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Rugged Industrial Touch Panel PCs Deployed in Heavy Industry

With capabilities to enhance and transform manufacturing industry operations with industrial-grade computing, Things Embedded was recently approached by British Steel for replacing their mixed combination of computers, displays, and all-in-one touchscreen computers which were continuously failing in the field.

Who is British Steel?

British Steel, founded in 2016 and acquired by Jingye Group in 2020, is a long steel products business that employs over 3,200 employees offering a wide range of high-quality steel products, manufactured to international standards. The company with its in-depth industry knowledge ensures that its customers receive the best possible standard of product for their application and inherently supports the best of the USA industry.

British Steel Overview:

  • Work within construction steel supplying a wide range of structural sections to the construction industry.
  • Provide a wide range of high-performance rail products for the rail industry meeting standards.
  • Design custom steel profiles for customers with it used in several applications around the world.
  • Produce wire rod meeting the strict demands of the automotive, construction, engineering, and consumer goods markets.
  • Manufacture a variety of semi-finished products to suit customers’ requirements for rolling into long, structural, or general engineering products.

Steel production itself is highly polluting. The production requires large inputs of coke (a sort of coal) which is extremely damaging to the environment and makes for a very dirty industrial manufacturing environment.

British Steel’s Harsh Factory Requirements

British Steel approached Things Embedded with a need for panel computers that would be versatile enough to accommodate a variety of tasks as part of their manufacturing operations whilst being suitable for the environment they would be situated in.

It was identified during the initial scope of the project that British Steel’s current PCs at the time were failing because they weren’t suitable for industrial use and the displays were also damaged with the user interface. The new systems to be put in place were to be ruggedized to withstand the dirty 24-hour production environment with a requirement to withstand harsh chemical cleaning.

In the harsh manufacturing environment, the new infrastructure was required to interface with equipment ranging from sensitive spectrometers which ensure the highest quality and composition of the steel which British Steel produces, to the cranes which hoist 170-ton ladles of molten steel over five stories above ground level. Serial RS-232/422/485 are the most common communication interfaces found within the industrial plant.

Fully Sealed Rugged Stainless Steel Computing


21.5″ IP66/IP69K 316 Grade Stainless Steel Resistive Touch HMI

Display: 21.5"[16:9, 1920 x 1080, FHD]
Touch: 5-Wire Resistive Touch
Brightness: 250


21.5″ IP66/IP69K 316 Grade Stainless Steel PCAP Touch Computer

Display: 21.5"[16:9, 1920 x 1080, FHD]
Touch: Projective Capacitive Touch
Brightness: 250

Selecting a Rugged Industrial Touch Panel PC

The PPC-Z213 rugged industrial touch panel PCs manufactured by Arestech and designed for harsh factory environments were proposed by Things Embedded. The fanless passively cooled design with IP66/IP69K protection guarantees that the rugged Panel PCs can withstand harsh industrial factory environments and benefit production with no downtime for maintenance.

These touch Panel PCs are also designed and manufactured with a toughened protective display meeting the IK07 standard. Housed within the rugged stainless-steel chassis the panel PC provides durability against not only the harsh manufacturing environment but also purposeful vandalism.

With downward-facing I/O utilising M12 circular locking connectors the rugged touch panel PCs are protected against ingress from all angles. Onboard serial is protocol selectable which gives flexibility with connected devices in the field. The computers also provide dual Ethernet so they could communicate with their internal network and proprietary network devices.

The 316-grade stainless steel panel PCs provides British Steel with a system that can have harsh chemical cleaners applied to assist with the washing down of systems. Being subject to such a dirty environment this is standard practice within the industrial facility to remove the pollutants.

Feedback from Our Valued Customer

“Ordering these rugged touch panel PCs from Things Embedded has always been a breeze. Utilising the call-off service provided we could take just a couple of these systems each month and meet our installation requirements accordingly. We depend on these systems for a variety of vital tasks, and to date, they’ve been very reliable and gone above our expectations at a great price point.” British Steel


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