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.
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.
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.
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.