Rugged Environments Need Rugged Computers
Did you ever wonder how electronic devices you see in use everyday are made to work in Industrial settings? Unlike the environment in which you use your devices, the Industrial environment is harsh and damaging to these consumer devices. Investing in the ‘ruggedization’ of devices for use in an Industrial setting ensures that the enterprise gets maximum benefit from technology with minimum downtime for repairs achieving maximum output for profitability and longevity.
Rugged Computers: What’s the Cost?
Purchasing agents working with Information Technology products refer to TCO or Total Cost of Ownership when evaluating the needs of their organizations. These professionals don’t just look at the base cost of the devices. They factor in the life cycle costs required to maintain their business model. These factors include but are not limited to:
- Temperature of the environment
- Specific hazards of the environment
- Life cycle of components within the environment
- Repair costs, repair time, scalability of devices, etc.
These are hard costs or costs associated with the physical computing device. There are also the soft costs or those costs associated with the interruption of service by these devices. These costs although not called out based on the cost of the device, affect the business environment due to downtime created by the lack of output or non performance of the systems. These costs include reduced productivity due to idle systems or effort required to effect repairs on down systems. Maintenance, ongoing training and development of systems in order to keep the company current in the competitive environment affect the productivity and the bottom line.
Evaluating the Cost
One needs to look beyond the initial cost of the computing device. As an example: How does a tradesperson look at their tools? If they are building a deck using a specific type of screw to fasten the boards, they will require a specific bit to drive the screws. These bits are available in many grades. Buying the cheapest one may seem like a way to reduce job cost. However, these lower cost bits do not have the life expectancy of the more costly and more durable bit. The cheap bit may be half the price of the costlier unit. The downside is that you end up using four times as many units to complete the job where you would have only used one of the more expensive units. In the end the trade saves up to three quarters of its cost on just this one component due to its superior rugged construction and long duty life cycle.
Making the Right Decision for Industrial Computing Devices
Getting the right computing devices in an Industrial Environment requires evaluating the environment and then looking at the best available build for the use in that environment. The devices must be able to withstand the harsh elements that are found there. Consumer devices are manufactured to standards that are found in the consumer environment. An Industrial environment is different. The device must be protected while working to perform, in some cases under the ‘watchful eye’ of a personal overseer. Industrial grade systems must meet specific standards in order to meet the demands of the Industrial environment. These standards take into account environmental factors such as: water, dust, dirt, heat, cold, drops, vibration, etc.
Ruggedly built industrial systems are built tough to last. These systems can have a life span of 2 to 3 times that of a consumer product. If a consumer product has a life span of 2 to 4 years then it is possible for an Industrial built system to last a possible 10 to 12 years. Keep in mind that a computing device in an Industrial setting also gets far more rigorous use than one in a consumer setting. Computing devices built for rugged environments are the most cost effective route for maximization of productivity, profitability and longevity.
Brian 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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