The usual Thin Client computers deployed for MES applications in certain industries face constant physical challenges due to dust, extreme temperatures or humidity. Ventless Mini PCs offer Industrial grade ruggedness making them a perfect choice for a number of low compute-intensive automation applications.
Casting, for instance, is an industrial manufacturing process that can be especially challenging for the IT department due to the environment in which it works. Casting exposing networking and computing equipment to very harsh conditions like the vibration of machinery and an environment full of metallic dust. We can picture clearly what dust can do to a commercial grade computer.
Considering all these factors, companies need to acquire and use a more industrial oriented computers, like Fanless Mini PCs. There are several options available that make possible to collect and process our production data and keep our manufacturing floor computers in good shape. Why are this type of computer so convenient for increasing our productivity?
A smarter approach
Continuing with the casting example, the metal parts cleaning and deburring produces a lot metal dust flying on the air, which is normal part of the process. But the problem is that regular desktop computers that are normally used on the production floor have ventilation that basically because a red warning for the computer due, to all the vent windows on several parts of the PC case. This can damage computers easily and cause an electric problem on the PC power source. Despite the computer can be swapped easily, the replacement cost of several computers can rise drastically if we don’t enough attention.
One regular solution offered by the IT Teams is regular PC maintenance to try to keep the equipment dust free. This positive action has some negative sides, like regular downtime due to maintenance, which can make production stop which represent production metrics being affected, like productivity and utilization.
A more efficient and smarter solution is the use of an Industrial ventless Mini PC in Manufacturing Execution Systems. whose main advantages are that being an industrial rugged solution they’re sealed (without fans or ventilation openings), blocking external objects, allowing them to work smoothly and without interruptions. Another benefit, is the small form factor that makes possible to mount them anywhere on the production line avoiding them to be on the way of employees doing the daily process and also making the replacement easier for the IT crew. At the same time modern mini pcs offer same processing power and connectivity options as a regular desktop pc.
With the use of a rugged industrial ventless Mini PC the positive impact on the productivity is evident on the following:
- Since mini-PCs have no moving parts and no access for metal dusts and other objects the repair or replacement downtime is drastically reduced to practically zero.
- All the production downtime due to cleaning of the production floor computers practically disappears since the risk of metal dust damaging desktop pc’s power supply fans or other inner parts.
- Having mini pc’s mounted in way the clears out the employee working space makes everyday production routines faster and creates a cleaner work environment.
- The IT Department staff is more reachable on the office to provide tech support to the end users or work on projects instead of walking around the production lines cleaning existing computers.
- The computers leasing of purchasing cycle can complete fully since no computers will have to be replaced prematurely due to damage, instead in completes the full term.
Some of the many uses of a mini pc on the production floor are, for example, real time data collection, supervisors’ working pc’s for production planning or automatic metrics displaying screens. With this type of hardware, companies’ production lines can really have a system they can rely on.
Contrary to other types of hardware solutions, with a ventilated cabinet and fans to maintain temperature, Lanner’s ventless pc’s offer powerful processing with all the hardware features required on the industrial environment. Here are some examples:
Hardware options to consider
Lanner’s LEC-2281 ventless min pc is the latest series in the family of embedded computers that assemble the latest Core i processors. Last generation Intel 4th Generation Core, with interfaces for Ethernet Gigabit and whose heat dissipation methods do not need ventilation. Since it is a rugged and sealed unit it will not be affected by dust or harsh conditions, such as heat or vibration.
The fanless LEC-2281 comes with Intel®’s 4th generation Core™ i7/i5/i3 processors and it offers richer expansion and I/O options that include Intel® HD Graphics 4600, HDMI, VGA and DVI-D interface, dual 2.5″ HDD/SSD drive bays and one mSATA socket; expansion is made possible via the included PCI, PCI Express x16 and the full-sized mini-PCIe socket with SIM card reader. The LEC-2281’s high-performance processors, scalable expansion capability and flexible I/O options make it the all-in-one, one-for-all solution for almost all IoT and industry 4.0 application scenarios
Some of suggested applications include:
- Machine Automation
- Predictive Maintenance
- Process Control
- Manufacturing Execution System
- Human Machine Interface
Considering all its features, this unit can really come up as an ideal solution for the challenges of the industrial environment contributing to efficiency and productivity.
Another mini-pc ventless option for less harsh environment is Lanner’s LEC-7230L.
Lanner’s LEC-7230L is a compact and fanless embedded IPC powered by the Intel® Celeron® Bay Trail SoC, a platform known for its significant improvement in computing performance and power efficiency. Benchmark testing conducted for computing performance and power efficiency found that the Bay Trail CPU (Intel® Celeron® J1900) outperforms its predecessor (Intel® Atom™ N2800) by 310% while maintaining the same level of power usage.
In addition to the powerful and nimble J1900 quad-core processors, the compact and fanless LEC-7230L supports up to 8GB of low-powered DDR3/L memory and comes with a multitude of I/O interface, including VGA (1600 x 1200), HDMI (1920 x 1080), dual GbE LAN ports, dual RS-232/422/485 serial ports, USB 3.0/2.0 ports and a mini-PCI-E slot with SIM card reader. The LEC-7230L is positioned as an all-in-one, one-for-all solution for a wide range of deployment scenarios that includes, but not limited to, production line automation and digital signage.
Since the production lines hardware systems have a lot maintenance and repair hidden costs, Ventless Industrial Mini PCs are a real beneficial and cost-effective investment.