Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories
Building high availability into industrial computers
Industrial computer applications and specifications have evolved significantly over the last 30 years. The first industrial computers provided human-machine interface (HMI) support and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) for automated machinery within factories. Today, machine-to-machine (M2M) applications and big data analytics have created a need for rugged computing in outdoor and harsh environments. Industrial computing applications now range from solar farm monitoring to parking lot kiosks.
The first industrial computers were more robust than their commercial-grade counterparts, but were not purposely designed for mission critical applications. Today, features such as ingress protection rating, vibration testing, and temperature ratings help qualify a computer as industrial, but there's little industry standardization on how to measure and report reliability, availability, and serviceability.