In the past decade, rugged devices have been getting the recognition it deserves. After all, these powerful tools are made to provide the right solutions to common business mobility issues. Rugged devices have all the functionality of a consumer tablet or mobile phone. In addition, these devices also come with added features that make it possible to work under extreme conditions. In our article today, we will take a look at rugged devices and IP ratings. Furthermore, we will review why rugged mobile devices are great for business use, particularly for companies who require data mobility in harsh work environments.
Defining Rugged Devices and IP Ratings
What is a Rugged Device?
Rugged devices are a type of hardware designed especially to tolerate the harshest environments. For example, exposure to extreme temperatures, shocks, drops, water and dust is no longer a reason for device failures in business. As the access to data is crucial for many businesses across industries, from Logistics to Retail and Construction to Emergency Services, rugged devices have become a solution to downtime and device breakages.
Types of Rugged Devices
Generally, there are three levels of ruggedness: semi-rugged devices, fully-rugged devices, and ultra-rugged devices. These three levels fit according to how much exposure a mobile device can endure:
- Semi-rugged devices – These are an enhanced form of commercial off-the-shelf hardware (COTS). This means that all the parts of the device are the same but are augmented for better protection.
- Fully rugged devices – These devices are designed from the inside out to work in the most extreme conditions. Fully rugged devices are durable, resistant to shocks, drops, vibrations and are waterproof and dustproof. For example, a fully-rugged tablet may have a toughened screen, thicker case, and ultra-resistant hard drive.
- Ultra-rugged devices – These devices are designed specifically for military use. Military-Grade or Military-Standard devices can survive under the most treacherous conditions.
Industries that Benefit from Rugged Devices.
From extreme temperatures to dusty environments, wet conditions, and then back to the office again, rugged devices are inherently built to last. Rugged devices can tolerate a range of hazards including exposure to fluids, extreme vibrations and more.
Rugged devices are becoming increasingly popular across a multitude of industries, allowing for device longevity and greater levels of production without compromising functionality.
Some of the industries that will benefit when using rugged devices are:
- Construction and building
- Warehouse and logistics
- Public sector
- Hospitality and Leisure
- Utilities and Services
Key Benefits of Rugged Devices
Rugged devices play an integral role in many industries, and this is down to durability. In Manufacturing, for example, employees from all operational levels can benefit from being equipped with rugged mobile devices. Tasks such as record keeping, inventory management, customer interaction, communication and even transactions can be handled more efficiently through the use of rugged devices. This is because they can withstand the conditions of the factory, production line or warehouse.
For the Warehouse and Logistics industry, rugged devices are fundamental. Without these IP rated mobile devices, failures and breakages would quickly occur. This would hinder productivity and impact negatively on inventory management. But through the power of rugged and the right set of applications, such processes are made substantially more efficient.
Public Sector use
Those working in the Emergency Services - whether it’s the police, ambulance or fire services - consider rugged mobile devices to be a necessity. When it comes to working in the field of public safety, the availability of critical communication, access to real-time data and durability is key.
No One-Size-Fits-All – About IP Rating
Rugged mobile devices are built to meet more than the minimum standard features that commercial or consumer devices have. Still, not all rugged devices are made the same. A true rugged tablet or mobile phone must be able to demonstrate its durability in both field and laboratory testing. The two methods of testing that determine the “ruggedness” of a device are the MIL-STD-810: Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests and the Ingress Protection (IP) rating system.
- MIL-STD-810 – To be MIL-STD-810 compliant, technology will have endured a series of tests designed by the US military to assess tolerance under, particularly harsh settings. The methods of testing are extensive and cover a wide range of situations and conditions.
IP Rating – Also known as International Protection ratings, this is an international standard of EN 60529 (British BS EN 60529:1992). The standard is utilised to define the levels of sealing effectiveness of an electrical device against foreign materials such as water, dust, dirt and moisture, which may damage internal parts.
Technology must have a minimum rating of IP54 to be considered “fully-rugged”. This means a device can endure exposure to dirt or dust, with some water resistance. However, in industries where greater levels of protection against shock, water and dust are required, for example in Manufacturing, Utilities and Engineering, a higher IP rating is recommended.
An IP rating of IP65 and above ensures that the device can completely withstand dust, dirt and water contact. It can also survive when exposed to low-impact pressure water jets for up to 15 minutes. Furthermore, devices with this IP rating will also withstand a meter drop.
For working environments that are unpredictable when it comes to weather, like a construction site, a higher IP rating, such as IP67 may be required. This protects against up to 1 metre of water submersion for 30 minutes.
As technology becomes more integral in the way businesses are run, so does the need for reliable mobile devices that can withstand the most difficult working conditions. Thanks to the advances in technology today, rugged devices are readily available and often the standard choice for businesses across an array of industries worldwide.
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Founded in 2008, Conker is a British producer of business-rugged tablets, touch screens and mobile devices, providing durable and reliable systems for successful digital transformation.
The firm’s consultative approach delivers fit-for-purpose solutions that improve productivity and streamline business processes, supported by its easy-to-work with UK based service team. Customers include Eastern Forklift Trucks Limited and the food waste company, Winnow Solutions. Conker has a partnership with Fusion UEM by VXL and intends to expand its technology partnerships.
Led by founder and CEO, James Summers, Conker’s collaborative approach now empowers mobile workers to measurably improve productivity and make their lives easier by automating the mundane and streamlining business processes.
The business has received recognition within The Financial Times’ FT 1000: Europe's Fastest Growing Companies (2018) and Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 (2017). The company legally trades as Tablet Technologies Ltd. For more information visit: https://www.weareconker.com