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Acquisition leads to a new generation of box PCs and thin clients

10 August, 2020

Rockwell Automation has announced a new generation of box PCs and thin clients incorporating designs and technologies from the Italian manufacturer Asem, that it bought earlier this year. The Allen-Bradley VersaView 6300 PCs include palm-sized industrial computers – Rockwell’s smallest to date – allowing users to save panel space and cut costs.

The compact, “affordable” PCs are designed to withstand harsh industrial environments, with protection against shock and vibration and the ability to operate in temperatures from 0–50°C. To improve reliability, they have no moving parts and fewer connections.

“These new box PCs and thin clients are the first of the Allen-Bradley VersaView 6300 family of industrial computers, and leverage designs and technology from our acquisition of Asem,” says Rockwell’s hardware business director, Dan DeYoung. “The unique designs … provide a very high level of durability for industrial environments in an affordable, flexible platform.”

The PCs work with the Rockwell’s ThinManager software, which supports centralised, secure application management. The thin clients are “ThinManager-ready”, and the box PCs are “ThinManager-compatible”, meaning they can either run on a Windows 10 IoT operating system or switch over to the ThinManager environment, effectively becoming thin clients.

Rockwell's new generation of industrial PCs includes palm-sized devices (right) - its smallest IPCs to date

The dual-use option gives users added flexibility, such as:
• the ability to deliver applications from a central server or a local PC using a single product, thus simplifying supply chains;
• the option to load applications from a PC if a central server goes down, which can improve availability; and
• the ability to use a PC as an HMI for a standalone machine, as a thin client for a series of connected machines, or as a data aggregator for collecting and sharing operating data.

Both products use DisplayPort, which supports 4K video for high-resolution displays. They also have two USB 3.0 ports and two Ethernet ports, making them suitable for high-speed datalogging and for IIoT gateway applications.

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