Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Navigating plant downtime risks: Choosing the right computing infrastructure

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In the dynamic landscape of industrial operations, the demand for computing power continues to surge alongside the increasing complexity of manufacturing processes. As businesses strive for higher efficiency and adaptability to meet agile manufacturing demands, the role of computing infrastructure is pivotal to staying competitive.

The modern industrial environment necessitates additional computing power to support various facets of operations, including process optimization, real-time analytics, and automation. Achieving these objectives is paramount for maintaining a competitive edge in an increasingly globalized market.

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However, with this escalating need comes a rise in the risks of plant downtime, which can significantly hamper competitiveness and productivity and negate the cost savings of automation. There are critical considerations surrounding plant computing needs and inherent risks associated with the choice of computing infrastructure. The decision-making process extends beyond immediate requirements to encompass long-term strategic planning.

Business-grade components compared to Industrial PCs

Some manufacturers are using mass-produced commercial PC systems and additional GPU processing to reduce the costs of adding the CPU and RAM capacity needed to fuel this critical functionality.

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While suitable for office environments, business-grade PCs lack the robustness and specialized features required for industrial settings. In contrast, IPCs are purpose-built to withstand the rigors of industrial use, offering these advantages:

  • Industrial-friendly form factors: IPCs are available in various form factors tailored to industrial environments, ensuring compatibility and space efficiency.
  • High-power processing: IPCs boast superior processing capabilities, enabling complex computations and rapid data analysis critical for modern manufacturing processes. IPC vendors also have standing hardware partnerships to deliver essential components frequently back ordered due to high demand, such as NVIDIA GPUs.
  • Customization and quality control: IPCs are bespoke solutions that offer extensive customization options and adherence to rigorous quality control standards to mitigate the risk of hardware failures. IPCs are bespoke, made-to-order machines assembled and tested to meet application requirements before they ship.
  • Robustness and reliability: Designed to endure harsh industrial conditions—including exposure to oil, gas, dust, vibration, heat and cold—IPCs prioritize reliability and longevity.
  • Cybersecurity and integrated diagnostics: IPCs incorporate robust cybersecurity features and integrated diagnostics, enhancing system integrity and maximizing uptime.
  • Pre-assembled and tested systems: Unlike business-grade PCs, which often require onsite assembly and configuration, IPCs are delivered as fully assembled and tested systems, minimizing deployment time, and reducing the potential for human error.

Risks of using business-grade PCs

A system failure in a modern manufacturing environment means production lines come to a standstill, causing increased costs and delays in order fulfillment, leading to financial losses and damaging customer relationships.

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