Top Ten Hazards for Computers in Industry

By: Richard n Williams
Computers are fragile pieces of equipment yet more and more computers are being used in environments that prove hostile to a PC. One of the main reasons is that many administrators find it cheaper to use inexpensive PCs that don't last very long rather than buying a specialist industrial PC

However a happy medium in the shape of an industrial PC enclosure which will offer the same protection of an industrial computer for a fraction of the cost, allowing the off-the-shelf computer to last just as long whilst offering the same flexibility of an industrial machine, particularly when it comes to upgrades and repairs.

The top ten hazards for PCs in Industry are:

10. User errors - From not powering down properly to skipping scan disks, a user can seriously damage a computer's hardware, particularly drives and processors by not following correct guidance in using their machine.

9. Faulty manufacture - years ago there were only a handful of companies producing PCs now it seems there are an almost infinite number of manufacturers and assemblers, some have vast experience and resources, others are no more than two guys in a garage so it is not surprising that an increasing number of computer systems are faulty when bought new.

8. Bad upgrades. It is not just computers themselves that are victims of bad workmanship, upgrades by inexperienced computer fitters can cause horrendous problems and faulty add-ons such as RAM can kill a processor instantly. Also attempting to 'overclock' a processor can often lead to a fatal melt-down.

7. USB Device Mishaps. It seems everything can be plugged into a USB these days. However, it maybe that your USB device is not suited to the operating system you use or it may be faulty leading to a fatal short circuit.

6. Power surge/cut. Power surges or unexpected power cuts can not only cause instant loss of data but can also fry a processor rendering it useless. It is not just power from the grid that causes problems either, lightning can surge through cables (even phone wires) frazzling your system and a build up of static can cause similar results.

5. Dirt/Dust. A dusty environment will clog a computer and block cooling vents causing a computer to overheat. Dust can also contain conductive material and particles can stick to circuit boards and cause a short circuit. A cloud of dust can also explode if it comes into contact with a source of ignition (like a computer). Even home computers if not properly cleaned can succumb to problems caused by too much dust.

4. Water/fluids. Of course computers are electrical and with all electrical equipment, computers and water do not mix, just one spilt cup of coffee could see the end of your PC.

3. Heat. Processors can run exceptionally hot and if a computers cooling system is inadequate (because the machine has been upgraded, overclocked or just clogged up with dust and grime) it will only be a matter of time before it packs up for good.

2. Cold. Just as with heat, computers don't enjoy the cold too much either. Processors will not operate at all if the operating temperature is too cold as condensation inside the machine can freeze and expand damaging the processor and electronics.

1. Knocks/bangs. Computers are sensitive machines, simply moving a PC to another room can cause havoc, disrupting the delicate circuitry and hard drives. Dropping a computer or severe knocks and bangs will permanently damage the circuits and processors or dislodge wiring.

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