The Toughest Rugged Mobile Computers
Panasonic has a longstanding reputation for producing innovative and world leading technologies. Investment in research and testing means Panasonic continue to develop and build world beating new technologies and products. The rigorous testing routines carried out on the whole TOUGHBOOK and Toughpad range ensures the products continue to receive recognition as world leading rugged mobile computing solutions.
Tough working conditions demand tough mobile computing products
At Panasonic we understand our TOUGHBOOK and Toughpad customers work in some of the world’s harshest conditions, and therefore need mobile computers that can operate effectively in challenging environments. Throughout both development and production, every model undergoes demanding testing that meets or exceeds European or World standard testing requirements. As a result our TOUGHBOOK and Toughpad range is capable of supporting workers in the most extreme and diverse situations.
Manufactured in Panasonic own factories, we offer a wide range of rugged mobile computers including fully ruggedised, semi ruggedised, and business ruggedised models. Designed to withstand and handle a variety of environments, our business ruggedised range is built to resist spillages, bumps and bangs, whereas our fully ruggedised models can survive drops of up to 1.8M and conditions including extremely cold or hot environments, humidity, dust, dirt, atmospheric and physical pressure and vibration.
Drop and Shock Resistance Testing
Panasonic TOUGHBOOK rugged mobile computers are tested to their limits to ensure you can have confidence that your device is capable of performing in the harshest conditions. Hard drive disk failures and broken screen displays are common if a laptop or tablet is dropped, however Panasonic TOUGHBOOK and Toughpad devices are designed to absorb impact and resist these types of breakages.
The drop tests that our Fully Rugged mobile computers undergo consist of three individual tests from 1.2m, 1.5m and 1.8m. Each test is carried out 26 times on each product, certified1 by an independent testing lab. The drop surface for these tests is 5cm thick plywood over a steel plate over concrete; the tests are performed in accordance with Military Standard Testing (MIL-STD-810G), Method 516.6, Procedure IV (Transit Drop test).
The Military Standard Testing procedure (MIL-STD 810G), is a United States Military Standard that aims to test equipment to the limit of endurance to ensure performance in the field.
MIL-STD-810G tests allow for up to five sample units to be used during the drop test process, however Panasonic only use one unit when testing the TOUGHBOOK fully rugged models. Each unit undergoes 26 drops at each of the three heights, equating to 78 drops in total.
Each tested TOUGHBOOK is subjected to sequential drops onto each face, edge and corner whilst in non-operating mode 26 times, at each of the three heights. Following each drop the rugged computing devices are visually inspected followed by a functional check, involving a boot-up to Windows check.
Our business rugged TOUGHBOOK mobile computers and 4K Tablet are subjected to 30cm and 76cm flat drops onto their bottom side.
Internal testing processes go beyond the MIL-STD requirements, subjecting TOUGHBOOK computers to drop tests while the units are operating. During the tests the units are dropped onto a harder surface than regular MIL-STD tests.
1 Tested by a national independent third party test lab following MIL-STD-810G Method 516.6, Procedure IV for transit drop test.
Liquid Resistance Testing
Liquid testing measures the level of resistance to moisture in our TOUGHBOOK rugged mobile computers. Spills and splashes of soft beverages onto your computer are inevitable, however sometimes much harsher substances can find their way onto your keyboard and screen. Therefore liquid testing also measures resistance to oils and certain chemicals including resistance to repeated cleaning with disinfectants in our clinical mobile computers, for example.
As TOUGHBOOK computers are often used outdoors, we understand they also need to be tested to survive rainfall. Our Blowing Rain water test involves testing fully rugged TOUGHBOOK computers for 30 minutes, in a 113 km/h wind and rainfall of 15 cm per hour.
Water resistance tests performed by Panasonic technicians are in accordance with Military Standard Test (MIL-STD 810G), method 506.5 procedure I (Blowing Rain) and procedure III (Spray).
Military Standard Test (MIL-STD 810G) is a United States Military Standard, which aims to test equipment to the limit, against the extreme environmental conditions the product may later experience.
TOUGHBOOK computers are subjected to the test whilst operating with their screen display open, however the ports remain closed by the rubber seals provided with the product as standard. Following the test, the computer is inspected for water intrusion.
Here at Panasonic we do not shorten the duration of the liquid resistance tests, unlike some computer manufacturers.
Water resistance levels vary throughout the range of TOUGHBOOK models. Fully rugged TOUGHBOOK products are water resistant to the level of MIL-STD 810G certification, whereas our semi-rugged range is capable of enduring small spillages. The business rugged range is not resistant to water at any level.
1 Tested by a national independent third party lab following MIL-STD-810G Method 516.6 Procedure IV for transit drop and IEC 60529 Sections 13.4, 13.6.2, 14.2.5 and 14.3 for IP65.
Vibration Resistance Testing
The majority of our TOUGHBOOK customers regularly work in very challenging conditions, which could normally lead to mobile computing difficulties in regular laptops or tablets. Units used in all forms of transport from cars to trains and planes are subject to constant vibration and so it is crucial that they can resist damage from long term exposure.
We thoroughly test our fully rugged TOUGHBOOK computers for vibration resistance, to ensure they remain operational despite enduring high vibration levels. Field work can involve rough terrain vehicle trips so mobile laptops must be able to withstand vibration and continue to work effectively, and models used in manufacturing or mining can also be subject to substantial and frequent vibration stress.
As with other rugged tests carried out by Panasonic technicians, our vibration test for the fully rugged TOUGHBOOK are performed in accordance with Military Standard (MIL-STD-810G, Method 514.6, Procedure I, Category 24 General Minimal Integrity Test). However the Panasonic vibration test goes beyond MIL-STD requirements; each TOUGHBOOK computer is also subjected to an operational test. We test to make sure the fully rugged models hard disk drives will spin and play a video whilst subject to continuous vibration.
In addition, some of the TOUGHBOOK models including CF-19 and CF-31 are also tested in accordance to ASTM D4 169-04 (99) Schedule E, Truck Highway Assurance Level II, Operating; alongside the MIL-STD testing. ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials International) is one of the largest voluntary standards developing organisations in the world, founded in 1898. Vehicle vibration test conditions for the test were between 1-200Hz, 0.52 Grms in all three axis, 90 minutes per axis.
Particle Resistance Testing
Operating out in the field leaves you and your equipment exposed to the elements, which can be challenging in many different ways. Dust and dirt have the tendency of finding their way into all exposed areas of mobile computers. This can lead to potential problems with the functionality of the keyboard and other components, slowing productivity and efficiency.
Panasonic test the TOUGHBOOK products for their resistance to dust, sand and other airborne particle infiltration.
Panasonic technicians carry out the dust resistance test on all fully rugged TOUGHBOOK products. With an operating test temperature of up to 60°C, the test is performed in accordance with MIL-STD-810G, Method 510.5, Procedure I (Dust) and Procedure II (Sand) and is designed to test equipment to the limit.
MIL-STD -810G guidelines outline that 60°C is the “default” temperature that should be used in this test and in order to ensure the particle test is regarded as the toughest particle test it could be, we use both silica flour and sand.
Passing the particle test requires the TOUGHBOOK mobile computer to maintain operation without any adverse effects on any moving parts or any contacts and relays.
Alongside the MIL-STD testing, our fully rugged TOUGHBOOK computers are also IP65 certified for dust and water ingress, enduring rigid factory testing for dust and water resistance. IP65 is Ingress Protection Rating, which classifies and rates the degree of protection against the intrusion of water, dust and other small particles.
Humidity Resistance Testing
Features that are incorporated into our fully rugged TOUGHBOOK laptops to prevent liquid infiltration also prevent the potential problems posed by high humidity.
Rigid humidity tests are carried out on the fully rugged TOUGHBOOK computer range, to ensure performance is maintained even in highly humid conditions.
The tests that all of our TOUGHBOOK products undergo are certified MIL-STD-810 tests, including the humidity test. Military Standard Test (MIL-STD 810G) are United States Military tests designed to test equipment rigorously for a whole range of challenging conditions or environments.
Performed in accordance to MIL-STD-810G, Method 507.5 (Aggravated), the humidity test pushes our computer products to their limit. As MIL-STD testing outlines, the temperature for this test is varied between 30°C and 60°C, whilst the relative humidity remains constant at 95%. The entire test is carried out over ten days, with each cycle time taking 24 hours and all TOUGHBOOK computers tested for their ability to operate near the conclusion of the fifth and tenth cycles.
In addition, contact points of the computer keyboards and other electrical components are subject to humidity testing to check that these parts are less vulnerable to electrical shorts or corrosion.
Even though MIL-STD requirements do not specify a need to cover internal component tests Panasonic technicians do carry out internal checks intermittently to ensure TOUGHBOOK devices remain operational and do not become technically affected by humid environments.
Temperature Tolerance Testing
In order to ensure our fully rugged TOUGHBOOK are able to cope with sudden and substantial temperature changes, a series of Military Standard (MIL-STD) temperature tests are conducted to ensure the models are capable of surviving temperatures as high as 93°C and as low as -16°C.
Military Standard Test (MIL-STD 810G) are a United States Military Standard test and are amongst the most rigorous testing standards in the world.
Both high and low temperature tests are conducted in accordance with MIL-STD-810G, Method 501.5 and Method 502.5, Procedures I (Storage) and Procedure II (Operational) and Procedure III (Tactical – Standby to Operational). The Panasonic high temperature test involves whether each unit can operate at temperatures of 60oC, and can survive being exposed to a temperature of 71oC and work subsequently. The low temperature test checks the mobile computer can work normally at a temperature of -7oC and can survive exposure to a temperature as low as -16°C. Each unit must then work normally after each test to pass.
A Thermal Shock test is also performed to meet MIL-STD-810G testing standards (Method 503.5, Procedure I). During the Thermal Shock test, the unit needs to complete three cycles during which the environmental temperature changes from a high temperature of 93oC to a low temperature of -16°C (one cycle). To pass the unit needs to boot up and operate normally after exposure cycles of thermal shock. Test items are moved between hot and cold environments within one minute, depending on their size. Larger items that require material handling equipment may need additional time to be moved.
MIL-STD-810G has created a new freeze/thaw test that has been incorporated into our temperature resistance testing too. Fully rugged TOUGHBOOK models are subjected to the freeze/thaw test, in accordance with MIL-STD-810G, Method 524, Procedure III (Rapid Temperature Change).
In addition to the external temperature tests TOUGHBOOK are also subjected to internal tests that go beyond MIL-STD tests. This phase of testing is called Highly Accelerated Life Tests (HALT) which is a stress testing methodology that aims to gather product reliability information. Panasonic engineers observe the performance of fully rugged TOUGHBOOK models over a period of several weeks, during hot and cold temperature cycles. By observing performance over time and during extreme stress, all components that fail can be identified and developed further before manufacturing begins.
Pressure Resistance Testing
The Panasonic pressure resistance tests check for TOUGHBOOK models’ resistance to both atmospheric and physical pressure. The range of fully rugged TOUGHBOOK mobile computers used in military and civilian aircraft, and emergency service helicopters need to be able to operate whilst being exposed to the varying effects of atmospheric pressure. Business rugged models need to be resistant to crushing in crowded commuter trains and able to withstand heavy objects placed on them accidentally.
Panasonic technicians test atmospheric pressure tolerance by ensuring the fully rugged mobile computers can operate successfully to an altitude of 15,000 feet (4,572 m), which is the highest equivalent altitude specified in the MIL-STD-810G, method 500.5, procedure l (Storage) and ll (Operation) test for cargo military aircraft.
Panasonic technicians also test the ability of the full TOUGHBOOK mobile computers product range to withstand physical pressure exerted on their casing. TOUGHBOOK all-magnesium casings are 20 times stronger than ABS plastic equivalent casings, making them ideal for protecting the LCD screen. As LCD screens are an important and expensive component of any laptop, the Panasonic cases are designed to absorb substantial levels of physical pressure to protect them, reducing failure rate and increasing productivity.
The business rugged laptops are tested to survive 100kgf of direct pressure. Robotic equipment is used to apply pressure onto different areas of the casing. This helps to ensure areas that would normally be more susceptible to cracks and breakages, such as corners, are tested sufficiently to prevent weak spots in the Panasonic products.
Pressure resistance testing is not only conducted on the external casings, but also conducted on internal components to a level that exceeds Military Standard Test (MIL-STD 810G).
Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Testing
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) energy has the ability to disturb the operation of electronic devices and so electromagnetic interference generated by electronic devices is a particularly serious issue for ultra-sensitive electronic equipment. Whilst electromagnetic emissions are usually inconvenient, in some cases they can be life threatening if they interfere with the operation of life preserving equipment or the operation of delicate technology in aircraft, for example.
Panasonic TOUGHBOOK mobile computers are designed to meet US Military Testing Standards MIL-STD-416F requirements (e.g. necessary for equipment used by the Department of Defence in the US) for both electromagnetic emission and susceptibility in order to prevent potentially harmful interference emissions and allow all TOUGHBOOK models to work effectively in close proximity to other devices.
Panasonic and third-party testing is conducted on fully rugged TOUGHBOOK to verify EMI and EMC compliance across a wide range of electromagnetic radiation frequencies, and there are ten different tests that are conducted to ensure compliance.
Water and Dust Ingress Protection IP65 and IP54 Testing
Mobile computers and tablets are typically rated to international standards for ingress protection (IP). Ingress Protection Rating (IP65), also referred to as the International Protection Rating, is published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and rates the level of resistance provided by a product against the intrusion of dust and water into electrical enclosures and mechanical casings. The Ingress Protection Rating aims to provide substantial information about the level of protection that is offered by a device against a standard testing regime.
Our fully rugged TOUGHBOOK computers have gained an IP651 rating for particle resistance and liquid resistance testing. IP65 indicates that the product has successfully secured an IP rating for protection against dust and water. The first digit (6) within IP65 refers to resistance to dust, whereas the second digit (5) indicates the level of protection from liquids. This means water can be sprayed onto the computer from any direction and not affect or damage the device. Being granted higher digits means there is a greater level of protection. Therefore a product with an IP65 rating will offer better protection to dust and water than a product with an IP54 rating.
1 Tested by a national independent third party lab following MIL-STD-810G Method 516.6 Procedure IV for transit drop and IEC 60529 Sections 13.4, 13.6.2, 14.2.5 and 14.3 for IP65.
To ensure our TOUGHBOOK range offers unsurpassed quality, reliability and performance, we control and closely monitor the wireless testing process.
Millions of Euros have been invested by Panasonic into the research and development, testing and production of world-class wireless testing facilities. Our anechoic chamber, which is located in Kobe, Japan, is one of the world’s largest.
An anechoic chamber is a room that has been designed to absorb all sound reflections or electromagnetic waves; in essence, it is a non-echoing room. This is important because if exterior sounds or radio signals affected the chamber, it would lead to false results.
Our world-leading designed anechoic chamber blocks any unwanted radio signals or interference. Having this ability makes it an ideal controlled environment for testing the effect of radio frequencies (RF) on TOUGHBOOK wireless products. The tests performed within the chamber are over the air (OTA), which including total isotropic sensitivity (TIS) and total radiated power (TRP).
Wireless testing is also performed in the heat, cold, rain and other common real world environments. The tests carried out during wireless testing aim to evaluate driver performance, connection manager software performance, and variable environmental and network conditions users regularly encounter during travelling.
Panasonic technicians use the anechoic chamber test results in the product design phases for TOUGHBOOK products so that the wireless performance of Panasonic mobile computers and tablets is optimised. Results from the tests help Panasonic engineers to locate and address problem areas before the products’ design is finalised and approved for manufacturing.
By subjecting TOUGHBOOK products to these rigid and tough tests, Panasonic is able to manufacture rugged wireless mobile computers that are robust, consistent and reliable for a broad range of industries, and that are capable of operating in a variety of environmental conditions.