their internal and automation networks closer, it can be expected that security, transparency and accessibility will be the trends of upcoming software."

Embedded Apps
The Relio R2 fanless, solid-state industrial computer for embedded applications has a small footprint, solid-state drive, flexible I/O expansion and wide operating temperature range. Built on COM Express architecture, the system is powered by an Intel Core i7, i3 or Atom dual-core processor.
Sealevel Systems
(864) 843-4343

PC Has Options
Automation PC 910 has up to five slots for PCI or PCI Express cards. It is driven by Intel Core i technology, such as Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs with up to four cores, as well as a QM77 Express chipset and interface options, including four USB 3.0 ports.
B&R Automation
(770) 772-0400

Dogged Performance
Seppala-T panel PC for HMIs connects with installed PLCs and automation systems. Available in 10-, 12- and 15-in. touchscreen sizes and built on Intel's Atom processor, it has solid-state drives and is fanless. The front panel is IP65-compliant and is designed to meet NEMA 4/4X standards. It's preloaded with InduSoft's Web Studio HMI software.
(800) 277-3077

Intel Inside
Model SPC-190T's standard configuration is Intel i5-3360m CPU-based and integrated with a rugged, projected, capacitive, multi-touchscreen recessed into a 0.375-in. thick, 6061 aluminum bezel. Power input can be 120/240 Vac or 12/24 Vdc.
Industrial Electronic Devices
(908) 806-2255

PU for IQ
WinCPU industrial PC mounts directly to the backplane of company's iQ-Series controller, and is powered by a 1.66 GHz Atom processor with a solid-state drive. It includes two Ethernet channels, USB and standard CompactFlash card slot for external storage.
Mitsubishi Electric Automation
(847) 478-2100

Has Designs
Designline DL 100 configurable industrial PC can be directly mounted on a machine with an IP65 rating and fanless design. Fifteen-inch touchscreen options are resistive single-touch or two-finger, capacitive multi-touch. Integrated function button on the front enables brightness adjustment, an easy-to-access software keyboard and a right-click function.
Phoenix Contact
(800) 322-3225

Get Enough Fiber
The 4123CF industrial computer incorporates carbon fiber and aircraft-grade machine aluminum, NEMA 4X, Class I&II, Div. 2 enclosure with Com Express Dual Core Atom processor, SSD drive, network and USB ports, Wi-Fi, 15-in. sunlight-readable display and multi-touch, Projected Capacitive touchscreen. Operating range is -40 to 65 ºC.
Daisy Data Displays
(717) 932-9999

Get to Work
The VisuNet XT operator workstation has a high-bright, LED-backlit, LCD panel display with optically bonded, glove-friendly, 15-in. touchscreen. Its Intel Core i7 processor operates in temperatures –40 to 65 °C with Class I Div 2, Class I Zone 2, ATEX and IEC-Ex Zone 2 certifications from third-party agencies. Replaceable LCD panel, power supply and solid-state hard drive promote maintainability.
(330) 486-0002

Not a Big Fan
The fanless Mini-PC Model LPC-700F has built-in PCI or PCIe expansion slot capability, an Intel i7 processor 3610QE CPU, 4x USB 3.0, 6x RS232/serial connection, 2x Gigabit LAN ports, VGA, DVI-D and HDMI video connectors and audio in/out. It comes standard with a 128-GB solid-state drive and is compatible with Windows 7/8/XP and Linux.
Stealth Computer
(905) 264-9000

Stays Put
The SPC-1840WP, 18.5-in., waterproof, widescreen, multi-touch, stationary panel PC for areas that require frequent power washing has all-around IP65 protection. It has an AMD 1.6-GHz processor with an independent, graphical processing unit that supports Windows 8 and DirectX11, and includes 1 x RS-232, 1 x USB 2.0 and 2 x GbE LAN.
Industrial Automation Group
(800) 205/7940

Embedded PC
The DIN-rail-mounted CX9020 embedded PC integrates a 1-GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor, 256-MB SSD, numerous connectivity solutions and optional interfaces, a power supply and a direct I/O interface for company's I/O systems. Its operating range is -25 to 60 °C, and it supports Windows Embedded Compact 7.
Beckhoff Automation
(952) 890-0000

Pocket Power
CP-Pocket control cabinet computer in 3U CompactPCI format has an Intel Celeron 807UE processor and expansion options via CompactPCI peripheral boards, which are accessible without removing the enclosure. A smart cache of 1 MB and up to 4 GB of DDR3 SDRAM memory with 1333 MHz provide high-data throughput. Peripherals connect via one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports and one serial port. Three Gigabit Ethernet ports enable horizontal and vertical integration in automation networks.
(858) 623-3006

Extreme Environment Panel PC has intrinsic safety and U.S. NEC Class I, Div. 2 hazardous location certification, and is rated to withstand cabinet temperatures -20 to 70 °C and display-side temperatures -20 to 55 °C. The PCs are available with and without a display.
Rockwell Automation
(414) 328-2000

Go Diskless
PS4000 diskless industrial PC has Windows XP Pro and Windows 7 Ultimate operating systems, Core Duo processors and PCI Express expansion. WinGP and GP-Pro EX HMI development software provide connectivity and the ability to create HMI screens and logic programming.
(800) 289-9266

Nano PC
Atom processor-based Simatic IPC227D Nanobox PCs can operate without a fan at ambient temperatures to 50 °C. They have the option of one PCIe slot, three additional serial interfaces or four digital inputs and outputs (24 Vdc), and have four status LEDs, three of which are fully programmable. Diagnostic software is preinstalled to provide comprehensive analysis.
Siemens Industry
(800) 241-4453

Rugged FPC
Wolverine III rugged flat-panel computer has a resistive, 15 in., antiglare, scratch-resistant touchscreen readable in direct sunlight. The computing platform is a COM Express module and carrier board with an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.26-GHz processor and 4 GB DDR3 memory, along with a 32-GB solid-state drive. Housed in a NEMA 4, sealed enclosure, an optional heater allows an operating temperature range of -40 to 60 °C.
GE Intelligent Platforms
(800) 433-2682

Hazard-Class IPC
I/O Server industrial PC with UL certification for Class I, Div. 2 Group A, B, C, D hazardous locations with volatile substances has an Intel Atom or AMD Geode CPU and an integrated carrier card for up to four plug-in I/O modules. More than 20 I/O modules provide high-density A/D, D/A, discrete-level control, counter/timer and serial communication functions. CANbus, Mil-Std-1553 and configurable FPGA modules offer advanced control capabilities.
(248) 295-0310

Tablet PC
Guardian Series of 7-, 8- and 10-in. tablets include Mil-Spec IP65, Mil-Std 810F and Mil-Std 461E standards, daylight-viewable options, and a range of communication options and expansion slots for specific requirements.
Industrial Computing
(781) 890-3111

Mounting Options
iPC-Series industrial computers with Intel i-Series Core embedded processors include 12-, 15-, 17- and 19-in. LCD versions with LED backlighting. All are available with five-wire, analog-resistive touchscreens and NEMA-sealed, panel-mount front panels, or as a non-display node computer for mounting in constrained spaces.
(734) 214-2000