With the manufacturing industry gradually shifting toward the smart factory aspect of Industry 4.0, a multitude of digital applications have been introduced to factory floors. The proliferation of these applications has also led to new usage patterns. Computers installed on production lines are no longer regarded as a luxury but a necessity because they allow the operators and supervisors to coordinate and control manufacturing processes in real-time.
There are many computer options on the market, but not all of them are suitable for production line environments. For example, typical desktop PCs with a monitor tend to be bulky and heavy, and they require more space for installation. The cooling fans that are typically installed on such computers also pose a hazard with dust/ vapour ingress and on-floor factory environment, which have a high probability of causing a crash or damage to a computer because of fan motor failure.
Another option is commercial Panel PCs or industrial-grade panel PCs.
Commercial panel PCs have inferior stability and low durability compared to industrial-grade models. Frequent updates to software and the rapid phasing out of key components are also conventional practices for commercial computers, and these pose a problem for manufacturers who generally seek to use equipment for as long as possible.
Industrial- grade Panel PCs are designed using industrial grade components such as wide temperature range solid state disks and memory. Industrial grade motherboards used in the systems are built using higher specification components such as capacitors which are designed with wider temperature ranges and a longer lifespan than those used in commercial grade motherboards.
High grade materials are used in the construction of industrial grade systems which are hardwearing and do not degrade over time. By comparison, commercial grade systems typically use plastic and thin metal which are not robust enough for the harsh environments where the systems are often used.
Overcoming these problems is Pacific Automation’s partnership with Advantech Australia. Advantech’s streamlined industrial panel PC or multi-purpose all-in-one computing system. The panel PCs are ultra slim, fanless with high-durability design. These unit’s ruggedness, reliability, and long lifespan make it an ideal all-in-one hardware platform for the manufacturing industry, helping manufacturers to digitize and thereby optimize their production processes. The multi-purpose all-in-one computing system is equipped with wide format, touch based LCD panel. It is easy to integrate key peripherals and display systems for diversified self-service and interactive signage deploy in different application areas. With removable frame, the system also could fulfil industries or control system applications with panel mounting design.
New Metal Surfaces are a leading Australian provider of thermal spraying and coating technologies operating for over 26 years. The company work with customers, engineers and industry to deliver cost-effective component repair, reducing the need for costly replacements. Their range of thermal spraying and coating services includes high-velocity oxygen fuel (HVOF), twin wire arc spray, combustion powder spray, machining, grinding, and welding services from our state-of-the-art Kewdale workshop.
Every day, components big and small arrive for their team of specialists to assess. Some are held in the hand of a farmer walking through our front door, others are brought across the Nullarbor by road train. No matter the size, they carefully appraise the component’s properties, composition, and application to identify the most effective preparation and technique. It then moves through their workshop following the safe and efficient work practices, and leaves refurbished and in optimum condition.
With over 33,000 jobs under their belt, New Metal Surfaces aimed at improving process and production efficiency as well as realizing efficient and intelligent factory floor management. Therefore, New Metal Surfaces has planned to implement an electronic standard operating procedure (eSOP) and material management system on its production lines so as to replace the traditional paperwork process. This digital management method requires a computer to be installed at each workstation to provide workshop management and labour tracking system.
- Desiring PCAP touch, 21.5”/22” screen size
- IP65 (Dusty environment and dirty hands)
- VESA Mount
- Windows 10/ Windows 10 LTSC
- Web based
For this project, Pacific Automation recommended Advantech’s UTC-320G-BTO (build to order), which is a multi-purpose all-in-one computing system equipped with wide format, touch based LCD panel. It is easy to integrate key peripherals and display systems for diversified self-service and interactive signage deploy in different application areas. With removable frame, the system also could fulfill industries or control system applications with panel mounting design. The all-in-one UTC-320G can connect to the company’s server via Ethernet and to web based workshop management and labour tracking system using Wifi. With a UTC-320G installed on each workstation, operators can promptly receive instructions from management and data can be digitally recorded. The unit’s touch screen also provides a friendly user interface for operators to login, request or return jobs. Also assisting operators, the SOP of individual work orders can be displayed at each workstation.
The UTC-320G consolidates all of the elements of a computer into a single compact body, without requiring installation of a monitor, keyboard, or mouse, and without sacrificing performance. It also has a rugged design to extend its lifespan, including an aluminium IP65-rated front bezel, a solid aluminium alloy enclosure, highly durable touch panel, and high anti-shock/anti-vibration resistance. All these make the UTC-320G a great choice for the digital transformation of production lines.
The UTC-320G low power fanless design eliminates the risk of dust ingress and also reduces the probability of a computer crash. It has multiple I/O interfaces (e.g., LAN and USB ports) to meet existing system requirements while also facilitating future system expansion.
The Future of Operations
Computers have become critical for obtaining a real-time overview of on-site operations and for improving management efficiency on manufacturing floors. Advantech’s industrial panel PCs, with their positive brand image, ultra-slim design, and high stability/durability, can fully satisfy the needs of this national demonstration base. The UTC-320G has been adopted on eleven production lines to date and are currently working well. New Metal Surface plans to continue to implement this product on other production lines.
We’ve partnered with leading IIoT specialists Advantech to provide a superior selection of bundled PC packages, making it easy for you to choose an industrial PC solution.
For more information on the range of Advantech Industrial PCs, please contact the team at Pacific Automation.