Equipping employees from a wide range of industries with professional IT solutions is at the core of our daily work. For this, we deal with the central interests and needs so that we can offer rugged computers with exactly the right features. Our rugged tablets are an energetic support for all employees who need a feature-rich and at the same time rugged device for working on the road or in the field.
Are you still unsure whether a rugged tablet makes sense for your everyday work? Then you’ve come to the right place. In this post, you’ll learn what makes a rugged tablet, what special features it brings to the table, and why rugged tablets are used as the optimal work companion in numerous industries, especially those with harsh conditions.
What is meant by "rugged computer"?
It may be that the term “rugged” creates a different impression in each consumer’s mind. This is not without reason: while there are established criteria and standards, the concept itself has no single borderline definition in the world of computers. Different needs – say, in different industries – might have different requirements for a “rugged” computer. In very general terms, however, it can be summarized that rugged computers are significantly more resilient and stable than normal consumer devices, so they can continue to operate without problems under extreme working conditions. Also, they are not normal devices that have been additionally sheathed, as is often assumed. While rugged devices are often not equipped with the latest technologies like normal consumer devices, they are designed specifically for industrial needs.
The degree of ruggedness of a computer is determined by three specifications in particular: usable temperature range, MIL-STD-810 test and ingress protection (IP protection).
Usable temperature range
A rugged computer must be able to withstand extreme temperatures as well as strong temperature fluctuations, because very harsh and changeable temperatures often prevail in industrial environments or in outdoor use. This is where the special characteristics of such devices already become apparent: A common end-user device is usually designed for an operating temperature of +10° to +35°C. Rugged computers, on the other hand, can withstand harsher environments. WEROCK computers can operate in a range of up to -20° to +60° C.
The US military standard MIL-STD-810 includes a whole series of strict tests that check the devices for their resilience against various environmental influences. Some of the most important criteria here is protection against water, dust, sunlight, drops, shocks and vibrations. Devices that pass these tests can completely withstand these environmental influences in practice. Rugged computers are usually tested to this standard for drops, vibrations, as well as the usable temperature range. While there are many other tests in this protocol, they are mostly not relevant to computers, as this standard generally refers to military goods.
IP certification for industrial equipment is also important. IP stands for Ingress Protection. It determines the resistance of a computer against the ingress of foreign particles as well as liquids in the environment.
WEROCK products are all certified to IP 65 (dust and waterproof) or even IP 67 (protection against immersion in water for 30 minutes). Normal tablets are usually not certified to a specific IP protection and can usually be located in the IP30 or IP40 range without being tested.
The rating consists of a simple two-number system that rates solid particles and liquids separately to clearly indicate how well a device is protected from these elements.
The first number represents particles and the second number represents liquids:
IP Penetration protection against foreign bodies
0_ No ingress protection available
1_ Protected against objects larger than 50 mm (e.g. a hand)
2_ Protected against objects larger than 12.5 mm (e.g. a finger)
3_ Protected against objects larger than 2.5 mm (e.g. a screwdriver)
4_ Protected against objects larger than 1 mm (e.g. wire)
5_ Keeps out enough dust to prevent failure. However, limited dust ingress is permitted. Does not interfere with operation of the unit.
6_ Dust-tight (no ingress).
X_ X: Not tested. You will see this if the device has been tested for liquids but not for solids; e.g., IPX7.
IP Protection against liquid ingress
_0 No water protection available.
_1 Protection against vertically falling water drops.
_2 Protection against water drops falling at an angle (up to 15 degrees)
_3 Protection against splashing water (up to 60 degrees)
_4 Protection against splashing water from all directions
_5 Protection against water jets from all directions
_6 Protection against strong jets of water
_7 Protection against temporary immersion in water (up to 30 minutes)
_8 Protection against permanent immersion in water (waterproof)
_9 Protection against high pressure and steam jet cleaners
_X X: Not tested.
Why Rugged Tablets?
Mobile technology is a huge contributor to minimizing paperwork. Take all your paperwork with you digitally and edit it right on the device. So not only does a tablet drastically reduce the amount of time you spend; it also makes for a much greener and sustainable operation. A tablet stands out from PCs and laptops thanks to its lighter weight, handier design, and greater mobility. It is therefore particularly well suited for work that needs to be done outside the office.
A rugged tablet gives industrial workers even more powerful support. Thanks to the drop-proof design, you can take them anywhere. They attach securely, detach quickly, and stand up well to the vibration and shock of rough terrain. The devices can usually be charged in a vehicle mount and connected to additional devices.
However, tablets from WEROCK are characterized not only by their ruggedness. They are also equipped with many other features, which are inevitable for complex tasks in industrial use. In addition to Internet connectivity, WEROCK devices offer a significantly larger number of ports compared to normal consumer devices. These usually have only a single port to which other devices can be connected. Multiple USB ports and extra charging port are common features on our industrial tablets, they sometimes even offer a serial port. Otherwise, you can configure an optional barcode scanner on almost all models.
Last but not least, a particularly long battery life plays a significant role in the performance of an outdoor tablet. The battery of WEROCK tablets usually lasts for more than 8 hours; some models also have the hot-swap function so that you can also replace the battery during operation.
Useful areas of application for rugged tablets
There are a wide variety of uses for rugged tablets. Many workers in the utilities sector, public services, emergency and rescue services, transportation and logistics, construction, retail, manufacturing and many other industries have long been familiar with these work tools. There, rugged tablets can not only digitize and facilitate everyday work, but also significantly increase work efficiency. Data capture, for example, is difficult on standard consumer smartphones, if only because of the GDPR, but efficiency also suffers because a barcode scanner with a camera does not work reliably and quickly.
Today, digitization has become one of the biggest drivers of municipal utilities, regional utilities and other utility companies. As a result, the need for computer technology in the field is steadily increasing. In 2019, nearly half of energy and utility companies have already adopted tablets. We expect this figure to increase dramatically in the coming years.
Electric utility field workers inspect assets, such as transformer stations and distribution boxes, for condition, record data, especially defects, and report them. They do all this out in the field, which is why rugged and mobile IT plays a big role here. This means that employees can record the values directly digitally, intelligently compare them against standard values, create reports and make configurations. In addition, mobile tablets can also provide considerable support during the installation, replacement and acceptance of electricity meters: The employee can document the processes directly on site so that meter numbers are linked to the corresponding customer numbers in the system. Other information, such as the location and relevant details during installation, replacement and acceptance can also be noted via the tablet, and the employee can also take relevant photos and store them in the system.
A small rugged tablet or mobile data collection device helps read meter readings from electricity meters or other devices. More and more utilities are turning to a new intelligent, automated meter reading (automated meter reading or “smart metering”) using radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology. This not only reduces meter reading errors, but also significantly increases the efficiency and productivity of individual employees. In this case, control can often even be carried out from the vehicle using a tablet.
GIS, surveying and mapping
Rugged tablets are ideal for GIS applications where GPS is essential as a geographic and topographic data source. Rugged tablets from WEROCK feature advanced dedicated GPS/GNSS sensors, fast data connectivity with 4G or 5G, and Bluetooth. Thus, together with external GPS antennas or even via the integrated antennas, they enable particularly accurate surveying.
For surveyors, a good and rugged touchscreen that also works in rain, snow and other bad weather is particularly essential. They also need to have a particularly bright display so that they can read data flawlessly even in constant direct sunlight. You’ll only find that with a Rugged Tablet.
Public service / emergency and rescue services
Rugged tablets are also increasingly used in the public sector. Important sectors here are, for example, police authorities, fire departments, emergency services and disaster control. The mobile devices can help with error- and loss-free data collection, fast documentation, efficient research, and seamless contact with colleagues. Furthermore, they can save officers hours by realizing paperless reporting through mobile technology.
Our firefighting heroes are committed to keeping our lives safe, at all hours of the day and night, in all weathers. However, they themselves, as well as their work tools, are at the mercy of great risks and extreme conditions. Firefighters have to contend with very severe temperature fluctuations during firefighting operations, and large fires can quickly reach very high temperatures. So when documenting fires and monitoring operations, they need to have extremely rugged devices that can withstand such temperature differences. With WEROCK’s rugged tablets, all of which have been certified to MIL-STD-810, this is not an issue.
With a handy tablet, response teams can prepare themselves on the way to the scene: In addition to getting to the scene quickly, internet and GPS also make it possible to get relevant and important mission information early on, including weather and road closures. The benefits of an industrial tablet are not limited to this, however. With special applications, emergency forces also have access to various databases so that they can get an overview of all hazardous materials and hydrants at the scene, for example, and this is then also possible in the map view. With alerting and availability systems, emergency forces receive alerts from response teams, for example; they receive up-to-the-minute overviews of the available response forces on their tablets, so that they can plan personnel and avoid shortages in advance.
Rescue service operations are also about gaining time. The devices used must be highly reliable, stable and rugged. When the paramedics receive the alarms on their tablet, they have to familiarize themselves with the situation as quickly as possible. Once the patient has received initial care, the symptoms and condition of the patient can be transmitted directly during transport to the hospital. WEROCK tablets support highly efficient communication here, which speeds up the process and ultimately improves the chances of treatment.
Rugged tablets thus help with everything from preventive measures to crisis operations: They help to significantly increase the efficiency of emergency personnel in the public sector as well as emergency and rescue services, and reduce the time they need to do their work.
Smart and effective networking is a must in the manufacturing sector. And not only in terms of productivity, but also in terms of safety. The use of innovative IT solutions for manufacturing plants and facilities helps significantly in the realization of lean and efficient operating processes. At the same time, these support compliance with quality guidelines, the reduction of wasted resources and the improvement of the entire business process. Any company that wants to face today’s new challenges and remain competitive should digitize and, if necessary, automate its production as much as possible.
Rugged tablets: reliable companions in all production environments
In industrial environments, you should definitely purchase rugged computers, because only these are up to the demands of the production environment. Dust is often unavoidable during production. One of the main disciplines of rugged tablets is to be completely impervious to dust. Often, rugged tablets can also be used with the protective gloves of production workers.
In the various applications of industrial production, reliable network connectivity is also inevitable. WEROCK tablets offer the latest Wi-Fi and cellular technologies, so you can benefit from a wide range of industrial applications and software without worrying about losing your connection.
Whether you’re using SAP, abas or another WMS system, a rugged tablet from WEROCK will keep you connected at all times. Likewise, plant conditions can be checked and adjusted via store floor management systems: Flow rates of pumps, heating temperature, piece count counters, remaining amount of carrier film for packaging, scrap counters, etc. – depending on the production environment.
Management and communication of and with personnel
Another benefit of using tablets on the shop floor is that it allows you to be more connected with your staff anytime, anywhere. You give staff continuous access to important info, deadlines, real-time alerts, and other notifications that can’t be missed. Employees can receive work orders from headquarters and provide status feedback on work progress. Managers can use overtime alerts to ensure that employees are deployed exactly where they are needed most.
Job aids and documentation
Ensuring occupational safety and other regulations are met is simplified with the use of mobile IT. Using safety checklists, inspection manuals, and other planning and organizational data, skilled workers can refer to them, which reduces error rates and increases workplace safety. Errors caused by handwritten notes are thus history.
Transportation and logistics
The environment in logistics is particularly demanding, due in part to the frequently changing personnel as well as the short training period. Equipment is handled rudely and even dropped in the process. Not to mention that there are often strong vibrations and shocks on poor roads during transport journeys. If you are active in this environment, you should for this reason use technology that you can always rely on.
Intralogistics, incoming and outgoing goods
Smooth warehousing is essential in all sizes of business, which in turn requires effective material handling throughout the company. E-commerce companies are particularly affected here, as they accept orders around the clock and have to process them in real time. Real-time employee connectivity is therefore essential to ensure a transparent and efficient flow of goods. With leading warehouse management and ERP programs, WEROCK computers allow you to seamlessly collaborate all elements. With an industrial tablet, logistics staff can also receive pick instructions, scan the barcode of the pallet location, print barcode labels, document damaged goods immediately on site and report them to the office staff.
Parcel service and freight forwarding
Here too, WEROCK tablets can help you realize fast and smooth operations. We understand that an outstanding scanning tool is essential here: our high-end models are therefore equipped with particularly high-quality, industry-leading scanning modules. Our delivery heroes can also significantly increase delivery punctuality by tracking traffic situations and using intelligent track & trace technologies. Seamless tracking through checkpoints and GPS also provides high transparency to customers and increases their satisfaction. On-site at the customer’s location, our compact tablets also make it easier for parcel deliverers to capture signatures and proof of delivery.
Overcoming supply chain unpredictability
Supply chains are known to be dependent on many different factors: An unexpected weather event, power outage or road closure can instantly test your ability to deliver. With rugged tablets, you can effectively combat this uncertainty: your employees instantly access the tools, info, and team members they need to solve problems on the spot. This gives you more control over your supply chains and enables you to respond quickly to changes. Of course, this still doesn’t solve the root cause of the supply chain disruption, but at least you can respond accordingly.
A rugged tablet is a particularly durable industrial computer that can be characterized by its resistance to harsh and demanding conditions, making it very suitable for outdoor and industrial use. It scores over normal PCs and laptops in terms of compactness and mobility, making it the ideal companion when on the move. Such a tablet can play a big or decisive role in many different fields of application; however, these are by no means limited to the areas just described. The rugged tablet makes its grand appearance in many other sectors, e.g. construction, medicine, care, retail, entertainment and gastronomy, even military.
A mobile, smart and well-equipped IT device is a booster for your work productivity. We believe that the growth of your business can be accelerated by our rugged technology. Still not sure if a rugged tablet is the right choice for you? Contact us today. We will be happy to advise you individually according to your requirements.