The Panasonic Toughbook is a tough, rugged machine. But what makes a Panasonic Toughbook fully rugged?
The answer to this question is simple really. While ruggedness has become a trademark of Panasonic’s computing solutions, some laptops are manufactured to withstand a bigger beating than others. The most rugged are fully rugged, and those that are less rugged are known as semi rugged.
The specifications of Panasonic’s range of Toughbooks vary according to the needs of target customers. For example, the fully rugged Toughbook 31 is a powerful laptop computer that any first responder can confidently use. The semi-rugged Toughbook 54 is much thinner and lighter than the Toughbook 31, which is beneficial for many professionals working in the field, but in less extreme circumstances than police and military personnel, or many of those who are involved with fire and medical response services.
All Panasonic Toughbooks and Toughpads are rigorously tested to ensure they meet specific military and other standards. However, those manufactured to survive worst scenario conditions undergo the harshest tests possible, from six-foot drops to extreme exposure to dust and water.
So what tests are carried out to ensure a Panasonic Toughbook meets the specs to be labeled fully rugged?
US Military Standard Testing
Introduced more than half a century ago, in 1962, the US Military Standards simulate how materials (including various devices) will withstand various types of environmental stress. All in all, there are 28 different methods for testing that include everything from temperature to gunfire and even fungal infestation. Of course, not all of these apply to the Panasonic Toughbook, but a lot of them do.
Even though military standard testing (MIL-STD) is only mandatory for military contracts, manufacturers often use the results of military tests for marketing purposes. These tests are also used to prove that products meet the most stringent military specifications and to ensure that items – like laptops and tablets – are semi- or fully rugged.
Eight of the tests that are used to ensure computing devices are rugged are designed to certify that the device can withstand:
- high temperatures, both real and artificial
- low temperatures and continue to operate in these conditions
- both driving rain and dripping water
- warm, humid air that is even more extreme than the humidity found in nature
- blowing sand and dust
- being submerged or partially submerged in water
- intense vibration that is also frequent
- the shock of being dropped from high levels
Additionally, there is an international standard that rates ingress protection, and in this way defines how well “electrical enclosures” – including devices that have some sort of wiring – are sealed to prevent intrusion of dirt, water, and other foreign matter.