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Choosing A Rugged Tablet For Mounting On Forklifts

Choosing A Rugged Tablet For Mounting On Forklifts

December 25, 2022 admin Comments Off

Are you mounting a rugged tablet on the forklifts in your warehouse to improve effiency of your forklift operators? Selecting a bad quality tablet could result productivity loss and additional expenses incurred due to repair. A rugged tablet with short lifespan (manufacturer end-of-sale) also results in wasted investment costs associated with the mounting and wiring onto the forklift. Let us consider the factors when purchasing a rugged tablet for mounting on your forklifts.

#1: Durability

Your forklifts experience plenty of vibration when driving on rough surface or speed bumps in the warehouse. This can result in vibration fatigue, leading to the failure of your equipment. Not all rugged tablets designed to withstand vibrations. There is a limit to the amount of vibration each tablet can handle. So if you are operating on uneven ground, we recommend getting a rugged tablet that is tested with a MIL-STD-810 vibration rating, like the Zebra ET80, ET85 or the Bartec Agile S NI (for hazardous area). The MIL-STD-810 rating system certifies that the device can withstand a broad range of environmental conditions, including shock, transport shock, and random vibrations.

As your operator tablet will be mounted on and off the forklift, it will be vulnerable to drops from height. If a rugged tablets have MIL approval it means the device has been tested to the same grade as US military equipment, with drop tests from certain height and taking a number of tumbles. All Zebra Rugged tablets feature MIL-STD-810 drop specifications, withstanding drops starting from 1.2m height, without any additional 3rd party protectors.


#2: Outdoor Environment

If your forklift is driven outdoors, your tablets will be exposed to rain and dust, look out for the Ingress protecting (IP Rating) of the tablet. Most rugged tablets are rated IP65 and higher. The first digit ‘6’ represents a dust-right device while the 2nd digit ‘5’ represents protection against water jets. For a device to have protection against temporary immersion in water, it would have to be rated as IP67. For more information on ingress protection, refer to this link.

If your tablet is used outdoors, besides considering the waterproofing (IP protection) of the tablet, consider if the screen supports ‘wet mode’.  Also look at whether the screen is bright enough for viewing if it is used under sunlight Nits refer to candela per square meter. Brightness of 800 nits is usually the minimum preference for the display to be ‘sunlight readable’.

#3: Forklift Mounting

Proper mounting of your tablet ensures the device is mounted at the right position and within reach of the operator. Forklift mounts allow easy adjustment and optimum viewing angle which improves operator work efficiency. Whether you prefer a passive cradle or charging cradle, we provide professional installation onto your forklift. Proper hard-wiring of the charging cradle to the forklift battery allows your tablet to be always powered and operationally ready. Refer to this link for forklift cradles or Contact Comtrol Solutions for a free site survey!

#4: Operating System and Security

Some enterprise users may prefer a rugged tablet with Windows operating system. A Windows tablet is much more costly than an Android tablet due to the operating system license cost as well as the higher hardware specifications required to run a Windows tablet. At Comtrol Solutions, we have observed that most users prefer at least 8GB RAM on a Windows tablet while 4GB RAM is typically sufficient for an Android Tablet.

You will find many brands of Android rugged tablets in the market at very competitive prices with little differentiation to the hardware specifications. One key differentiator to look out for is whether the manufacturer/brand provides regular security patches or Android Updates. For example, the Zebra ET40/ET45 rugged tablet may be delivered with Android 11 today but provides regular security updates and supports upgrade to Android 14, Enterprise users will find security a strong justification for a product’s price premium.