What Does “Industrial-Rated” Mean When it Comes to Single-Board Computers?

In recent years, “industrial-rated” has become a popular term surrounding single-board computers (SBCs). But what exactly does it mean, and how can you be certain brands are true to their promise? 

When companies use the term “industrial-rated,” this obviously means that the product is suited for industrial use. In the past, some PCB solutions were better suited for experimentation and education versus real-world application. It is implied that industrial-rated SBCs can withstand the extreme stressors that come with industrial environments, meaning they can take on severe weather, temperatures, sustained use over long periods, and other factors. 

But not all industrial-rated SBCs are created equal. When you are looking at industrial-rated solutions, keep the following in mind.  

What Does Industrial-Rated Mean for Real-World Applications? 

A rugged, industrial SBC can handle the challenges of the energy industry (oil, gas, wind farms, and more), military or aerospace, transportation, manufacturing, and more. 

It’s easy for brands to throw around terms like “rugged” when describing their product without proving that it can withstand challenging environmental conditions. The two most important requirements you need to consider when purchasing industrial-rated SBCs are their ability to withstand extreme temperatures (-40°C to 85°C) and significant mechanical stress over long periods. 

an industrial-grade single board computer (SBC)

Testing for Mechanical Stressors 

The term “mechanical stress” can mean many things to different industries. The most common standard for industrial computers is MIL-STD-202. This is a standard Department of Defense testing process for mechanical and electronic part components, and it denotes the level of shock and different types of vibrations a product can handle over prolonged periods. This compliance testing is critical to proving that the product can perform basic environmental tests and determine its resilience to natural elements and extreme conditions. MIL-STD-202 testing is important because it demonstrates that a product doesn’t simply perform well in a controlled environment, such as a lab, but can perform mission-critical applications in various settings. This type of testing helps ensure the product you are purchasing isn’t simply using buzzwords like “heavy duty” but will provide real-world results for your business. 

When companies design PCB solutions and SBCs, they must carefully consider each component that goes into the board, ensuring that they can face numerous challenges and hostile environments. The proper design, components, construction, and placement are of the essence in the PCB world. 

We make the entirety of our Interceptor product line with mission-critical applications in mind. Our products are proven to go above and beyond when it comes to resilience and withstanding extreme environments, no matter your industry. Our customers can rest assured that our products will resist breakdown and wear over time. Whether you’re operating oil rigs around the clock in the heat of West Texas or monitoring machinery located on wind-battered mountainsides, every part of the Interceptor product line is created to function in these conditions and excel. 

Some companies sell cheaper boards that claim to be “industrial-rated” but aren’t designed specifically for challenging terrain and temperatures. These boards aren’t as robust (in terms of soldering and other components), so they don’t function well in extreme environments, and their connection points are standard USBs, which can be easily damaged after short lengths of vibration.

Testing for Temperature Resilience 

Beyond withstanding mechanical stressors, the entire Interceptor product line is temperature resilient and able to perform in temperatures varying from -40°C to 85°C. Unlike other companies who claim these products work within the same temperature ranges, the Interceptor products can withstand these temperatures for long periods, performing the full breadth of their tasks without wearing down.

When shopping for rugged industrial computers, make sure the product you’re purchasing doesn’t simply function in a wide range of temperatures but can perform all of its tasks over long periods of time in these conditions. For example, the Interceptor product line can work on the slopes of Alaska when -40°C is an average temperature. Many companies making similar products can achieve storage at this temperature but cannot operate.

When considering what type of PCB solutions your company needs, make sure you purchase a product that doesn’t rely on buzzwords and can live up to its promise. The Interceptor product line is unique in its rigorous testing and is ready to surpass your expectations in all mission-critical applications. Contact our team today to see how we can help your business. 

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