Armagard Blog

What it takes to make computers watertight in washdown facilities

Posted by Daniel Waldron on Feb 8, 2016 9:00:00 AM


The old school way of keeping computers watertight in washdown facilities is to section them off in some out of the way, makeshift office. Instead, what if you could make computers watertight, ready for use in your washdown facility?

You want watertight computers on the shop floor of your washdown facility to improve operational procedures. Great idea. But you’re chained to the old way of keeping computer equipment free from water damage, unsure of how to introduce computers to the shop floor given the number of risk factors involved.

That’s bad. Although understandable, it’s impractical because you’re holding back your computer equipment from where it needs to be - at the hub of the shop floor. The result? Staff constantly trudging backwards and forwards to input data or print a label, which has a knock-on effect on productivity.

There is a better way. What if you could bring your current computer equipment to the shop floor seamlessly and keep them watertight? Then you’d be able to improve the efficiency of your shop floor. Better still, you’re simplifying shop floor responsibilities for your staff.

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The importance of keeping computers watertight

Don’t think making computers watertight is essential? Think again. You’ve probably heard of Hewlett Packard. Well, a recent case study revealed a problem they had with water and a number of key computer systems. Their Atlanta computer center business was jeopardized by one, four-inch water main on the 7th floor of the building.

Several days of single digit temperatures had caused the water main to freeze and blow off an end plug. It took just 25 minutes for a huge volume of water to pour in through walls and ceilings, threatening key computer equipment.

Water had become trapped beneath elevated floors and in cable runs. In some cases, water had penetrated equipment from above. Thankfully, Hewlett Packard managed to resolve the situation, but it cost them huge amounts of time and money. However, it could have been avoided.

What does this have to do with washdown facilities and the shop floor? It emphasises that even if you position your equipment away from the shop floor, water damage is still a threat. All it takes is a burst pipe. At least when you introduce computers to the shop floor of a washdown facility, you can do so fully prepared.

Keeping computers watertight on the shop floor – what you need

Had Hewlett Packard invested in waterproof computer enclosures, concerns about water damage to vital computer systems following their water mishap would have been non-existent. However, hindsight is a wonderful thing. At least you can equip your computers for shop floor use where water is a potential damage threat.

Crucial to your needs, waterproof enclosures offer you more than watertight computer protection, they are a means of improving shop floor efficiency for years to come.

What you need to know for identifying the right enclosure for your washdown facility is that expertly engineered enclosures will provide an Ingress Protection (IP) or NEMA rating, specifying the level of protection that they provide against water and other elements harmful to computers.


Waterproof computer enclosures specifying an IP or NEMA rating are what washdown facilities should opt for.

The IP rating is the standard, European classification system used by CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) to describe the level of protection provided by an enclosure of electrical equipment. The rating system consists of the letters IP followed by two numbers, for example IP56.

NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) ratings are the United States equivalent of IP ratings and consist of the letters NEMA followed by a number, for example NEMA 4.

As a rule of thumb, we recommend avoiding suppliers offering products that do not carry an IP or NEMA rating.

Unfortunately, cheap imitations do exist claiming to keep computers watertight and dust free.

But be warned, buy these and you get what you pay for. Products not carrying an IP or NEMA rating used in washdown facilities will compromise shop floor safety. Because they’re not watertight, the chances of an electrical fire are significantly increased.

Equally, we don’t recommend building an enclosure yourself as the integrity of a self-build unit cannot be guaranteed.

At the end of the day, anything other than a waterproof industrial computer enclosure potentially compromises staff safety and the shop floor of your washdown facility.

An enclosure will cover all the bases that need covering to bring much needed computer equipment to the shop floor, without the hassle of alternative solutions

Simply put, an enclosure maintains staff safety - perhaps even improving it – provides computer protection for up to 10 years or more and improves shop floor efficiency.

Watertight computer enclosures represent continuous value for money. What’s more, you don’t have to sacrifice your current computer equipment, you can utilise it.

These are just some of the headaches you can avoid when introducing waterproof computer enclosures to the shop floor of your washdown facility:

1. Computer damage caused by water, which would otherwise lead to hefty repair or replacement costs and downtime costing your company financially. In a worst case scenario, deadlines get missed and your reputation suffers.

2. Poor productivity. Having to stash your computers in some out-of-the-way, makeshift office is inefficient. Granted it might only be minutes or even seconds saved by having watertight computers on the shop floor, but every little helps.

3. Scrapping your current computer system. You don’t have the headache of having to ditch your current computer equipment to pay for specialist kit that could afford you a decent holiday.

Not only is it costly to buy specialist equipment, it’s costly to your shop floor. Take it from us, you don’t need the disruption. Plus, you avoid getting locked into maintenance contracts to service or repair specialist kit that can only be carried out by the manufacturer.

4. Lengthy cleaning processes. Watertight computer enclosures make your cleaning processes shorter, too.

Get this, some enclosures can withstand a jet washing. Your staff probably don’t look forward to a lengthy cleaning process at the end of a hard-working day, so at least the clean down of computers isn’t too taxing and it’s probably a little more fun with a jet washer

Ultimately, you should think of a waterproof computer enclosure not as an investment in waterproofing your computers, but protecting your entire operational process. They combat against downtime to keep your production processes progressive.

Make your computers watertight ready for washdown use, today

There’s so much more that making computers watertight can do for your business. Download the essential guide and improve shop floor productivity in your workplace.

Shop floor productivity

Topics: watertight computers, washdown facilities, waterproof computer, waterproof industrial computer enclosure, waterproof computer enclosures, industrial computer enclosure

improve manufacturing productivity

Manufacturing floor computer intergration

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