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Technical Articles & Industry Trends
Increasingly, personal devices are becoming waterproof or water-resistant with submergible waterproof ratings. However, most computers used in business are not in settings where they will encounter water, and thus are not made to be waterproof. It costs more to build a waterproof computer due to the more expensive materials, components, and highly controlled manufacturing processes. This higher cost is quickly recovered in the budget if the right product choice is made. The longevity of the right computer will far outlast a product lacking the capabilities to withstand the environment it is operating in daily.
Did You Know?IP ratings, short for "Ingress Protection", denote exactly how waterproof a computer is. Below are a few of the most common IP ratings and exactly how much water each can withstand:
For more on IP Ratings, check out our blog, "IP Rating on a Computer: What is it Good For?"
There are five main computing solutions to choose from when deciding on what pc to place in an environment with steam, splash, spray, or water immersion. An added factor is to consider what types of steam or liquids a computer might be exposed to. Saltwater on a boat or washdown chemicals to eliminate bacteria may corrode the pc if the right material is not chosen. In these cases, SUS304 stainless steel is usually the material of choice.
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Waterproof monitors are the most resilient touchscreen displays and some are further specialized to be used in rugged outdoor environments with wide temperature ranges. They are the best solution where the information display can be placed away from the computer, and there may be multiple displays with the same information on it. I/O connectors are made of M12 metal to maintain the same durability as the computer bezel and housing.
There are some environments where steam, water, seawater, or manufacturing spray simply goes everywhere. If this is the use case, then a waterproof box pc will likely need to be chosen if a waterproof all-in-one is not the best solution. In general, box PCs are a more cost-effective solution than all-in-one PCs when a wide operating temperature range is needed, or vibration is a major factor. With a stainless steel enclosure, a waterproof box pc can withstand the harsh chemical sanitation process in many food processing plants
In instances where a kiosk or cabinet is used to house a touchscreen computer and there are no high-pressure jets or severe weather, a computer with an IP65 or above front-rated bezel may be the best option. The kiosk or cabinet will need to have a waterproof or water-resistant seal for this to work well. Often times this is a less expensive option than going with a stainless steel waterproof computer but can be a risk if the cabinet seal is not tight or all environmental conditions are not accounted for.
Teguar stainless steel computers are rated IP66/IP69K. Stainless steel provides protection from oxidation that would otherwise cause traditional computers to corrode over short periods of time. To prevent the ingress of liquids and dust, they are equipped with water-tight gaskets.
There are two options to maintain waterproof connections. Either M12 metal connections are used or a cable gland that seals out water is chosen. The M12 I/O connectors are also rated IP66/IP69K and offer locking waterproof connections. These can be used with peripherals such as a waterproof keyboard, sensors, barcode scanner and scales. The direction, temperature, composition, and force of water spray may be a deciding factor for if a cable gland or M12 connectors are chosen.
When mobile computing is needed in demanding conditions, waterproof rugged tablet PCs are the best option. All Teguar rugged tablets are IP65 rated so they can be used in most weather conditions where dust, humidity, and rain are present. The durable plastic, rubber housing, and tough glass are built to withstand daily outdoor and indoor wear and tear. In some instances, a job might require being near or on bodies of water, or tablets may get dropped in pools of standing water. For these cases, an IP67 rugged tablet is the best option. This ensures if the tablet is fully submerged for a short period of time, it will keep working. These tablets come with tightly sealed rubber I/O plugs but are not waterproof when connected through a wire to peripheral devices.
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