So, what exactly is Rugged ?
What’s rugged ? What does that mean in mobile computing ? From user’s point of view, ruggedness is the device’s ability to withstand the harshest working environments and remain operational, but not for just one mission, for the whole lifespan of a unit, which can easily reach 2-5 years if not more than that.
However, depending on the type of environment the specific “ruggedized” device is exposed to. what is considered rugged for one type of mission, isn’t rugged at all for another type. For example, a mobile terminal in a warehouse environment is likely to get dropped often and may get exposed to dust, but unlikely to get exposed to rain or extreme temperatures. On the other hand, a woodchuck will need a unit that is protected against mud, water, often humidity and air pressure changes, but probably won’t be very concerned about dust.
The correct tool for the job
A mobile computer / smartphone / terminal is a tool to help an employee do their work. So our first priority is to help you find the right tools for the job. A wise procurement officer will carefully evaluate all the aspects of work environment the unit is going to be exposed to, then learn the product specifications to find the unit, rugged enough to withstand the needed criteria. Choosing a device that has higher ruggedness than needed for the current job, as better having a device that is too rugged than one that isn’t rugged enough, because you might at some point encounter conditions of higher severity than was originally predicted.
Definitions of RUGGED
The ruggedness level of the device is best defined by it’s environmental specifications, the 3 main and most common specifications are:
- Temperature range
- MIL-STD-810G (Military standard testing)
- IP Rating
These specifications should always be listed on the data sheet for rugged device.
Temperature specifications define device’s ability to maintain normal operation within the specified temperature ranges, going beyond the specified temperature ranges, may disrupt normal functionality and/or damage the device.
MIL-STD-810G is a United States defense standard. The equipment must pass a series of various environmental tests to prove it’s qualified to the standard and will survive in the field. These tests were especially designed to evaluate military equipment, but lately these assessments are also used to evaluate civilian equipment, including smartphones, tablets, laptops and other types of computers.
IP stands for Ingress Protection. IP rating is used to specify the level of protection of electronic equipment from solid particles (Dust) and liquids. In other words, it informs us of under what circumstances the device will remain operational. It’s also compliant with international standard IEC 60529.
MIL-STD-810G is based on around 29 laboratory testing methods, these tests cover huge range of environmental evaluations, like high altitude and ability to survive mechanically induced shock. No mobile terminal ever been through all the evaluation levels, moreover, many of the test doesn’t even apply to mobile computing. The most common evaluations, that every rugged device should pass to be called rugged are: Temperature (3 tests), Contamination by Fluids, Rain, Humidity, Sand and Dust, Immersion (IP68+), Vibration, Shock and Mechanical Vibrations, it there are more tests that the device successfully passed, this device would be considered super rugged. For example, our most rugged devices like Runbo K1, Runbo P12, AGM X2, Conquest S8 and S11 passed overall between 8 to 10 MIL-STD-810G methods.
The Ingress Protection (IP) – How much protection do you need?
Ingress protection ratings are displayed as a 2 digit number following the IP abbreviation. The first digit describes the level of protection against dust, while the second reflects the level of protection against water.
|First digit Protection against dust||Second digit Protection against water|
|0: No protection||0: No protection|
|1: Protection against solids up to 50 mm||1: Protected against dripping water|
|2: Protection against solids up to 12 mm||2: Protected against dripping water (tilted)|
|3: Protection against solids up to 2.5 mm||3: Protected against water spray|
|4: Protection against solids up to 1 mm||4: Protected against splashing water|
|5: Protection against dust; limited ingress||5: Protected against water jets|
|6: Totally protected against dust||6: Protected against a nozzle under pressure|
|7: Protected against immersion (1 meter for 30 min)|
|8: Protected against submersion (at depth, under pressure)|
As seen on the chart, there are 7 main levels for dust protection 0 – 6 and 9 mainly used levels for liquid protection 0 – 8, where 0 is no protection and 7 or 8 is the highest level of protection. All the devices that Industrial One is supplying to it’s customers, carries protection levels of IP65, 67 and 68.
For example, Runbo K1 has IP rating of 67, which means that the device is fully dust-proof and is capable of immersion under water for a period of 30 minutes and up to 1 meter depth, unit like that will be an excellent choice in dusty or dirty environment, or where dropping the device into water or other type of liquid is a high possibility. On the other hand, other devices that only have protection level of IP54 are only partially protected to withstand dust and water and should never be fully immersed.
If smartphone terminal with protection rating of IP67 can be immersed under water, what is IP68 is all about? The difference is that while device rated IP67 can be 1 meter under water for a period of 30 minutes, usually true IP68 can survive in 1.5 meter depth for the same 30 minutes.
Rugged smartphones for rough environments
Knowing the basic aspect of rugged devices will provide invaluable assistance while choosing the right device for your business or for yourself.