Defining a Rugged Computer

What is Rugged Computer

Industry standards exist to guide buyers when assessing a product’s suitability for a particular application. The standards most often referred to within the industry include: 

  • US Department of Defence MIL-STD 810G (this address a wide range of physical performance variables such as resistance to vibration, impacts, dust and moisture)
  • US Department of Defence MIL-STD 461F (which addresses electrical and emissions performance)
  • International Electrotechnical Committee IEC 60529 (addresses resistance to dust and moisture; equivalent to the US IP/Ingress Protection rating system)  

Other standards exist to test for issues as varied as daylight viewability of a computer screen, to the durability of hinges. 

These tests we designed to assess how a product performs with regard to a range of variables, such as how well it resists impacts, or dust ingress, etc. 

Meeting any of these standardised tests does NOT, however, mean that a product is rated for MILITARY applications. It just means it meets a certain durability level for that variable. 

What confuses buyers is that a vendor can claim to be 'MIL-STD compliant' even if their products meet the lowest level of even only one of these standards! Clearly, some of these standards are only designed to test a product for its durability with respect to conditions found in an office environment, NOT on a battlefield. 

Simply, the implication that 'MIL-STD compliant' means a product is suitable for military use is MISLEADING. 

So to avoid confusion, we created a rating system that relates standardised tests - including tests defined in MIL-STD 810G, MIL-STD 461E, IEC 60529 and others - to levels of durability that make a product suited to a COMMERCIAL, INDUSTRIAL or MILITARY application. 

Within those classes, we then rate the level of ruggedisation, using categories familiar to portable computer buyers. In this way, we quantify levels of durability, rather than simply making a marketing statement that can be very hollow.