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Why Mini PCs are Ideal for Industrial Applications

September 2022

Mini PCs for Industrial Applications - Simply NUC - industrial pc - industrial intel nuc - mini industrial pc - fanless industrial pc

In this technologically advanced era, businesses are looking for computing solutions that are easy to use, cost-friendly, and easily manageable. When it comes to computer devices, the use of desktop computers, laptops, and tablets has skyrocketed due to their compact size and top-notch performance. 

However, some industries, like manufacturing or construction, need alternative PCs that can operate 24/7 in harsh environments. This is where a mini PC is an ideal solution, by offering the performance, memory, and storage required to keep industrial applications and operations running smoothly regardless of the surroundings. So, let’s explore in detail why mini PCs are ideal for industrial applications. 

Mini PC – A Brief Overview

A mini PC is like a standard PC in terms of performance, but it is much smaller in size, often available in a sub-liter chassis. They are lightweight, high-performing, and small form factor computers that can fit into compact spaces where a standard PC tower or laptop cannot go. Most mini PCs don’t measure more than a few inches tall or wide. Some of the common use cases of mini PCs include:

Many industrial sectors are actively shifting towards using mini PC solutions today. For example, cargo ships are widely equipped with mini PCs for navigation, communication, and engine management purposes.  Similarly, mini PCs are commonly used across manufacturing plants to improve production efficiency and analyze important data. 

To summarize, mini PCs are currently leveraged in many different industrial sectors and their uses are growing in popularity.

Three Reasons Mini PCs are Ideal for Industrial Applications

1. Small Footprint

The first and most popular reason to use mini PCs for industrial applications is their small footprint. They provide reliable, powerful, and efficient performance despite their tiny size. Due to their compact design, mini PCs are a natural choice for tight spaces or embedded IoT applications. Larger tower computers or delicate laptops are not practical to use in most industrial settings, so their small size paired with  powerful performance capabilities make them the clear choice for all types of industrial applications.  And they can easily be mounted to workbenches, or walls with DIN rails or zip ties; or to the backs of monitors with a VESA plate.

2. Rugged Design

In addition to their small footprint, some mini PCs are designed to be rugged allowing them to thrive 24/7 in hot, dusty, and humid environments.  Mini PCs from Simply NUC are shock-and-vibe tested to endure unstable environments, and many have been UL Certified to ensure safe operation in rugged environments.

Some of the key characteristics of rugged mini PCs are as follows:

Fanless 

Some mini PCs are fanless and can operate continuously in harsh environments without the use of a cooling fan. For example, the Tiger Porcoolpine, built with 11th Gen Intel® Core™ processors, provides top-notch performance without using any fan or blower. Similarly, the Cypress Porcoolpine, built with AMD Ryzen​​™ Embedded V2000 Processors, is another fanless mini PC that offers long-term performance for small spaces and embedded solutions. 

Reduced Heat and Noise

Mini PCs don’t generate the same amount of heat and noise that tower PCs do because of their energy-efficient design. These computers come with processors that create far less heat than conventional computers. For example, the Intel® NUC 8 Rugged known as “Austin Beach” is a modular PC kit that comes in a compact size but offers best-in-class reliability. It features a fanless, ventless design to minimize particle intrusion, so it’s built to survive environments most other PCs can’t – from a busy factory floor to a dusty warehouse. And even without a fan, the Austin Beach can operate in temperatures from 0-40˚C, allowing it to thrive on the factory floor or on the edge of an IoT network.

Long-Lasting

Another major benefit of rugged mini PCs is their durability and reliability, even in fairly harsh conditions that might otherwise cause computers to wear down quickly. The simple lack of a fan is one of the biggest components at play here – fans tend to build up dust and other debris over time and may seize up as a result. Rugged mini PCs remove heat from processors and other components passively, rather than requiring a fan. This means there’s no need for maintenance cooling either, which increases the long-term lifespan of the computer.  It is not unusual for Simply NUC mini PCs to fully function for five-plus years prior to needing a refresh.  

Extended Temperature Range 

Mini PCs are capable of withstanding tough temperature calls. Some mini PCs from Simply NUC support an extended temperature range, such as the Chimney Rock which can operate over the range of 0℃ to +60℃.  And the Chimney Rock also has a supply commitment of seven years for those applications that require a longer term system stability.

3. Reduced Energy Consumption

With growing environmental concerns, business organizations are becoming more conscious about the environmental impacts of their operations and are wanting to reduce their power consumption levels and carbon footprints. Mini PCs have shown to be an ideal alternative to traditional PCs in terms of energy consumption. A desktop PC requires somewhere between 60-200 watts of electricity to function normally. Compared to that, a mini PC  requires just 20-50 watts. With this significantly lower power consumption, the cost of electricity will dramatically drop allowing businesses to save on operating costs and decrease their carbon footprint. 

Wrapping Up

Technological advancements have motivated organizations to upgrade their traditional computing solutions and go for more productive options. One such transformation is witnessed in the way of mini PCs becoming more popular in industrial settings.  Compared to traditional tower PCs, mini computers have emerged as powerful, energy-efficient, and more compact computing devices. 

If you are looking to utilize a mini that can be completely customized based on your organization’s needs, then Simply NUC is the mini PC one-stop shop for you. We are the leading provider of customized mini computers for customers all around the world. So, get in touch with us today and discover the right mini PC for you and your business!

Simply NUC, Inc. is a systems integrator specializing in mini computers. Simply NUC provides fully configured, warranted, and supported mini PC systems to businesses and consumers, as well as end-to-end NUC project development, custom operating system installations, and NUC accessories.

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