Are you looking for a powerful and reliable computing solution that can handle the toughest industrial environments and meet your specific needs? Look no further: a box-PC is exactly what you need. This compact computer is designed to be small and easy to install, while still capable of running demanding programs and performing a wide range of tasks.
Whether you need to automate a factory, control a process, support transportation applications, or interact with machinery and equipment, box-PC's have the features and capabilities to help you succeed. They are also the perfect edge devices - ‘edge computer’ and ‘box-PC’ are even considered synonyms these days.
In industrial applications, box-PC's can be used to bridge the gap between traditional computers and PLC’s. These computers are rugged and reliable enough to be deployed in locations where only a PLC would normally be trusted, but they also offer the advanced computing capabilities and flexibility of a traditional computer.
For example, box-PC's can be used to control and monitor production processes in a factory automation setting, or to track location and monitor engine performance in transportation applications. They can also be configured with sensors, actuators, and other hardware to interact directly with machinery and equipment, and they can run advanced software to analyze data and make decisions. In short, box-PC's provide the best of both worlds: the ruggedness and reliability of a PLC combined with the advanced computing capabilities of a traditional computer.
So now you’re convinced – which factors do you need to take into account to make your purchase decision? We’ll explore the 4 deciding elements below: hardware, size and form, operating system and cost.
The hardware of these computers varies widely. You can find older, well-tested designs that run on Pentium processors or 7th generation Intel chips, or the latest 13th gen chips. Box-PC's are available in a range of power configurations, from minimalist designs that can run on battery power to more powerful boxes that can even mount their own graphics card. The IO ports are also highly customizable: you can choose from a range of options, including as few as 2 USB ports or any combination of COM, LAN, or other ports you might need. In short, there is a box-PC hardware configuration to suit almost any need.
One important factor to consider when selecting a box-PC is the size and form factor of the computer. These characteristics can have a significant impact on the performance and suitability of the computer for different applications. For example, you may need a compact model that can be easily mounted on a panel or wall, or a larger model that offers more expansion options or can be placed on a desk or shelf. Alternatively, you may need a box-PC that can be mounted on a DIN rail, a common mounting system used in industrial environments.
The form factor of the computer can also vary, with options such as fanless designs for quiet operation, ruggedized models for harsh environments, or modular designs that allow for easy customization. In general, smaller box-PC's are more portable and can be easier to install in tight spaces, but they may have less expansion capability or be less suitable for demanding applications. Larger box-PC's may offer more expansion options and be better suited for more demanding applications, but they may be less portable and more expensive. Choosing the right size and form factor for a specific application can help ensure that the box-PC performs optimally and meets the needs of the user.
When choosing an operating system for an edge computer, it is important to consider the specific needs of the application. Both Windows IoT and Linux are popular choices, each offering a range of features and capabilities that may be suitable for different types of applications. Windows IoT is known for its optimization for industrial systems, ease of use, and strong support for industrial hardware. For more information about the benefits of Windows IoT, check out our previous blog post.
When choosing a box-PC, it is important to consider the cost and potential return on investment. Box-PC's are available at a range of price points and features, and the cost may be affected by factors such as hardware components, size and form factor, and customization options. While it is important to consider the upfront cost of a box-PC, it is also important to think about the long-term costs of ownership, such as energy efficiency and maintenance. By evaluating the costs and benefits of a box-PC, you can determine whether it is a good value and will provide a positive ROI for your business. Investing in a high-quality box-PC can also save money in the long run by reducing downtime and improving efficiency.
At Koning & Hartman, we have a long history of working with box-PCs and their manufacturers. We have the expertise and experience to help you find the right box-PC for your business or organization, no matter what your needs may be. We work closely with our partners in Asia and Europe to provide cost-effective solutions that meet the demands of our customers. Whether you need help selecting the right box-PC for your application, sourcing the hardware, or integrating the computer into your existing systems, we are here to help.
Our team of experts can provide guidance, support and technical assistance throughout your purchase and implementation process, ensuring that you get the most out of your box-PC. In addition to offering a wide range of hardware options, we also offer a range of services, including installation, configuration, and testing, to help you get up and running as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you find the perfect box-PC solution for your business.