Advantech has published a White Paper that discusses Industrial PC Trends, focusing on the shift from standard IPCs and customised IPCs to configured-to-order IPCs.
Integrating better technology and automation into commercial products, manufacturing equipment and test stations is an ongoing challenge, yet a continuous process that is necessary to improve performance and profitability. Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) designers, system integrators and engineers must choose from a variety of components and methods to accomplish the end result in better, faster and cheaper ways. A common decision point when specifying automation platforms is whether to use standard industrial PCs (IPCs) or custom control hardware. But what if there was a way to do both?
Custom control hardware can be tailor-made and optimised for the application at hand, but there are significant up-front design and tooling costs. This can be economical for large quantities, but prohibitively expensive for smaller orders.
For these smaller orders, users have typically been forced to purchase standard IPC hardware and either customize it to meet their needs or shoehorn it into the application in a suboptimal manner.
Customised IPC for the price of a standard IPC
But one automation platform vendor has developed a means for designers and engineers to have their cake and eat it too, getting the benefits of IPC customisation at price points typically associated with standard hardware.
Advantech, a manufacturer of IPCs and other automation products, has recently introduced a concept called iDoor Technology, which is a program where a wide variety of standardised hardware platforms and technologies can be preconfigured to meet specific customer needs. With iDoor Technology, users can select from various communication connectivity types and protocols, standard memory and storage formats, as well as digital and analog input and output capabilities using the standard size of 81 x 19.4 mm.
As a means of providing highly customised control hardware without modifying the guts of an IPC, iDoor Technology presages a trend in IPC implementation. Using standardised components and interfaces allows the automation platform, and therefore the integrator, to leverage current state-of-the art technologies as well as up-and-coming IPC trends. Other added benefits include the ability to develop your own MiniPCIe card, your own exclusive iDoor Technology functions, and even iDoor shell colours (including the incorporation of logos).
For instance, as embedded OS improvements and higher-performance storage methods become widely available in industry, the IPC supplier is able to seamlessly integrate them into the product line and make these new technologies quickly accessible and available to their customers.
This promises to be a leading IPC trend as it delivers a host of benefits.
Advantech's iDoor Technology enables users to realise the benefits of standard customisation as detailed below:
- No need to 're-invent the wheel'
- The full power of a PC platform can be realised
- Rapid adoption of commercial PC technologies is possible
- Optimisation is possible due to a wide range of standard options
- Standardised options offer proven performance
- An integrated solution becomes more than the sum of its parts
- Users can easily expand the specification to add new capabilities
- Enhanced acceptance by OEMs, system integrators and their customers
- Best balance of cost, capabilities and reliability
Email to request a copy of the free White Paper Industrial PC Trends, which discusses the shift from standard IPCs and customised IPCs to configured-to-order IPCs, and follow the link for more information about iDoor technology. Or follow this link to read more about Advantech's industrial automation products.