MRO Magazine

Rugged industrial PCs launched into fast-growing market

Mississauga, ON -- April 6, 2001 -- A new generation of industrial PCs was launched yesterday by Siemens Canada's I...


April 6, 2001
By MRO Magazine

Mississauga, ON — April 6, 2001 — A new generation of industrial PCs was launched yesterday by Siemens Canada’s Industry and Construction Group. The new Industrial PC platform is designed for a variety of plant floor process and manufacturing control applications. It is applicable for use in extremely rugged environments.

The platform consists of a box, panel, rack and tower models and use Microsoft Windows software, facilitating the movement of critical operational data from manufacturing to the front office.

“The market for PC-based control is one of the most active of late, growing at about 20 per cent annually,” said Tim Duffy, vice-president, sales, Industry and Construction Group. “Our goal, as we go forward, is to achieve the same market position in PCs as we have in PLCs.” In Canada, Siemens has a PLC market share of 13 per cent. In Europe, it is 70-80 per cent and globally it is 31 per cent, Duffy told

“With its almost unlimited memory, the PC is ideal for control tasks requiring high data volumes,” he added. “Increasingly, intelligent peripheral devices are called on to transmit every more complex status, configuration and parameter data. The PC can take in all this information and simultaneously perform a variety of control tasks. PCs work in a real-time world and more and more factory managers want full-time control of what are becoming increasingly complicated processes.”


The units have a small footprint for applications where space is at a premium, such as in control cabinets, consoles or for integration into plant machinery. The units can include a range of Celeron and Pentium III processors mounted on Siemens own motherboard with appropriate industrial communications technologies.

With today’s industrial PC, it is now possible to implement virtually any automation task — open- and closed-loop control, human machine interface (HMI) or motion control — all on a single platform. Another advantage of PCs, said Duffy, is that users have access to a huge market of PC-based products and solutions from different manufacturers.

Duffy said Siemens believes automation companies will be the leaders in the provision of industrial PCs. “We do not see commercial PC manufacturers playing anything more than a small, peripheral role.”