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Rugged tablets in the food manufacturing industry

With wide temperature ranges and and a wide variety of operating conditions, the food manufacturing industry can greatly benefit from rugged Tablet PCs.

Over the past several years, the food manufacturing industry has increasingly been using mobile computers to monitor, manage and control a wide range of production and processing areas. These include a large variety of environmental conditions from dusty outdoor areas to loading docks where equipment is subject to shock and vibration, to shop floors and packaging areas, to extreme temperature ranges. Electronic equipment must be able to withstand operation in hot areas (cooking, steaming, etc.) as well as cold or freezer environments where data capture and processing is needed for inventory, control and quality inspections. With their small size and light weight, ultra-portable ruggedized tablet computers are ideally suited for use of this type of environment.

To further illustrate the point, witness the needs and requirements of the food processing industry:

  • To avoid food contamination, equipment must be suitable for frequent, easy cleaning and disinfection in the workplace. Fanless rugged tablet computers meet that requirement with a minimum of openings where germs can hide as well as housings that can withstand industrial cleaning agents.

  • The equipment must be dust and waterproof.

  • Refrigerated food areas must be kept at below 7°C/45°F and this should not represent a problem for mobile computers used in those areas.

  • Frozen food areas must be kept at below -18°C/0°F, and computing equipment must be capable of reliably operate in those low temperatures.

  • Cooked food must be kept at temperatures that prevent germs from growing, which means it must be maintained at just above 60°C/140°F). Computing equipment must be able to operate at or near those temperatures.

  • Barcode product labeling is part of virtually all food processing operations. Mobile computing equipment must be able to scan whatever 1D and/or 2D codes are being used.

Based on the above requirements, ruggedized tablet computers such as the Samwell RUGGEDBOOK SR820 are prime candidates for the job. The SR820's IP65 sealing means the devices are totally protected against dust, as well as against low pressure water jets from all directions. Their magnesium alloy housings allow the use of water and methanol detergents for cleaning. Fanless design further simplifies cleaning and desinfection. As far as operating temperature goes, the SR820 can handle -20°C/-4°F all the way up to 60°C/140°F, which makes the tablets suitable for use in any part of the food processing industry.

Rapid, reliable data capture for entering and retrieving product information, and real-time exchange of pertinent data is increasingly important in the food processing industry as well, meaning that mobile computers must be able to be equipped with various types of wireless modules (WIFI and 3G WWAN) as well as data capture options such as barcode and RFID readers. The SR820 meets these requirements.

The Samwell RUGGEDBOOK SR820 provides netbook size and convenience in a rugged tablet form factor. Measuring just 10.1 x 6.2 x 1.5 inches and weighing under three pounds, the SR820 is smaller and lighter than full-size rugged tablets without requiring many compromises. Its 8.9-inch touch screen with 1024 x 600 resolution (1024 x 768 interpolated) is large enough to be useful.

There is good wired connectivity on board, all the connectors are standard size, and there is a wealth of wireless functionality (including available GPS and 3G radio) and also an 2-megapixel integrated camera and optional laser scanner.

Powered by an 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530P processor, the SR820 provides a balance between decent performance and long battery life, thanks to the very low heat dissipation of the processor, all without the need of a fan.

The SR820's nicely designed magnesium alloy chassis, rock-solid construction, and steel-backed rubber bumper protection combine to make a rugged, durable tablet computer able to withstand accidents and exposure to the elements in the field and any part of a production process. The device is also well-sealed with individual rubber plugs.

With the RUGGEDBOOK SR820, Samwell offers the tablet equivalent of a rugged netbook computer. It's smaller and lighter than standard-size tablets, has most of the features and performance, but is much more compact and offers better battery life.

Relevant Information:

Samwell Group RUGGEDBOOK SR820 page

To learn more about the ruggedized Samwell SR820 tablet computer and its many applications, email the folks at RUGGEDBOOK at And check's full analysis of the SR820.

RUGGEDBOOK Headquarters
Samwell Building
317-1, Sec. 2,
AnKang Rd., Xindian Dist.
New Taipei City 23153, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Telephone: 886-2-2214-1133
Fax: 886-2-2215-5458