Computers are finally reaching a performance level that makes software move at a desirable speed. We have combined control, I/O, motion, and machine vision all on one computer with adequate response times. We have found that Windows NT 4, Pentium III at 1 GHz, 512 MB RAM, 7200 RPM hard drive, PCI bus, and AGP graphics provides a fast enough platform to replace PLCs.
For an additional power boost check out Symmetrical Multi Processors. Although we do use multi-processor computers, we do not use overclocking or other techniques to boost computer speeds beyond their intended use. However, a lot of technologies these "extreme" groups develop, such as cooling, are useful to even standard systems. Who would not want their CPU, drives, and other equipment to run 20 to 30 degrees cooler?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are industrial computers worth the higher cost? It is true that industrial computers are often two to three times the cost of office grade computers. In some cases, such as limited space, you do not have an option and must use an industrial computer. The biggest drawback to industrial computers is that since they are replaced as often as office computers (typically every three years) your costs are double or triple. Two tricks can help you use office computers. One relocate the computer in a nicer environment. Use monitor and keyboard extenders, Ethernet, and other tricks to extend the distance between the computer and industrial environment. Second, use an industrial enclosure. NOTE that regardless of whether we use an office or industrial computer we still use items to protect the computer such as surge suppression, noise filtering, vibration isolation, UPS, cooling etc.
Industrial Computer Links