The New Breed of Industrial PC

Feb. 5, 2008
Our goal was to provide the product capabilities of a traditional industrial computer in a small, powerful size at a price point our customers need

The push for smaller, more-reliable components of all shapes and functions is relentless in machine control system design. As factory-floor real estate becomes more precious, a smaller machine footprint—operator panel space included—is near the top of every manufacturer’s wish list.

This clearly applies to industrial PCs as well. They have long been thought of as panel-space hogs with unreliable operating components, such as rotating media and keyboards. Now the pressure is on industrial PC builders to manufacture smaller, better products.

Nematron says it’s answering that call. The company announced the launch of its new ePC-Series of industrial computers, which it says changes the conventional, big, bulky and expensive definition of industrial PCs.

“Our goal was to provide the product capabilities of a traditional industrial computer in a small, powerful size at a price point that our customers need,” explains Ralph Damato, vice president—product management for Nematron. “With the ePC-Series’ ultra-thin design, powerful processors and extensive I/O, we have accomplished our goal. We’re also extremely proud to say that these new products, unlike many on the market today, are built in the U.S. and supported globally.”

The ePC-Series computers include a 15-in. ePC1500 XGA, a 17-in. ePC1700 SXGA and a 19-in. ePC1900 SXGA LCD version. All three units come standard with 100-240 Vac input power supplies and NEMA 4/4x/12 panel-mountable front panels. The units have Class I, Div 2 hazardous locations approvals.

“The units are less than three inches deep when panel-mounted,” adds Damato. “Stainless steel front panels, solid-state, non-rotating hard drives and 24 VDC input power are available options for all three sizes, and all are available with five-wire analog resistive touchscreens.” He says the panels also are VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association) arm-mount-capable.

Nematron engineers have included a CompactFlash socket and extensive I/O to eliminate the need for bulky expansion slots and unreliable rotating CD-ROMs and floppies, although an easily removable and swappable hard drive is available if desired.

I/O capabilities on every unit include two 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports, one for RS-422/485, two for RS-232, four USB 2.0 ports, PS/2 and an external video connection that supports dual display with extended desktop.

“With options that include an Intel Core Duo 2.0 GHz processor and 2 GB DRAM, the ePC-Series provides enough processing power to run the most complex HMI and SCADA applications,” says Damato. “To top this all off, the SATA hard drive can be easily removed without any cable connections. Our design means low power consumption and as a result, the ePC-Series has excellent heat dissipation.

Damato says all sizes of the ePC-Series have UL /cUL 508 and 1604, RoHS and European CE approvals, making system integration attractive for any application and/or location.

For more information call 734/214-2000 in North America or +44 23 9226 8080 in Europe. Email [email protected] or browse to