The Raspberry Pi is an amazing computer for commercial, industrial and hobbyist users alike. It is low cost with a tremendous amount of inputs and outputs allowing you to customise the system to suit your needs. It is frequently used to prototype new products or alternatively, it is often used to create bespoke systems to suits your needs (or make cheaper solutions to expensive niche systems).
The following hats that are available for the RPi are some of our favourite options to use to expand its functionality.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation designed the Sense Hat for use aboard the International Space Station, and if it is good enough for space, it is good enough for any industrial applications on earth. It is compatible with The Pi 1,2 and 3 and provides a full array of sensors including gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, temperature, barometric pressure, and humidity. It also consists of an 8×8 RGB LED matrix, a 5-button joystick, and can be programmed using Python.
PiJuice Mobile Power Platform
If the RPi is used in any mission-critical scenarios, then it is likely you will need it to stay powered upon the event of power loss.
The PiJuice is an uninterruptible mobile power Hat for the Raspberry Pi (all of them), you can, of course, use this purely as a battery so you could deploy the RPi in an environment without power for several hours, even a full day dependant on the battery.
The PiJuice comes equipped with a Motorola Droid 2 1820mAh battery that is purported to supplying power to the Pi 3 for 4 to 6-hours depending on the application.
The battery can be replaced with support for larger Lipo Battery of 5000 or 10,000 mAH+ to provide more power if necessary. The Hat features a pre-soldered header that allows the Pi’s GPIO pins to be accessed from the PiJuice, allowing you to add on additional Hats if needed. An onboard STM32-F0 microcontroller, RTC, and on/off switch offers power-management features, including deep-sleep state, intelligent startup, and soft shut down options.
Pimoroni Automation Hat
If you plan on developing an automated system, then the Pimoroni Automation Hat should be at the top of your list for things to look into.
The Automation Hat offers the ability to control nearly any device up to 24V- including sprinkler systems, fish feeders, blind automation, and lighting systems.
It is outfitted with 3X 24V (2A) relays (NC and No terminals), 3X 12-bit ADCs (up to 24V), 3X 24V tolerant buffered inputs, 3X 24V tolerant sinking outputs, 15 channel LED indicators, and a single 12-bit ADC (0 to 3.3V). It should be noted that the Automation Hat should not be used with switch mains voltages, only those at 24V or less. Like their other Hat offerings, Pimoroni provides links to Python libraries that will help get your automation projects started.
Linkwave The Pilot
If you need to install a RPi in a remote environment with no access to the Internet then the Linkwave is a perfect solution enabling 2G/3G/4G cellular connectivity. This can be used in large industrial warehouses or units where there is either no internet or the WiFi does not reach that far.
Dragino LoRa GPS Hat
If you need to be able to track the location of the RPi for whatever reason this is a great solution. A good example would be for fleet management, you could combine it with the Linkwave and Sense Hat for a fully automated remote management system.
All of the above devices are great for expanding the functionality of the RPi to meet business requirements, but the RPi in its raw form is delicate with exposed electronics on display.
Hitaltech produce a range of enclosures to suit all needs for both industrial and hobbyist markets.
The iTouch STD is a stylish enclosure with a cut-out for a 4.3” TFT display allowing you to develop a bespoke system with a touch interface or visual feedback from all the sensors. Similarly the Modulbox PLC offers similar functionality but as a DIN Rail mounted enclosure.
There are also a wide range of IP rated enclosures which make the RPi suitable for outdoor locations or very dusty locations such as workshop floors.
There is a wide range of handheld enclosures which gives you the opportunity to build an RPI system that can be portable. This would be a perfect solution with the 4G and GPS modules above for fleet management.
Many of the enclosure available through Hitaltech have dedicated RPI variants allowing you to install the RPi with no modifications. There are also enclosures for other embedded platforms.