Standing the test of time - 30 years of making computers for Zones 1 and 2

HMi Elements has given an insight into its successful longevity making computers for the world’s leading oil and gas companies over the past 30 years. During this time, the UK and Houston-based company has been the leading manufacturer of Zone 1 and 2-approved computers standing the test of time while many other firms have entered but left the sector.

This is due primarily to HMi Elements’ ability to continually create innovative products to make life easier for those working on rigs and in refineries while having capacity to manage a highly stringent, on-going compliance process.

Due to the extremely hazardous environments the computers are used, each machine has to undergo rigorous testing and auditing to receive the necessary certification before they can leave HMi Elements’ specialist manufacturing plant.

Each notifying body that issues certification, including ATEX, IECEx, AEx and CSA, carry out regular audits, often monthly, and nearly all are unannounced to ensure the highest of standards.

But before HMi Elements can even start making computers, it requires a licence that is only granted if it holds Quality Assurance Notification and a Quality Audit Report.

This is audited every 15 months by Norwegian based company Presafe and HMi Elements also has to be ISO9001 certified which is checked annually.

Every product leaving HMi Elements must then be manufactured in accordance with the design which has been certified.

Central to HMi Elements’ success is innovation that covers design and aesthetics all while enhancing the user experience.

This allows it to create products that push the boundaries in terms of performance with HMi Elements’ latest model (1301-Z1) a case in point with it being the industry’s first field maintainable Zone 1 computer.

Innovation sees design features such as glove-friendly touchscreen controls and unique edge-to-edge glass with a high resolution 1,000-nit display allowing it to be used in even the brightest of sunlight.

Such technological advancements dramatically improve functionality for users while having high visual appeal.

Howard Gould, Chief Executive at HMi Elements, said: “Our class-leading products have stood the test of time; we’ve been at the forefront of hazardous area computer innovation since 1989.

“So many companies have entered the market in our 30 years but subsequently have left once the realisation sets in that it is very tough to innovate, create and comply all while making sure the computers communicate and make a significant difference.

“Our customers - some of the world’s leading oilfield services companies - understand that buying cheaper products is a false economy because they don’t have our level of reliability, quality or innovation.

“Our products are an investment that always pays dividends over many years, not a quick, cheap fix that then need replacing a year or so later.

“We never set out to be the cheapest, only the best, in the knowledge that low cost is rarely the least expensive.”

HMi Elements also offers a degree of bespoke options including branding products with the customer’s name and logo, offering a very wide choice of connector options and different mounts specific to how the PCs will be used in the field.