A rugged device should not only be able to operate within a tough environment once but for the whole life of the device, which is typically three to five years. Depending on the kind of challenges, the definition of specific ruggedness needs can vary from person to person.
A variety of challenges
A mobile computer that operates in a warehouse will probably hit the ground a few times and also face a lot of dust. It will most likely not be exposed to rain or extreme temperatures. A forester, on the other hand, working in all kinds of weather probably needs a unit that is protected against water and can handle extreme temperatures.
So, in general, you should find the right tool for the job. A smart purchaser first identifies what their device will be exposed to and then digs into the product specifications to determine which units will satisfy those requirements. It is also wise to go for a unit that is slightly more rugged than you actually need since you never can fully predict every condition you may encounter.
Three vital rugged specifications
The three most commonly-used ruggedness specs include:
- IP – IP-ratings are displayed as a two-digit number. The first digit reflects the level of protection against dust and has a scale that goes from zero to six, whilst the second digit reflects the level of protection against liquids (water) and has a scale that goes from zero to eight. Zero on both scales means no protection at all, while the highest number (six) on the scale of the first digit means total protection against dust. The highest number (eight) on the scale of the second digit means protection against submersion (at depth, under pressure, for a stated period of time).
- MIL-STD-810G – The military standard MIL-STD-810G contains 24 laboratory test methods that cover a wide range of environments. The tests also measure obligations such as the ability to perform at high altitudes and ability to survive mechanically induced shocks.There is no mobile computer that has been tested to all 24 methods since many of the tests not apply to mobile computing. However, the more methods tested and passed, the more rugged the unit is.
- Temperature range – The temperature specs of a device defines its operational temperature range and its storage temperature range. For example, a device might not work if it is being used when the temperature is above or below a specified minimum or maximum.
Let these specs be a useful tool when picking out the best unit for your specific situation. If you need more personal guidance or have any questions regarding ruggedness, feel free to Contact Us at any time.