A major new feature added to these new Panel PC ranges is the multi-touch support, with touch-sensitive glass displays, making them intuitively easy to use. Another attractive feature is their updated industrial design in a widescreen format providing a smooth, edgeless display. Kontron’s new Panel PCs will become employed as shop-floor systems in processing industries such as the chemicals and pharmaceutical sectors, food and beverages, and the power sector, plus sophisticated machines and plants or factories and facility management. In short, they are destined to be used whenever machine and plant operators feel the need to have convenient Panel PC systems to improve monitoring and managing all their production processes.
The two lines of Panel PCs have a particularly high amount of intuitive gesture control, as allowing users to rotate and zoom complex visualizations with two fingers, or swipe to scroll through lists of data. These actions can be carried out with great precision due to the highly touch-sensitive design. Their widescreen format also increases the size of the display by one-third, allowing more space for gesture control and visualization. Utilizing the Panel PCs in a portrait format allows for a complete virtual keyboard to be shown in the lower part of the screen, therefore removing an actual keyboard from the unit resulting in space and cost savings.
While both newly introduced Panel PCs offer the forementioned features, they also serve dedicated roles depending on the customer requirements. The feature-sets are related to their performance, size of the displays, and interfaces provided. The Kontron Panel PC Micro Client 3 family, based on the Intel Atom processor D2550 with two 1.86 GHz cores and up to 4GBs of DDR3 memory, covers the mid-range performance class and is fitted with all the standard interfaces, including support for wireless LAN communication. It is equipped with a 15.6 display, with 10 and 17 displays scheduled for future release. The Kontron OmniClient can be scaled from 15.6 to 22 and provides a broader range of interfaces, as well as, considerably more multicore performance based on the second generation Intel Core i5/i7 processors, which have up to four 2.7 GHz cores and as much as 16 GBs of DDR3 memory.
The feature sets in detail
Both lines of Panel PCs have a projected capacitive touch widescreen made of glass and a range of interfaces matched to industrial needs. The Kontron Micro Client 3 features 2x Gigabit Ethernet, 2x USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0, 1x RS232, a graphical output (DVI, DP) for a secondary display and several further options, e.g. CAN, WiFi and RFID. The Kontron OmniClient comes standard with a larger feature set which includes: 3x Gigabit Ethernet, 2x Display Port, DVI-I and 6x USB 2.0. Optionally, the OmniClient can be extended to include: eighteen GPIOs, as well as two serial ports that can be configured as RS232/485/422 or CAN Bus. Further options include WiFi, WiFi with Bluetooth and RFID. For application-specific expansions the Kontron Micro Client 3 offers a single mini PCIe socket while the Kontron OmniClient features two mini PCIe slots and one PCIe x16 slot. Data storage media may be connected using a SATA connector suitable for 2.5 media. The Kontron OmniClient also integrates up to two 3.5 SATA hard drives. Both the Kontron Micro Client 3 and OmniClient lines additionally support rugged and small-sized flash memory devices by way of a mSATA connector. Besides being fitted with a projected capacitive touch widescreen made of glass, the Kontron Micro Client 3 is also being produced in a 4:3 format with resistive touch technology for display sizes 10.4 to 17. To ensure high-reliability and freedom from maintenance, Kontron employs only high-quality components, such as gold capacitors used as BIOS-level voltage buffers and LED backlighting with a service life of at least 50,000 hours. Each front panel has an IP65 protection rating against dust and humidity.
Pre-production models of Kontron’s CE and UL certified Panel PCs will be available as of Q1/2013. Series production is due to begin as of Q2/2013. Windows XP, Windows 7, and embedded Linux operating systems are all supported. Window 8 is available on the Kontron OmniClient.