Self-service technology is all about accessibility. Customers want to access your services any time of the day or year, unfettered by store hours. Outdoor interactive kiosks make good business sense, but electronics and extreme temperatures don’t usually get along. If your project requires an outdoor kiosk that will withstand harsh weather conditions, the engineering team at Advanced Kiosks has just what you are looking for.
Lots of vendors sell outdoor kiosks. Only Advanced Kiosks has the superior engineering and rigorous testing to back our entire outdoor kiosk line with an unmatched 3-year warranty. Thermal testing is just one of the ways we guarantee optimum performance from the touchscreens and computers we select and install in our outdoor kiosks.
Triple Tough: The Right Components, Vendors & Assembly
From sunlight readable monitors to watertight seals, insulation and thermostatically controlled fans, there’s a lot that goes into manufacturing an outdoor touchscreen kiosk that lasts 3 years out in the field. Our Founder and President Howard Horn has been doing electrical packaging for 30 years. “Knowing which components to buy is really half the battle,” he explains. “We go to vendors who we know build those components to last. Finally, you have to put it all together correctly to create a durable product that lasts out in the field.”
Advanced Kiosks is constantly working to improve all our hardware and software. We’re engineers; it’s what we do. Our Enviro Kiosk has been with us a long time, and it’s always getting better. It was designed specifically for extreme climates like Lillooet, British Columbia, which sees everything from subzero to 100° temps.
Every time the Enviro has a major design change, we run it through a battery of tests, the most time-consuming one being thermal testing. The Enviro has seen the most time inside our thermal test chamber, and all that testing has paid off. There are currently a couple hundred Enviro Kiosks in climates all over the world. They experience very few problems, and we’ve never had one returned.
Thermal Testing: Methods and Benefits
Our goal isn’t just to provide you with a rugged, reliable outdoor kiosk. We also want to keep your operating costs down. One of the best ways to do that is to harness as much natural/free heat and cooling as we can. Air flow is key. If you’ve ever lived in a house where you needed to close crawl-space vents in the fall and open them in the spring, you know what we’re talking about.
Our outdoor kiosks use this same controlled venting principle. We call it a thermal dam system. In hot weather, it allows the kiosk to vent internal heat out. In the winter, it retains any heat the electronics generate to help keep the system as warm as it needs to be.
Thermal Testing: Inside the Tent
Once we have an outdoor kiosk model configured just the way we think we want it – chiller, heater, insulation, thermal dam, etc. – it’s time to throw it in the thermal tent. We place eight to ten thermocouples in sensitive areas both inside and outside the kiosk. Thermal testing is all about collecting data. Does our design enable the machine to stay within the kiosk operating range?
Tyler Slock is an Advanced Kiosks engineering assistant earning his degree in mechanical engineering. Tyler often oversees thermal testing. “We are most interested in steady state and the rate of change,” he explains.
This is where Advanced Kiosks’ roots as an engineering design firm shine through. We’re not just a vendor or a reseller; we’re not throwing off-the-shelf parts into a metal box. We design and manufacture computer kiosks, top to bottom, inside and out. We know how to test our hypotheses, prove our theories, and tweak our designs as necessary.
Optimizing Your Outdoor Kiosk Project
In this post, we’ve focused on thermodynamics and how we build outdoor kiosks that can weather extreme climates and temperature swings. But a successful outdoor kiosk implementation requires several additional considerations. Like any kiosk project, you’ll have to determine what you need your kiosk to do, its form and function. Site surveys are especially important to outdoor kiosk installations. Our new Onboarding Service can be particularly helpful. If you’re worried about vandalism, theft or tampering in an unsecured outdoor location, you’ll want to take a look at our tough-as-nails Transit Kiosk.
Outdoor kiosks add a whole new dimension to self-service technology. We know there’s a lot to consider, and it can seem overwhelming. That’s why our technical project consultants are ready and able to guide you through your interactive kiosk project, step by step. You know you can trust our thermal engineering; now let us wow you with our project management expertise!
Written by Amy Robison, contributing author