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Ruggedized devices for mobile UCC—tough tablets for tough terrain

September 08, 2020

Ruggedized devices for mobile UCC—tough tablets for tough terrain
In the transportation, logistics and power industries where a significant amount of work is done in adverse conditions and/or rugged environments, tablets are being used more frequently than smartphones for mobile UCC—and for good reason. Companies like Dell, Panasonic and Samsung Mobile offer tough tablets with long-term durability—UCC mobile devices that can stand up to dust, moisture, temperature extremes, accidental drops and more.

Long-haul truckers, for example, will cover hundreds of thousands of miles per year over roads of varying smoothness, so their mobile devices are exposed to thousands of hours of small vibrations, speed bumps and weather extremes. Rugged tablets are designed to withstand these regular shocks that come with industry use, keeping drivers constantly and reliably connected throughout their journeys.

Industry certifications for ruggedness
Manufacturers design their mobile devices to several different ruggedization standards, most notably the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Ingress Protection (IP) Code and the Military Standard (MIL-STD).

Ingress Protection (IP) Code–The IEC’s IP codes signify how well a product’s mechanical casing and/or electrical enclosure withstands intrusion from dust, sand and water. A product’s IP code is typically given as IPXX, where each X (number) is a different rating. The first number is a rating for solid particle protection and the second number rates liquid protection. The higher the number, the better the protection from that specific type of damage, with zero meaning no protection.

For dust and other particulate resistance, six is the highest possible rating, signifying that the device is completely protected from dust. The liquid protection scale goes up to nine, which means that a product has the highest degree of protection from high pressure and high temperature sprays of water.

To be considered “fully rugged,” a mobile device must be rated a minimum of IP54, which means that it offers a tough layer of dust and water protection. But in more adverse work environments, it’s recommended that a device have at least an IP65 rating. This ensures it’s completely protected against dust contact and will withstand the impact of normal water exposure—which is usually sufficient for most working conditions. For users who anticipate more extreme water contact, a device with an IP68 rating is recommended.

Military Standard (MIL-STD)US MIL-STD-810G refers to a set of certifications developed by the U.S. military and Department of Defense. They cover a variety of conditions under which the devices must perform, including temperature, rain, humidity, fungus, sand and dust, salt fog, vibration, noise and more.
 
Compliant vs. tested
Keep in mind that sometimes claims of IP and MIL-STD compliance can be misleading because products can be built to meet compliance without being tested sufficiently. When looking at devices to recommend to your customers, try to find the test results for yourself and not rely on a “MIL-STD-810G Compliant” logo. For customers in industries that operate in rugged terrain and harsh environments, a close look at certifications can be critical to ensuring the best mobile UCC performance.
 
To learn more about what to look for in UCC mobile devices, talk to our UCC expert, Chad Simon at chad.simon@ingrammicro.com.