So to round off our series of looking at all the different classes of Rugged devices we’ll tie up the loose ends by looking at some more niche rugged PDA’s.
Water/Dust (IP Protection)
When you get past IP64/IP65 you really start getting into a specialist area. IP66, 67 and 68 are all about submersion in water from temporary submersion like on a ship deck or beach, to extended periods up to 1m and beyond. It actually never fails to surprise me just how powerful water pressure is and even 1M of pressure requires a special device. If you’re looking to use the Rugged Handheld in tropical or steamy climates it’s also worth thinking about too.
Most Rugged PDA’s operate between -20c to +50 celsius, but many reputable brands can be -10 to 50 which can easily give you troubles should you be in an outdoor or cold environment. Always check the temperature ranges if you are working in a cold store or even outdoor environment because the operating temps will give you trouble. We saw countless RFID projects giving very odd results with devices that only had operating temps down to -10. If going lower or higher than you start to hit the limits of what the electronics can sustain so you need something that has warming or cooling accessories that allow for safe harbour of the devices so they will work for short burst in the rugged environment.
We’re getting more and more customers are asking about larger screened Rugged PDA’s and the rend seems to be that users want something with a larger than 3.5″ LCD. We think this is being driven by the tablet and we’re expecting some products to fill this void very soon. For now there are only a couple of devices that have 5″ or above screens touting Windows Mobile or CE OS’s.
Medical / Laboratory Devices
Whether the hospitals want these or not (they’re all telling us that they want to increase germs in the workplace as the issue is our lack of ability to fight them), more and more rugged PDA’s seem to be available in Antimicrobial cases. Generally white in colour to signify the casing, they make for a rugged handheld that is less prone to picking up and spreading dangerous microbes in the first place, and they are also more resistant to the abrasive chemicals required to clean them.
Intrinsically Safe Devices
Known as IS or ATEX devices, these are rugged PDA’sthat are safe to use in a flammable environment. If you’re work
ing in a petro-chemical or gas environment where electrical conductivity and spark reduction are necessary then you need to look at devices that have versions that cater for this or there are a few devices that specialise in this area.
These are just a few niche scenarios tha customers demand different devices for, but as the rugged market becomes the standard for mobile solutions we’re seeing distinct and unique scenarios brought to us by almost every customer these days. Don’t forget that the biggest mistake you can often make is not working with a Rugged Reseller who has the knowledge you need and can identify what rugged PDA you need in the first place.
The Rugged and Mobile blog.