Most IT Professionals that I speak with me tell me that “white box,” Intel, Dell, HP or Asus PCs work just fine for them. They will just replace them as they break and the price justifies keeping enough stock on the shelf to do so. While this has been the standard, I have noticed a cross-over to Industrial PCs for quite a few IT Groups as of late. Specifically, IT departments in Manufacturing have made the switch to Industrial PCs. Since this trend seems to be spreading, I thought it was a good time to address why I recommend doing so!
5 Reasons Industrial PCs in Informational Technology (IT) Makes ‘Cents’
Long Product Availability
I’ve found that most “white box” PCs and off-the-shelf popular brand PCs have an availability window of six months to one year. After that, the configuration changes.
When you consider utilizing an Industrial PC from a manufacturer such as Advantech, the product provided has a 5-7 year availability window.
Some of the IT Groups I collaborate with work on numerous large deployments on a yearly basis and have found great value in receiving the same exact configuration every time. They also like the fact that if they require a few different “flavors,” the Industrial PCs provided have the flexibility to accommodate various CPU, RAM, I/O, storage and OS configurations.
Ability to Standardize Platform
One of the reasons I really enjoy providing Advantech Industrial PCs to my customer base is because they have a 5-7 year product availability window. Since product is available for that length of time, this has enabled some IT departments I work with to standardize on one or multiple configurations for their respective platform(s).
With standardization, they have also been able to create images for each respective configuration. By loading an image, you can save up to a few hours per PC. This not only has a positive affect on the PC deployment rate but also the amount of time IT Departments can spend elsewhere, which at the end of the day, saves the company quite a bit of money.
Form Factor Flexibility
Most “white box” PCs are available as a box, tower or rack-mounted solution. That doesn’t always get the job done.
I’ve found that most IT Departments trend toward a 2U or 3U rackmount PC or an 8-slot wall mount/desktop chassis. While the 2U/3U Rackmount solution doesn’t allow for a ton of I/O expansion, the 8-slot configuration usually provides them with adequate room for their cards.
If I/O cards aren’t in play, some have selected a fanless Embedded PC. That is still a rarity, since most prefer a rack mounted solution to go in their cabinets or fixtures.
For larger applications, 4U-7U rackmount PCs are also available. I find that most IT users don’t have the space to accommodate a 4U chassis, so most track toward a 3U rackmount solution.
I bring up quality because the definition of a “white box” is a non-brand name utilized for larger scale deployments. One issue with a non-brand names is that you don’t always know what you are going to get…and even when you do, there’s no guarantees that future products received will have the same quality. At least with Dell, HP, Intel, and Asus, you know you are getting a quality solution. It isn’t industrial but at least it’s quality.
For some, like me, industrial matters and the only manufacturer with truly quality industrial solutions is Advantech. Every product they make is industrial, including:
- power supplies,
- passive backplanes,
- single board computers,
- I/O cards,
- and so many more!
Assembled, Tested & Delivered
I have found that IT Departments do value the ability to provide a fully assembled and tested PC upon delivery. Not only do they value it but they will usually pay a bit more for it; especially if they have been responsible for the assembly and test in the past.
I personally will not provide Industrial PCs that are not fully assembled and tested by Advantech to my customer base. I see a great value in providing a fully operational solution that is under manufacturer warranty.
That all being said, what I think won’t mean much if you don’t find some belief in it yourself. I encourage you to take some time to consider why Industrial PCs in Informational Technology Makes Cents due to the five factors listed above. As always, if you have any questions about Industrial PCs or how an Industrial PC can be of benefit to your organization, feel free to contact me at 800-830-9523, ext. 126 or via email at Jeremy.Miller@L-Tron.com.
About the Author
Jeremy Miller is L-Tron’s Industrial Automation and Advantech Product Specialist. Jeremy is highly trained and brings over 10 years of experience in the industrial control,data acquisition and test & measurement markets. Jeremy holds Advantech certifications in: Industrial Platform, Industrial Operator Panel, Automation Controller &I/O, Industrial Communication, & Automation Software. Jeremy can be reached at(800)-830-9523 ext 126; jeremy.miller@L-Tron.com.