Electrical Connectors Aren’t All that Needs to Withstand Harsh Environments
Over the past few years we’ve discussed electrical connectors that withstand harsh environments, but for manufacturers, protecting computer productivity to run equipment is also crucial.
When office computers, printers and other sensitive electronics come into contact with heat, cold, moisture and dust, it won’t last long if not properly protected.
It was an article by Daniel Waldron and published on Cerasis.com called “Improving Manufacturing Productivity: 5 Keys to Killer Manufacturing” that got us thinking about more than just cord grips and molded cordsets in our own manufacturing plants. We’ve summarized it below, with some of our own thoughts.
Computer Problems Lead to Downtime
When sensitive electronics, such as computers and printers, are exposed to dust, metal shavings, humidity and other harsh elements, they are prone to problems. If the computers are down, productivity comes to a screeching halt.
But it’s not only a complete failure or a work-stoppage that causes productivity loss. Although that is the worst kind of downtime, manufacturers face something equally bad over the long run – slow computers.
Slow computers also create idle time for employees. They require workarounds to make them function properly. They test the patience of users and efficiency of the process. They cause small amount of downtime each day, which adds up over time!
Imagine losing a week’s productivity because of a computer. If it happened all at once, you’d focus all the right resources to getting it fixed. But when it happens slowly over time, do you even notice?
Here are some thing you can do to protect your computers on the manufacturing floor.
Protecting Computers in Manufacturing Environments
Notice we didn’t say “eliminate dust” because let’s face it, it’s not possible unless you are running a clean room with laminar flow and HEPA filters. But you can attack the problem at the source by reducing the amount of dust.
Implementing regular deep-cleaning, especially around computer areas, in every nook and cranny of the workstations. You can also upgrade the filtration systems near computer stations. Enclosing computers is also an option.
Computers generate more heat than they can handle themselves, which is why they have internal fans. But those fans aren’t enough if you use them near manufacturing heat sources. High air temperatures simple increase the temperature of sensitive computer components, which are a primary cause for failure.
Move computers away from equipment that generates a lot of heat, heat ducts and other high-temperature areas. Heat shields are also common.
If your facility uses liquids, including water or chemicals near computers on a regular basis, they need to have the utmost protection. Even if it’s not a large amount of liquid, condensation and moisture can get inside computers causing damage over time. And electrical damage can be most costly.
The last thing you need is a potentially-dangerous situation where sparks fly, circuits are shorted and people get hurt. Safety issues aside, electrical problems cause major equipment downtime.
Like heat, freezing cold temperatures negatively affect the sensitive computer components, with many office computers not made to sustain cold temperatures for long periods of time. Unlike heat, cold temperatures also cause condensation and moisture problems. These lead to the same type of safety issues as liquids.
Move computers away from refrigeration units if possible, or use ruggedized computers or enclosures to protect them from the surrounding cold air.
The Next Level of Computer Protection
Office computers in manufacturing and industrial settings often aren’t made for the challenges of these harsh environments. Get the extra protection you need with these options.
Rugged Computers for Manufacturers
Moving more towards the military side of computing, with extra rugged exteriors and sealed interiors, these rugged notebook computers by Getac come in many variations and styles to suit your requirements. However, they are on the expensive side and can be more expensive to maintain.
Enclosures for Manufacturing Computers
Built for manufacturing, computer enclosures for harsh environments by Armagard deliver the protection you need, without the cost of replacing standard computers. You can simply enclose your office computers on the manufacturing floor to protect from many types of harsh environments.
What does your company do to protect computers on the manufacturing floor? Have you had a bad experience that led you to a new strategy?
We’d love to hear your ideas! Comment here and share on social media.