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Understanding Ruggedized Computing Solutions for Hazardous Environments




Oil and gas facilities that refine petroleum or natural gas to produce liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or butane and distribute it through pipeline stations regularly store and distribute large quantities of these flammable liquids.

Because gas vapor, dust, or other pollutants may collect in these areas, the electronic equipment installed for automation and control must be specifically designed to prevent unintended ignition of these items due to electrical arcing or other thermal means.

Although much attention is paid to the components of the automation system used to control the process itself, these systems also require computing equipment, such as thin clients, tablet computers, remote touch screens, keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM) solutions, Fixed and mobile solutions. Operator workstations. Given the risks, this equipment must also meet the requirements for use in areas classified as hazardous and be durable enough to withstand the harsh chemical environment and high humidity generated during the refining and manufacturing process.

solid computer“Manufacturing, processing, storing, and distributing flammable materials such as liquefied petroleum can release gases or vapors into the atmosphere, which may result in an explosion or danger. In order to create a safe and secure working environment, workplace computing systems must be, from During regulations, they are designed to pass explosion-proof certification and are able to withstand a corrosive environment,” said Paul Shaw of ARISTA Corporation, a company that provides platform computing and visual display products including thin clients, all-in-one tablet computers, and LCD touch screens. Durable and industrial KVM solutions.

In simple terms, a hazardous classified site is any area, building, or commercial or industrial building likely to be exposed to fire or explosion due to the presence of flammable gases, vapors, flammable liquids, flammable dust, or other similar materials in very high quantities.

rugged technologyHazardous locations can be classified into different categories depending on the nature of the flammable vapors or liquids. In North America, the split/split system is primarily used, and regulations regarding the design and manufacture of industrial equipment are drawn up by the National Electrical Code, the Canadian Electrical Code, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the National Fire Protection Association. Outside North America, a similar “area” system is used to identify and classify hazardous areas and potential sources of hazard.

To meet the requirements of LPG refining, there are several ways in which the equipment can be made flame and explosion proof. For computing systems, equipment manufacturers serving the market can design and manufacture thin customers, industrial panel computers and UL-certified, non-burning touchscreen computers (equipment with electrical/electronic circuits unable under normal operating conditions to cause ignition of flammable gas, vapor, dust, etc., due to arcing or thermal means), which meets the requirements of different classes/departments/regions within the plant
or station.


According to Shu, touch computers are routinely deployed as human-machine interface workstations on automated tank farms and rack loading operations. The fully enclosed version is made of stainless steel and has no external vents.

This design protects components from gases, dust, dirt, moisture, chemicals, oil and other external contaminants in an explosive environment. LPG usually arrives by pipeline or railroad car and is then delivered to tanks operated by various companies and agencies. Large quantities of products – mainly flammable and combustible liquids – are stored at these locations and then distributed.

rugged technologyFor this type of application, on-board computers are robust, fanless systems approved for use in Class 1, Division 2; Class 2, Division 2; and Class 3, Sections 1 and 2 Hazardous areas. Systems are installed with a Windows operating system and operators can manipulate the high-resolution touch screens when wearing heavy-duty industrial gloves.

The fanless thin client versions are a popular and cost-effective way to develop a virtual desktop for more centralized management.

With remote access, data is easier to manage, store, and use, and IT administrators can easily access any device connected to the server and make changes. Moreover, thin clients are the easiest to configure, manage, and deploy.

To maintain a completely safe industrial work environment, LPG producers must install computer systems and peripherals that meet industry regulations and safety standards for hazardous locations around the world. Working with industry-experienced computing platform providers, facility managers can source thin clients with UL certification, non-burning, corrosion-resistant, industrial panel computers, touchscreen computers and other critical equipment that will withstand the rigors of industrial environments.


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