The history of the industrial computer begins shortly after the Second World War, with the invention in 1947 of the transistor. This made large electronic calculating machines a possibility, leading to the development of the computer as we know it today.
During the next decades, computers were used by the military, the space programme, and also for commercial applications. One of the most famous commercial computers was LEO, the Lyons Electronic Office used by the Lyons Company for stock control, payroll, and other applications.
An important component of industrial computers is the programmable logic controller, or PLC, used to automate production and processes. In recent years, improved PAC, programmable automation controller, technology has been developed.
The industrial PC as we know it today appeared in the 1980s, alongside the boom in home computing brought about by small, affordable personal computers. Industrial computers are more rugged than home computers, designed for use in environments that may be hot, cold, dusty, or wet, and their software does not require updating as frequently as a home computer’s. The capacity of industrial computers can be increased by adding expansion cards
Industrial computers are often used on the factory floor, where they control processes and production. The automotive industry was an early adopter of industrial computers and robotics, and still makes heavy use of this technology.
As well as controlling manufacturing equipment, an industrial computer may be used to monitor processes, acquiring and analysing data, sometimes outdoors.
In today’s industry, where ever more complicated processes need to be handled, and speedy production is essential to remain competitive, the industrial computer is more important than ever before.
The power of code, www.bbc.co.uk
Industrial Computer Futures, www.jimpinto.com