Computer equipment installed in the office environment is susceptible to dust. If you've taken the cover off any computer in an office you'll see this. Now imagine the effect of the dust on the power supply fan and the CPU fan; dried-out bearings and a coating of dust insulating the electronic devices and circuitry causing them to run "hot". What if this dust was also a conductor of electricity? Short-circuits and dry joints. Now think about the industrial environment where the main causes of failure are dust, dirt, water/liquid splash, high or low temperature, vibration, RF and EM Interference, Surges and Spikes on electrical mains supply, vandalism, equipment tampering, accidental damage. To understand each of these problems, Sentinel is pleased to provide a description of the most common hazards and how they can affect your computer equipment and we give you the Sentinel computer enclosure solution.
Computer Dust Protection
Dust is inevitable in most industrial environments. The computer equipment power supply fan will draw it into the equipment causing unlimited damage over time. Dust is a problem in several ways: it insulates the electronics on the motherboard and plug-in cards causing overheating, it contaminates disk drives and keyboards, it can cause short circuits and dry joints and is a common cause of fan failure, be it the power supply or the processor fan. All can lead to premature failure of the equipment. Just when you don't need it.
At Sentinel all our IP54 PC enclosures can be fitted with a cooling fan that incorporates a dust filter that will arrest particles as small as 5 microns. By designing into the industrial enclosures a positive air pressure system we have prevented the ingress of dust, but have maintained the air circulation using a strategically designed air ventilation system. All door, window and cable apertures are protected by dust-tight seals.
See full Ingress Protection (IP) definitions
Computer Waterproof Protection
There are many occasions where a computer or associated equipment is required in an area where there is also the necessity to wash and clean the equipment e.g. Food preparation, pharmaceutical and chemical industries to name but a few. In this environment it is essential to keep the equipment protected in a fully sealed enclosure as the effects of moisture, water and cleaning fluids can be catastrophic.
Sentinel's IP66 stainless steel enclosures are watertight sealed for high-pressure wash-down environments. All doors, windows, cable glands, locks and hinges are sealed to the maximum requirement. Sentinel manufactures these enclosures using high quality, food grade, 316 stainless steel to provide maximum protection from corrosion. Why 316 grade you may ask? Why not 304? Well, 316 is used because of its added molybdenum content, it is better suited to prevent corrosion in hostile environments especially where salts (chlorides) are present. It is the food industry standard for ease of cleanliness and hygiene.
See full Ingress Protection (IP) definitions
Computer Keyboard Protection
Keyboards are particularly exposed to harsh environments. Simply spilling coffee on one can render it inoperative. Dust and grease can also be of particular concern as these can get lodged in the contacts of the keys and are difficult to shift without breaking into the keyboard. Also keyboards can be used to tamper with much valued data and settings.
At Sentinel we believe your keyboard should be protected from harsh environments and secured from theft and tampering. As a result we offer a range of protection products from simple keyboard skins to prevent dust and grease penetrating between the keys to alternative IP66 membrane keyboards and pointing devices designed to give maximum protection from dirt. We also offer computer security in the form of lock-away keyboard trays that when not in use are protected from the harsh environment as well.
Computer Security Protection
Computer and data theft are common problems that can only be resolved by securing the computers inside enclosures. All Sentinel's enclosures include locking devices on all doors to prevent unauthorised access. The enclosure has the added advantage over clamping devices in that data theft and vandalism can be thwarted too.
For protection in the office, Sentinel Enclosures have designed a range of high-security safes that house all shapes and sizes of computers from laptops to servers. Manufactured from 2mm thick steel, these safes can be bolted to walls and floors and feature a seven-lever mortice lock on the door and secure cable entry. They can also be environmentally sealed against the severest office dust.
Hot Environment and Cold Environment Protection
Most computer equipment can operate between 5 to 35°C. Surrounding this equipment with an enclosure will trap heat inside and create "hotspots". Your equipment is likely to overheat as a result thus reducing its Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF). When you least expect it the equipment fails due to this exposure.
At Sentinel Enclosures we provide cooling and heating solutions for all pc enclosures from cooling fans to heater modules. We even have experience of maintaining thermal label printers at above +5°C in a hostile environment of -30°C and still fully functioning today!
Our solutions are tailor-made to the environmental requirements. In the majority of cases a normal external to internal air cooling fan is the practical answer where the external temperature is below 30°C and above 5°C and an IP54 maximum protection rating is required (we can advise of this). In an IP66 enclosure an internal re-circulating fan is the desired choice, this stirs the air constantly giving an even temperature throughout the industrial computer enclosure and avoids "hotspots".
Above +30°C - If the external ambient temperature outside the enclosure exceeds 30°C for prolonged periods then alternative cooling solutions are required. At Sentinel Enclosures we have a range of products such as heat exchangers, vortex cooling and air conditioning that can provide the controlled solution.
Below +5°C - If the external ambient temperature outside the enclosure drops below +5°C for prolonged periods then heating solutions are required. Sentinel Enclosures have a range of heating modules that will enable your computer equipment to fully function within its operational temperature limits.
Below -5°C - In frozen environments Sentinel Enclosures can provide a cost effective computer enclosure solution enabling the equipment to fully function in temperatures as low as -30°C. This solution is tailor-made to your requirements and depends upon how you wish to use your equipment, call us with your details.
All temperature control solutions given are for IP54 enclosures to IP66 enclosures. Please check your computer equipment for operational temperature and humidity specification to ensure that Sentinel Enclosures can advise you correctly on the solution.
RF/EM Interference Protection
If you do not want electro-magnetic distortion on your monitor front screens then choose a Flat-Panel TFT solution. We can also enclose it and protect it from the harmful effects of RFI and EMI using the latest technology in metal-to-metal surface bonding techniques. A copper-mesh embedded window can be bonded to the chassis so that viewing of the screen is not a problem. When CRT is a must, then the same rules apply, except that external magnetic fields can distort the picture quite alarmingly. The copper-mesh embedded window can solve this problem too. All doors and cable entry plates come with sealed metal-to-metal bonding to eliminate all potential leak paths in both directions.
Electrical Surge/Spike Protection
Heavy factory machinery can cause fluctuations on power circuits, whether it be current surges or voltage spikes, this can severely damage computer equipment. Sentinel Enclosures can include a surge/spike-protected 4-way mains adapter for added protection against these electrical anomalies.
Vibration can damage or dislodge electronic components such as CPU Processors, Hard disk drives, plug-in cards, RAM memory almost anything that connects into each other can become dislodged. Sentinel Enclosures' anti-vibration chassis plates and shock mounts protect your computer or monitor from high frequency vibration.
Physical Damage Protection
Sentinel's enclosures are manufactured using 1.5mm (16 SWG) seam-welded steel shells. This provides strength at the corners as well as the sides of the enclosure. The PC, monitors and printers will survive high-speed forklift collision inside a Sentinel Enclosure.