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20,000 Leagues: The Necessity of Waterproof Industrial Computers

July 16, 2013

industrial computersEmbedded computers are prevalent across the industrial sector, which means that many different businesses and organizations use these products. Depending on what a particular industry needs, the embedded system may often find itself in less than optimum conditions.
An example use case is water quality research; almost the entirety of the field researchers’ work is done on the banks of a river or knee deep in a lake or ocean.

When water protection is the name of the game, having reliable, waterproof industrial computers on hand becomes an absolute necessity. Let’s look at what makes these computers so different from other embedded systems, and how these changes can be leveraged for better use.

What Makes a Waterproof Industrial Computer Unique?

The most apparent answer to this question is that the system’s enclosure is watertight. Repellent seals ensure that the internal components remain dry and functioning, even with lengthy submersion or general application of liquids. Other benefits include:

  • Waterproof screens: Specifically for Panel PCs, the touch functionality will not be affected by water splashing on the screen, nor will the internal components be damaged.
  • Conformal Coating: Protects against moisture build-up on internal components such as the motherboard and deals with the temperature build-up within a watertight machine.
  • Fanless System: Having no moving parts limits hardware failure and points of ingress for the machine, limiting the chances of water or dust affecting performance.

All of these features combine to make a highly resilient industrial computer that can operate at peak functionality in the worst of conditions. Rugged computing may seem like a niche in the commercial market, but in the industrial sector, it has to be the norm. Depending on the type of work being done, a machine may need to have a higher waterproof rating, also known as ingress protection, to ensure its proper functionality.

Waterproof Industrial Computer Uses

industrial computersOne use case for industrial computers of this ilk is mentioned above, but there are plenty more that span multiple sectors; for example:

  • Laboratories: Strong chemicals and liquids are frequently in use and could be spilled near machines.
  • Medical applications: Panel PCs used for bedside entertainment or by doctors for information are rated as waterproof.
  • Military equipment: A soldier’s gear out in the field can be submerged in water, dragged through mud, and covered in dirt. Being waterproof rated means the system will withstand the elements and still be able to function when he or she needs it most.

New Era Electronics Brian LuckmanBrian Luckman is the President of New Era Electronics. He has worked in the industrial OEM market for over 25 years, serving a variety of different industries, gaining a strong reputation for his expertise and a thorough understanding of how to properly service OEM customers. In 2000 he began New Era Electronics and the company continues to grow. He’s a husband and father and enjoys exploring the outdoors.
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