9 Essential Tips for Choosing the Perfect Industrial Panel PC

Selecting the right industrial panel PC for your specific application and environment is a critical decision that can significantly impact your operations. With the myriad options available, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. However, by carefully evaluating your needs and understanding the key factors to consider, you can confidently choose an industrial panel PC that will deliver reliable performance and long-term value. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the 9 most important considerations to help you navigate the selection process and make an informed decision.

1. Evaluate the Operating Environment

One of the first steps in choosing an industrial panel PC is to assess the environmental conditions it will face. Industrial settings can expose the PC to a wide range of challenges, including:

  • Extreme temperatures (high heat or cold)
  • Humidity and moisture
  • Dust, dirt, and other particulates
  • Vibration and shock
  • Chemical exposure

Look for a panel PC with the appropriate ingress protection (IP) rating for your environment. IP65 or higher is often necessary for harsh industrial settings to protect against dust and liquid intrusion. A wide operating temperature range is also crucial, especially for outdoor or unconditioned spaces. For example, the Cincoze Crystal series offers panel PCs with an operating range of -40°C to 70°C.

In addition, consider features like fanless cooling to prevent dust buildup and anti-vibration mounting for high-vibration areas. The Maple Systems Ultrawide series includes fanless panel PCs with a rugged aluminum chassis for demanding environments.

2. Determine Performance Requirements

Assessing the processing power, memory, and storage needs of your application is key to selecting a panel PC that can handle the workload efficiently. Consider questions like:

  • What software will the panel PC need to run?
  • How many users will it support simultaneously?
  • What volume of data will it process?
  • Are there any graphics-intensive tasks?

Based on these requirements, look for a panel PC with an Intel processor that offers the right balance of cores, threads, clock speed, and thermal design power (TDP) for your needs. Options range from efficient Intel Atom CPUs for basic tasks up to powerful Intel Core i7 processors for demanding applications.

Also, ensure the system has sufficient RAM (8GB or more for most industrial uses) and solid-state storage for responsive performance and reliability. The LCDSLD Karbon 700 Series offers panel PCs with up to an Intel Core i7 CPU, 32GB RAM, and 1TB SSD storage for high-performance industrial computing.

3. Select the Right Display

The display is the primary interface for operators, so it’s important to choose a panel PC with the right screen characteristics for your application, such as:

  • Size: Consider the available space and typical viewing distance. Sizes range from compact 7″ up to spacious 24″+ for displaying ample information.
  • Resolution: Full HD (1920×1080) is sufficient for most industrial uses, but 4K may be warranted for highly detailed visuals.
  • Brightness: For indoor use, 300-500 nits is typically adequate. For outdoor or sunlight-exposed areas, opt for 1000+ nits.
  • Touchscreen: Resistive touchscreens work well with gloves and in rugged settings, while projected capacitive (PCAP) offers multi-touch and high clarity.
  • Viewing Angle: Ensure consistent visibility from all angles operators may view the screen.

For challenging environments, look for features like optical bondinganti-glare coating, and high-brightness backlighting to maximize readability. The Artech ARP-3200AP-G01 includes a sunlight-readable 1000-nit display with optical bonding and anti-reflection glass for outdoor use.

4. Evaluate Connectivity Options

To integrate your panel PC with other equipment and systems, make sure it has the necessary ports and connectivity options:

  • USB: Multiple USB 3.0+ ports for peripherals like keyboards, scanners, and cameras.
  • Ethernet: Gigabit Ethernet for high-speed networking, with optional PoE for single-cable installations.
  • Serial: Legacy RS-232/422/485 serial ports for connecting to industrial equipment and PLCs.
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi and cellular (4G/LTE) for remote access and data communication.
  • Fieldbus: Support for protocols like Modbus, Profibus, and Ethernet/IP to interface with industrial automation systems.

For maximum flexibility, consider a panel PC with modular I/O expansion options to add specialized connectivity as needed. The Teguar TP-5045-24 offers multiple expansion slots for add-on I/O cards.

5. Prioritize Reliability and Lifecycle

In industrial settings, reliability is paramount to avoid costly downtime and ensure long-term value from your panel PC investment. Look for key features that enhance reliability:

  • Quality Components: Choose a panel PC from an established vendor known for using high-quality, industrial-grade components.
  • Fanless Design: Eliminates a common failure point and prevents dust/debris intrusion.
  • Solid-State Storage: Offers superior durability compared to spinning hard drives in high-vibration environments.
  • Wide Temperature Range: Ensures reliable operation even in unconditioned or outdoor settings.

Also, consider the product lifecycle and long-term availability of the panel PC. Industrial applications often have longer lifecycles than consumer electronics, so choose a vendor with a track record of supporting products for 5+ years. This ensures you can obtain compatible replacement units or expansion components down the road.

Finally, evaluate the warranty terms and technical support options to keep your system running optimally. Look for vendors offering extended warranties, advance replacement, and responsive support.

6. Consider Mounting and Installation

The specific requirements of your application will dictate the optimal mounting configuration for your panel PC. Key options include:

  • Panel Mount: Flush mounts into a cutout in a control panel or enclosure for a clean, integrated appearance. Ideal for operator terminals and HMIs.
  • VESA Mount: Attaches to a standard VESA mounting pattern for use with wall mounts, stands, or articulating arms. Offers installation flexibility.
  • Rack Mount: Mounts into a standard 19″ equipment rack. Suitable for server room installations or multi-PC deployments.
  • Open Frame: Provides a display and touchscreen without an enclosure for custom OEM applications and kiosk integration.

For harsh environments, look for IP66/IP69K-rated panel PCs that can withstand high-pressure washdowns and resist dust/liquid ingress. The Artech ARP-3200AP-G01 offers a fully sealed, IP69K stainless steel enclosure for food processing and pharmaceutical applications.

7. Plan for Customization and Expansion

Every industrial application is unique, so the ability to customize and expand your panel PC is valuable for achieving an optimal fit. Look for a modular, building-block design that allows you to tailor key aspects:

  • Processing Power: Specify the ideal CPU, memory, and storage for your workload.
  • Connectivity: Select the necessary mix of wired and wireless I/O options.
  • Display: Choose the screen size, brightness, and touchscreen technology you require.
  • Expansion: Add any specialized I/O cards, communication modules, or application-specific components.

A highly configurable panel PC will adapt more readily as your needs evolve, allowing you to add capabilities or boost performance without a complete replacement. This is especially important for regulated industries like food/beverage and pharmaceuticals where validation is costly.

8. Ensure OS Compatibility

The operating system is a critical consideration to ensure compatibility with both your current software and future needs. Key options include:

  • Windows: Offers the broadest compatibility with industrial software and IT management tools. Ideal for general-purpose industrial computing.
  • Linux: Provides a stable, secure, and customizable platform for long lifecycle deployments in industrial automation and IoT applications.
  • Android: Delivers a modern, touch-friendly interface and extensive app ecosystem for HMIs and mobile industrial devices.

When selecting an OS, also consider the long-term support and security update policies to keep your system protected over an extended deployment. For maximum reliability, choose a panel PC with a pre-loaded, vendor-validated OS image to ensure full compatibility with the hardware.

9. Work with a Trusted Partner

With so many factors to evaluate, it’s important to work with an experienced, trusted industrial PC vendor who can guide you to the optimal panel PC for your needs. Look for a partner with:

  • Industry Expertise: Deep knowledge of industrial computing applications and environments.
  • Broad Product Selection: Wide range of panel PCs to fit various use cases and budgets.
  • Customization Capabilities: Ability to tailor solutions for your specific requirements.
  • Strong Support: Responsive pre- and post-sales support to ensure long-term success.

For example, LCDSLD offers a consultative approach, working closely with customers to understand their unique needs and recommend the best-fit panel PC solution from their extensive lineup. LCDSLD is another trusted vendor, offering a wide selection of panel PCs backed by expert technical support.


Choosing the right industrial panel PC requires careful consideration of multiple factors, from performance and environmental suitability to connectivity and lifecycle requirements. By following these 9 essential tips, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed decision:

  1. Evaluate the full range of environmental stressors, including temperature, humidity, and vibration.
  2. Select a CPU, memory, and storage combination that matches your performance needs without over-provisioning.
  3. Choose a display with the optimal size, brightness, and touchscreen for your application.
  4. Ensure the panel PC has the necessary ports and expansion options for your connectivity requirements.
  5. Prioritize reliability by opting for quality components, fanless design, and extended lifecycle support.
  6. Consider your mounting needs and choose a panel PC with the appropriate IP rating and configuration.
  7. Look for a customizable solution that can adapt to your evolving requirements.
  8. Select a well-supported OS that is compatible with your software and security needs.
  9. Partner with an experienced vendor who can provide expert guidance and long-term support.

By investing the time to properly assess your requirements and evaluate the available options, you’ll be able to select an industrial panel PC that reliably powers your application and delivers lasting value. For complex deployments or demanding environments, don’t hesitate to leverage the knowledge of a trusted industrial computing vendor to guide your decision.


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