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Dressing the Part for Modern Industry

Dressing the Part for Modern Industry

Interior design legend, Elise de Wolfe, once said that dressing well is largely a question of detail and accessories. As much as this philosophy applies to fashion and design, it can also be said that a great computer system is largely contingent on the details built into it, versatility of use, and available accessories for expansion of capabilities. For example, say that you need an industrial tablet to be a workhorse computer at a construction job site, but also need something to entertain your children in the evening. Many people would cite that these two scenarios are equally hazardous to the health of the tablet PC. Let’s consider that this same system also needs to be able to read smart cards (including credit cards) and barcodes. This sounds like a lot for a tablet to do but Tangent offers products that are not only fully featured themselves, but come built to survive harsh conditions and falls, and are also accessorized to suit many types of business needs.

 

Tangent’s industrial tablet PC, the R10, is encased with a durable and highly protective enclosure with rubber on the corners that also keeps the back of the case from getting scratched when the tablet is laid down flat. The industrial PC is tested to withstand drops from a distance of four feet up. Being jostled around a bit will not damage the internals as there are no moving parts; the PC is built with a fanless design to ensure extreme reliability and a noise-free operation. These details certainly come in handy when working outdoors, or when less-than-careful hands are swinging it around. The casing of the industrial PC is rated IP65 on the back panel and IP64 on the front panel against dust ingress and water spray. The USB ports are also covered to protect against contamination from dirt and liquids.

 

The processing unit of the industrial PC is no wimp, either. The tablet comes equipped with an Intel 3rd Gen Core i7 processor and up to 480 GB of solid state storage. This harks back to the point about there being no moving parts in the industrial PC. Up to 8GB of memory is also offered for the industrial tablet PC. Wireless and bluetooth capabilities come standard on the unit, as well as integrated audio and speakers. Another great feature for customization is F1 & F2 programmable keys for quick access to common commands.

 

And let’s talk about the accessories! The optional combo data input accessory offers a smart card, MSR, and fingerprint reader, along with capabilities for RFID and a barcode reader. This means one could scan an item and then accept payment for it. Of course, this is easier done when the tablet is stationary, so the industrial PC also has an optional desktop charging stand. If you find that a stand is unnecessary and want a smaller charging option, the included standard power module provides a non-intrusive power input for the unit and an added USB port. The many add-ons to the R10 industrial PC make it a beautifully versatile tool for a great range of computing needs.

Invisible Threats

Invisible Threats

Invisible Threats

Hospital equipment often is advertised as being antimicrobial, but how is it possible for a LCD monitor or tablet computer to ward off pathogens in a medical setting without being wiped down with disinfectants all the time? It seems odd for a collection of plastics and wires to promote any sort of health benefits, but medical advancements and information technology have long gone hand in hand. Antimicrobial additives can now be blended into plastic surfaces during the manufacturing process to provide lasting protection from microbes, harmful bacteria, mold, fungi and viruses. This minimizes the risk of the spread of infection, staining, smells, and material degradation. When you take into account that hospital associated infections have caused more than 100,000 deaths in the United States, it’s no wonder that great efforts are made to sterilize every surface possible.

Another benefit of antimicrobial plastic is that the additives have been tested to last for the expected lifetime of the treated product, like Tangent’s Medical LCD monitors. Once infused into plastic, antimicrobial additives don’t leech from the surface, cause discoloration or affect the clarity of the plastic. This ensures that the equipment can be confidently kept in medical spaces to keep patients safe for years without degrading the quality of the device. Every Tangent Touch Screen Medical LCD monitor comes factory treated with an antimicrobial additive to battle surface contamination. The 22” Medical LCD monitor also has an IP65 rated front panel, which means it’s rated as dust tight and protected against water projected from a nozzle. One doesn’t expect a random hose to be shooting water around a hospital, but strange things are known to happen. Actually, this provides a very beneficial added layer of cleanliness to the LCD monitor. The monitor can be easily cleaned and wiped down with no chance of damaging it’s internal components or adversely affecting its touch screen capabilities.  

Microbes and bacteria are a threat that is naked to the eye, and yet another invisible and potentially hazardous peril can arise from electronics in a medical setting. Before 1977, there was no standard for safety on medical equipment and electric shocks and shorts were commonplace. Since then the EN 60601-1 family of standards was developed. Its scope covers the safety, essential performance and electromagnetic compatibility of medical electrical equipment and related systems. Tangent’s Touch Screen Medical LCD is certified EN 60601 and is compliant with CDC guidelines. Painstaking measures are taken to ensure that these LCD monitors are safe, sanitary, and effective in a medical space. It’s VESA 75 mounting capability allows for affixing the LCD monitor to an arm, point-of-care cart, or stand.

Pair this sleek LCD monitor with one of Tangent’s antimicrobial, waterproof keyboards, and a rugged, fanless PC to truly experience a long-lasting, dependable, hygienic computer system. There is enough to worry about in a hospital settings without having to consider whether your computer components are making patients unwell or spreading dust and spores.

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Fanless Computers: Progress in Silence and Longevity

Fanless Computers: Progress in Silence and Longevity

Prior to the mid 70s, computers were typically very large industrial or commercial machines, often housed in a dedicated room with an equally sized cooling system. Noise was not a notable issue for users because the computers were isolated industrial devices, viewed much like any other heavy duty machinery. The first personal/home computers that emerged in the 80s were quite low in power and could be run fanless, or with a low-speed fan that was used to cool only the power supply. However, as technology evolved and CPU clock speeds increased, the internals of computers started heating up and cooling was accomplished using a fan over the CPU heatsink, blowing air directly onto the processor. More years progressed and more fans were added to cases to provide cooling where heat dissipation was needed most, now including high powered graphics cards and power supplies.

Computer cases increasingly needed more fans to extract heat and this invariably meant more noise and potential for failure. Where there is air circulation, there a huge chance of dust and particle buildup. A normal ceiling fan is an excellent example; left long enough without a cleaning, massive amounts of dust will gather on the blades naturally. Similarly, computer cases are a magnet to collections of dust and contaminants that collect in the case and negate any cooling effects the fans may have. At some point, the fan is overworked and fails or the heat buildup causes other components to fail.

The claim to the world’s first noiseless and fanless computer case came in 2004 with Zalman’s Totally No Noise (TNN) series.  This case was large, heavy, and expensive, but soon other manufacturers were following suit in developing and improving on fanless computers for quieter, dust-free operation. The demand for fanless and cleaner computers was clearly seen from the public. It’s been a long evolution to get fanless computers to meet performance needs, maintain a cool environment, and also be cost-effective, but Tangent’s line of rugged fanless PCs hits the mark at every point.

Take the Tangent Rugged G mini PC for example; it was designed to handle 12, 19, or 24V DC system power input and wide temperature operation, making ideal for dedicated video display or mobile computing. The Rugged G’s fanless design is essential for dusty environments.The fanless computer case is sturdy and has a fin-like surface that dissipates heat from the inside. The tested operating temperature on the Rugged G is 14°F to an incredible 131°F (-10° – 55°C). With no moving parts and an excellent performance record, the days of dust bunnies clogging up pivotal and expensive computer parts are long gone. The unit comes with a VESA 75/100 adapter plate and wall mounting brackets, offering a multitude of installation options on any work surface. A wide range of connectivity options also comes standard on this Rugged fanless computer. It is equipped with 4 COM ports, 6 USB ports, a Digital I/O port, and can be set up with optional Intel Wireless AC-7260 and Bluetooth. The desire for and development of noiseless, dustless, fanless computers have long been in play, but Tangent certainly has perfected their craft in the business.

 

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Shaping up Shipping and Receiving : One Panel PC at a Time

Shaping up Shipping and Receiving : One Panel PC at a Time

Staying on top of technological advancements for shipping and receiving operations is important for a good number of reasons, but the most pivotal are business process improvement for increased revenue, and ensuring safety in the workplace. E-commerce is greatly driving the need for detailed warehouse dock data as more businesses ship direct to customers. Online shoppers have grown accustomed to same-day delivery and real-time visibility into an order’s status.The shipping industry is now able to be centered around speed and accuracy while maintaining a safe work environment due to specialized computers like vehicle mounted PCs, handheld tablets catered to industrial use, and industrial panel PCs.

 

The majority of warehouse dock work and shipping processes rely on barcodes to identify and track the movement of inventory, and RFID and Geofencing (using GPS) are gaining popularity for tracking as well, so flexibility is important for the computer systems in use. Tangent has a variety of panel PCs to suit these ever-evolving needs of business. The Vita KW series fanless panel PCs offer a 2D barcode scanner, IC card reader, MSR, and RFID capabilities. Because screen size requirements vary for industrial settings, the Vita KWs come in 15”, 19”, 22”, and 24” touchscreen sizes. The Tangent F15 industrial grade panel PC can be equipped with a 3G module and with a GPS module. In terms of power and capacity, the Vita KW’s are equipped with Intel 6th Gen Core i3/i5 processors (except the 24”), up to two terabytes of storage, and 8GB of memory. In addition to robust computing speed, the systems are fanless and contain no moving parts, which is a huge benefit for enterprises looking to reduce downtime. Supply chain is all about streamlining and adhering to strict schedules, so a reliable and durable system is key.

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For forklift operators, vehicle-mounted industrial panel computers are usually the most productive and operationally safe option. Working a computer while operating a lift truck obviously carries some inherent risk. The aforementioned F15 model rugged tablet has ten programmable function keys on the front panel that allow for one-hand operation and efficiency for repetitive processes. The F15 Panel PC is also flexible in its mounting options. It has VESA 75/100 mounting capabilities for a number of applications, including in vehicles and forklifts. Another point of safety on the Tangent industrial panel PCs is that they are built to be IP65 or higher rated to protect against water and contaminant ingress into the system.  And who doesn’t love a bold safety orange on a tablet casing?

 

As businesses and consumers push for faster processing and more accurate data, flexible and customizable computing solutions from Tangent continue to provide the highest of quality and efficiency to its customers. The many panel PCs offered can be mounted in shop vehicles, on walls,  telescoping arms, or on stands. They can be configured for wifi, scanning/tracking technologies, and multi-touch features. They can withstand the wear and tear of a warehouse environment and the varying temperatures that might be encountered in them all over the globe.

 

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Medical LCD Monitors

Medical LCD Monitors

The CDC largely cites government agency regulations and the Spaulding Classification Scheme when determining recommendations for maintaining a safe medical environment regarding the cleanliness of equipment involved with or in the vicinity of treatment. In the early 90’s, OSHA (the Occupational Health and Safety Administration) enacted a standard called “Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens.” The intent was to eliminate or at least minimize occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens. A major component of the standard is that all equipment, environmental, and working surfaces be thoroughly cleaned and decontaminated with a disinfectant after contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials. Another 90’s study expanded this and the Spaulding scheme by dividing noncritical environmental surfaces into housekeeping surfaces and medical equipment surfaces. Medical equipment surfaces, which includes computer equipment like medical LCD monitors, can become contaminated with infectious agents and contribute to the spread of pathogens. For this reason, it was noted that noncritical medical equipment surfaces should be disinfected with an EPA-registered low- or intermediate-level disinfectant.

 

With so many regulations, treatises, and recommendations in place, it’s very important to utilize equipment that will both keep patients safe and maintain a compliant standing. Medical LCD monitors are no exception to these rules. Not only is the Tangent 22” Medical LCD monitor EN60601-Certified to be compliant with CDC guidelines, it is also IP65 certified against water, dirt, and dust ingress. One could shoot low pressure water jets directly at the front panel of the unit and it would continue to function normally.

 

The medical LCD monitor can be cleaned, disinfected and wiped down without any threat of damaging internal components. The monitor is a true flat capacitive multi touch screen, which makes it capability to be so thoroughly washed and sanitized all the more impressive. Tangent also took into consideration that many surfaces are naturally a microbial and pathogenic cesspool, so they ensured that the casing of their medical LCD monitor is factory treated with an antimicrobial additive to battle surface contamination.

 

And since Tangent is so keen on being in line with standards, their medical LCD monitors are VESA 75 compliant for standard mounting to a number of things like a pivoting monitor arm or point-of-care cart. Other certifications the medical LCD monitors carry are FCC Class A, which classifies them as  a product marketed for commercial or industrial use, and CE certification, which indicates conformity with health, safety, and environmental protection standards for products sold within the European Economic Area (EEA). Compliance with regulatory measures are one of the highest priorities for Tangent on their medical LCD monitors and all of their other quality medical grade systems.  

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Touchscreen Computers –  Touching on a Future of Self-Service

Touchscreen Computers –  Touching on a Future of Self-Service

Over the last couple decades, self service technologies have revolutionized how people conduct business, travel and even receive healthcare services.These technologies have vastly improved efficiency through increased control over service delivery, convenience, reduction in wait time, reduction in operating costs, and flexibility in use. At many restaurants, dozens of flavors of sodas can be mixed and dispensed at the touch of a screen, and ordering one’s own food on tablets is an increasingly popular trend. Shopping malls and corporate offices provide interactive directories to its visitors, and it is nearly impossible to encounter any ticketing area of an airport that is not brimming with touchscreen kiosks for checking in and getting flight information. Self-service touchscreen computers are appearing in hospitals in great numbers as well. Patients are checking into their appointments without the help of medical administrators which is streamlining administrative tasks like hospital registration and payments.

 

Touchscreen computer technology is widely available and the demand for it is extremely apparent, but how durable are these machines that are abused on a daily basis? After all, a solution is only effective if it is reliable. Luckily, industrial touchscreen computers like the ones offered by Tangent benefit from a durable and rigorously tested construction. Tangent’s S Series of 15″, 19″, and 22″ touchscreen computers are assembled with rugged, stainless steel housing  that offers a corrosion resistant surface. The standard casing is IP66/NEMA 4x rated, which means the enclosure is constructed for either indoor or outdoor use and provides a degree of protection against dirt, rain, snow, windblown dust, splashing water, hose-directed water, and corrosion. The S series also has an optional IP69K rated enclosure which means that high pressure and high temperature washdown can be used to sanitize the equipment. Of course this is likely overkill for most applications, but it’s nice to know the equipment can handily be subjected to such a powerful scrub and high heat without experiencing any damage.

 

One of the better advancements in touchscreen technology is Projected Capacitive Touch, also known as PCAP. The first capacitive touchscreen required a bare finger to use and could not allow for multi-touch, but now PCAP touchscreens offer high precision multi-touch functionality and high response speed. They also work when operated by a hand covered in surgical gloves or other thin gloves, which is essential in a hospital or industrial settings. The S series offers this PCAP as an option on all sizes of their touchscreen PCs. And like with many of Tangent’s industrial products, the unit is rated for shock protection and has a fanless design for extreme reliability, and noise-free operation. For an added measure of autonomy and utility, the S series can be equipped with Intel Wireless AC-7260 & Bluetooth for a relatively wire-free system. The efficiencies that touchscreen computers provide are nearly boundless, and with such reliable systems available, companies are able to utilize them to their full potential.

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Consumer Grade vs. Medical Grade Displays

The importance of selecting Medical Grade Displays for your Healthcare Application

Although there is a wide availability of display solutions to meet the demands of hospital and diagnostic requirements, not every solution can provide the quality, consistency, or longevity necessary for successful operation and patient satisfaction. Hospital staff often do a double take when they see the price tag for medical grade displays, and then the obvious question rears its head: what is the difference between consumer grade and high-end medical grade displays? While medical-grade displays are recognized for providing higher quality screens compared to to consumer-grade alternatives, advances in commercial off-the-shelf display technology paired along with lower prices have understandably drawn the attention of many health care professionals. Is there really a noticeable difference between the two? Much debate has surrounded the issue, but the answer comes down to a solid confirmation that, yes, there are discernible and important differences.  

 

For one, medical grade monitors display more colors, about one billion colors compared to the consumer version that displays maybe around 16 million at best. Although the human eye is limited in how many colors it can see, providing more colors allows for greater accuracy, and doctors and surgeons use precise coloration-based assertions in medical procedures or when making a diagnosis. A minute difference is shades can make all the difference.  Another major difference between medical and consumer grade displays is the automation of the backlighting system, also known as the luminosity. Medical displays have a closed-loop control circuit to maintain stable luminance from cold start to full operational temperature. A medical display’s automated system can continuously adjust the desired peak luminance several times a second. On a consumer grade monitor, one has to use the brightness control to adjust luminosity which is manually set without any reference to a correct level of luminance.  A commercial display requires an unreasonable amount of manual calibration to provide the same consistency of a medical display. Another point of distinction is that the average certified medical display’s life span is generally rated to be four times longer than that of consumer displays.

So when considering all the factors of longevity, automated luminosity, and brilliant accuracy, a medical grade display is still miles and away more beneficial and cost effective compared to a consumer grade display. Tangent offers a 22″ Medical LCD monitor featuring a 16:9 aspect ratio widescreen display with PCAP 2-point touch screen, IP65 front panel and an antimicrobial enclosure. This medical display is certified with the EN/IEC 60601-1 standard of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Health Care Facilities Code (NFPA 99), under which monitors used within a patient care vicinity can’t exceed leakage current levels of 100 microamps or more. With VESA 75 mounting, this 22″ Medical LCD display can easily be installed in a variety of healthcare environments and still maintain the quality and performance expected of a professional medical device. It’s very easy to be attracted to good prices and promises of quality, but true professional and health-oriented clients require the assurance and certified superiority of medical grade displays.