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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. Continue Reading…

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One Hous(ing) Many Solutions: The Industrial Chassis

A major component of a solution required in an industrial environment is the Industrial Chassis.  Companies with Industrial environments rely on unique solutions to be more competitive in their local and global environments and it is the incorporation of electronic systems into the business that drives this competitive advantage. Providing an enclosure that will satisfy the integration of computing platforms comprising boards, systems and peripherals necessary to provide a solution for a specific environment is the key function of the Industrial Chassis.

It is important to carefully analyze the specific needs and unique functions that are required to build right Industrial Chassis.  Without the proper housing, the solution will not have an opportunity to provide the lifecycle and expected outcomes for which the client is looking. Continue Reading…

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Mini-ITX-Micro-ATX-NEEWhat are the pros and cons for Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX for embedded and industrial applications?

For consumer desktop and enterprise applications, it’s almost a no brainer to go for a Micro-ATX or ATX. In embedded applications, things tend to lean more to the Mini-ITX side of things. Let’s take a look at why that may be.

The Case for Mini-ITX

For industrial and embedded applications, this is pretty much the workhorse of the motherboards. They are in the highest demand and as a result there is a large selection to choose from.

Some of the benefits of the Mini-ITX:

  • Higher variety of product
  • Higher demand makes for a longer lifecycle by embedded manufacturers
  • The small form factor is very convenient for a lot of embedded applications
  • Because they are more “strictly embedded” it is easier to find Mini-ITX boards with fanless and rugged specifications.

For more info on Mini-ITX boards, check out our blog on “Selecting a Mini-ITX BoardContinue Reading…

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embedded system
In a recent blog, we posed the question “What is the real difference between an embedded system and a regular consumer system?”. The most important difference that was highlighted in that blog was that embedded systems have long lifecycles ranging from 3-7 years. Explaining why that was necessary for many embedded applications. This isn’t the only difference between “embedded” and “consumer” but this was the focus because it is such a broad and important difference that applies in practically every situation, and is a very sought after quality when choosing between embedded and consumer systems. Continue Reading…

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embedded system-consumer systIf you’ve worked in the industrial computing industry for any length of time, there is one question that is bound to have come up at one point. “What is an embedded system?” And more importantly, “what is the difference between an embedded system and an ordinary consumer system?”

It’s likely that you’ve even been in a situation where you have had the option to go with a consumer system and an embedded system, both of which had the same I/O, and were left scratching your head as to why the embedded system had the larger price tag. Despite the similarities, there are a few big differences beneath the appearances. And depending on your needs, you may or may not require an embedded system. Continue Reading…

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The Typical Embedded Board

When selecting an embedded board to fit a task, or when asked by a customer for an embedded board, 9 times out of 10 it is going to be a Mini-ITX board. There is plenty of reasoning as to why this is the case.

First and foremost is the subject of “real estate”, or space constraints. In many embedded industrial applications there is a limited amount of real estate, and the addition of extraneous size and weight in an embedded system can have a negative impact on the efficiency, feasibility and usability of that industrial design. However, going too small can have the opposite issues of heat and a general lack of onboard functionality. The goal is to have as much functionality as possible, while keeping the “real estate” relatively manageable and the Mini-ITX usually winds up being the best option to achieve that. While the consumer market seems to constantly be pushing things smaller and smaller, the industrial embedded market still seems to have a high demand for what Mini-ITX offers, and that is expected to remain the case, for some time.Industrial mini itx board

This brings us to the second point. Above, we determined that there is a lot of demand for the Mini-ITX. This results in a lot of product variants being available on the market to fill that demand, which draws even more people in to use the Mini-ITX form factor. This creates a sort of a vicious circle, which essentially results in there being an enormous library of boards to choose from, which reduces the chance that you will need to design a custom board or undergo the expense of purchasing expansions that are not already available onboard.

Continue Reading…

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Pico - ITX  board The Pico-ITX board is a small sized x86 embedded motherboard that is 10 cm by 7.2 cm. This board carries the processor, cache, memory, a variety of video interfaces and several different I/O. These boards were introduced by VIA Technologies in 2007. Developed by VIA to be up to 75% smaller than the previous mini-ITX platform, it is smaller than the mini-ITX and the nano-ITX form factor which drives the ability to deliver embedded system designs that pave the way for compact applications.

What do Pico – ITX boards mean to you?

The Pico – ITX board form factor allows for the development of devices that are smaller, more functional and even lighter than those containing larger embedded boards. As processor technology continues to move forward, we will see these embedded boards with support the new generations of single and multi core processors, which aim to lower TDP, which can be the cause of heat problems and short battery life which can plague smaller systems. This small form factor offers support for connectors to such devices as microSD, external drives and interfaces for WiFi, Ethernet and Bluetooth. This technology offers the opportunity to deliver more powerful and enhanced compact designs in the fields of infotainment, digital advertising, telephony, security and the ever growing fields surrounding the medical practice and automotive markets. Continue Reading…

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panel PCThere’s a continuing push in the field of technology for smaller and more specialized computing. The personal computer has remained a constant platform for a few decades and will be around for some time to come, but users have started to understand that for particular use cases a more specialized type of machine should be considered. The universality of the PC platform can mean scalability in the system that can spec up or pare down, depending on the needs of the client. Ultimately, usability and need drive the industry, especially within the industrial field.

When it comes to these markets, embedded systems should push for ease of use and all-in-one capabilities. These kinds of computers are built to serve the specific purposes beyond the usual implementations and fit the challenging environments that need them. Luckily, the panel PC standard offers a versatile platform to be utilized effectively throughout the industrial field and integrated into an array of industrial equipment.

What Separates a Panel PC from An Embedded System?

A panel PC has a number of features and characteristics that differentiate it from the average embedded pc with Continue Reading…

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wide-temperature motherboardsThe industrial computing world has to react to the needs of its customers, buyers who range from high level database creators to manufacturing designers. Such varying kinds of use-cases can mean wildly different environments that must be endured by devices that need to keep operating as long and as effectively as possible. Typical commercial products may be able to live up to the less intensive tasks, but when it comes to the demands made of most industrial computers, a more rugged alternative is key.

This is where a wide-temperature motherboard can save the day. Much like its RAM counterpart, this industrial component fills a particular niche of a full featured motherboard that works in a rugged environment. Understanding this component’s capability and how to utilize its strengths is important in determining who most needs this product.

What Do Wide-Temperature Motherboards Provide?

A wide-temperature motherboard gives designers the peace of mind that no matter what load the use-case brings, it will Continue Reading…

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mini-itx casesIn the industrial computing world, the topic of heat output comes up with such regularity because of the challenges it can bring to a build. Unless a designer is willing to include expensive cooling systems, dissipation remains one of the main issues; plenty of factors come into play when considering the heating issue.

Device size almost always presents interesting design issues. Companies providing an overall design need to take into account how large the machine has to be, which in turn necessitates a certain casing. Mini-ITX cases provide a compact solution, but putting heat generating elements in a small space makes for a precarious situation. However, there are ways to deal with this issue to ensure that this mini-ITX build can adequately dissipate heat while being powerful enough for the buyer.

What Components “Fit” a Mini-ITX Case?

What generates heat in a mini-ITX case are the components that make up the system. A high speed processor, a mechanical Continue Reading…

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