By their very nature, industrial manufacturing processes have always involved a certain degree of automation. In the past, however, the effectiveness and reach of automated systems has always been tempered by their relative cost. Computers, for example, have only comparatively recently become affordable options for businesses of any size looking to increase productivity.
While in theory any off the shelf personal computer (PC) can be used in an industrial capacity, the often hazardous environments and minimal downtime required for operation in such environments has led to the need for computer systems that are specifically designed to satisfy these more demanding requirements.
Some of the features that have been incorporated into the design of industrial PC systems include:
- heavier metal construction
- enclosure form factors that include provisions for mounting into the surrounding environment
- additional cooling with air filtering
- alternative cooling methods such as forced air, liquid, and conduction
- expansion card retention and support
- enhanced EMI filtering and gasketing
- enhanced environmental protection such as dust, water or immersion proofing
- more robust controls and features; and
- higher grade power supplies.
From the point of view of a manufacturer, then, designing a computer system that can be readily incorporated into existing networks, production lines and other industrial processes can be a daunting task.
Founded in 1989, Interworld Electronics focuses on helping customers with this very problem. The company helps its customers to meet the demands of the next generation of open communication systems, offering the latest computer solutions in a range of areas, from the ground breaking areas of computer telephony and the Internet to the more traditional fields of applied computing, industrial automation, and test & measurement.
The company offers thousands of PC solutions and related products to meet virtually any application requirement. With highly configurable rack mount solutions ranging from 1U to 6U form factors, as well as a rich set of powerful embedded PC alternatives, it delivers off the shelf solutions for most application needs.
Much more than just a computer supplier, Interworld also provides platform integration services for both large and small companies, allowing its customers to focus on more profitable core business activities like developing software or new networks.
Embedded box PCs
Interworld's embedded box PCs are designed to provide a high performance solution for industrial control applications. Energy efficient, rugged and reliable, these computers are supplied with certificated embedded OS support and due to their small footprint, can be mounted almost anywhere.
Typical industries and applications include:
- transportation applications such as rail track routing systems, marine navigation, aircraft and in-vehicle computers
- mining applications such as heavy vehicle and machine control, environmental monitoring and communications
- process control applications such as chemical, pharmaceutical and food production
- commercial applications such as digital signage, video wall displays, vending machines, kiosk and ticketing machines, security and surveillance systems
- networking infrastructure including firewalls and routers; and
- medical applications that require life critical systems.
Ultra slim panel PCs and HMI controllers for space limited applications
Interworld Electronics' ultra slim industrial computers include HMI Controllers, LCD monitors and a built in full function Single Board Computer (SBC) to provide a rugged and versatile compact user workstation that can be used for industrial control or point of sale applications.
Geared towards demanding industrial applications, these systems incorporate a range of high performance features, including:
- a choice of integrated LCD monitor sizes from 5.7 to 19 inches
- shock resistant hard drive mounting
- IP65 rated front panels
- stainless steel, black steel and high impact plastic casing options; and
- an array of processor options such as ARM2410 RISC, AMD LX800, Intel Xscale, Atom N270/Z510, Intel Celeron M and Intel Pentium M.