Once you start looking into what types of handheld computers are available for the forest industry, it is important to understand just what is meant by “RUGGED”.
Most of the rugged computer products are rated under an international system which assigns an Ingress Protection or IP protection rating. The IP system is relative and rational – always two letters (IP) followed by two digits, eg IP54. The first digit indicates the enclosure’s degree of protection against solid objects while the second digit indicates a degree of protection against liquids. This works out to be a good indicator of the units “RUGGEDNESS” and should be carefully considered when looking at purchasing products as you will find that steps up the IP ladder will result in a dramatic increase in the units price. The key is meeting that happy medium of what level is needed for forestry use!
The IP Rating System
Degree of Protection First (contact hazard and IP Digit foreign object protection)
0 No special protection.
1 Protection against penetration of solid objects larger than 50mm in diameter (large objects). No protection against intentional access, e.g. by hand, but keeping larger body parts at a distance.
2 Protection against entry of solid objects larger than 12mm in diameter (medium size objects). Keeping out fingers and other small objects.
3 Protection against entry of solid objects larger than 2.5mm in diameter (small objects). Keeping out tools, wires and other objects larger than 2.5mm in diameter.
4 Protection against entry of solid objects larger than 1mm in diameter (granular objects). Keeping out tools, wires and similar objects of a thickness exceeding 1mm.
5 Protection against harmful dust deposits. Ingress of dust is not totally prevented, but dust does not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with operation of the equipment (dust protected). Full contact protection.
6 Protection against ingress of dust(dust tight). Full contact protection.
Second Degree of Protection IP Digit (water protection)
0 No special protection.
1 Protection against dripping water. It must not have any harmful effect (dripping water).
2 Protection against dripping water. Dripping water shall have no harmful effect when the enclosure is tilted at any angle 15° from its normal position (indirect dripping water).
3 Spraying water falling at any angle up to 60° from vertical shall have no harmful effect (spraying water).
4 Water splashed against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect (spraying water).
5 Water projected by a nozzle against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect (water jets).
6 Water from heavy seas or water projected in powerful jets shall not enter the enclosure in harmful quantities (flooding).
7 Ingress of water in a harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (submersion).
8 This equipment suitable for continuous submersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer (submersion).
What IP Rating will suit the NZ Forestry Industry Applications?
Interpine has used Psion workabout units extensively over the last 8 years with these having a IP54 rating. Although these units are considerably cheaper than the AllegroCE units. The Allegro does have a IP67 rating. The cost of repairs to the Psion soon outways the extra cost of the higher IPrated unit. For example we have had AllegroCE units for 2.5 years now, with no units requiring to go back to the supplier for repair due to water damage. This cannot be said for the IP54 Psion workabout units which in our harsh environments require major (PCB board replacement) repairs on what seems like an annual basis. Therefore we would suggest that any item with a rating of less than IP67 (be it a barcode device or handheld pc !) will not survive well in the NZ forest environment !!
Article contributed by David Herries, Interpine Business, Principal.
This article is for informative use only and should not be used as a reference for any other source. For more information feel free to contact us.