DellRuggedLaptop1

Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme…

It should come as no surprise that a maker of CNC Software ideal for use on the Shop Floor believes computers are important to have on the Shop Floor.  I couldn’t live without mine–they do everything from running software to letting me view my prints and other files to helping me look stuff up on the Internet on the spur of the moment for reference.  Heck, I even use them to play music in the shop.  

But the Shop is not always friendly to computers.  I’ve got a laptop I use in the shop that’s flaky as heck largely because chips migrated under the keyboard and into the circuits.  I’ve tried like crazy to clean it out, but no avail.  Periodically it goes haywire, I shut it down, tilt it up on end, and give it a good shake to migrate the chips away from delicate areas.  It’s not ideal, and I keep my old nearly obsolete laptops around to use for the purpose.  If I had to, I can buy a decent laptop for the shop for $100-200 from eBay or Craig’s List and that would do.  

That doesn’t stop me from thinking there must be a better way!

DellRuggedLaptop2

Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme with Flip Screen…

I was just checking out Dell’s Latitude Rugged series of Laptops and Tablets–they seem ideal for the Shop Floor.  They meet Military Standards, they have a magnesium alloy backbone and shock-resistant components, and they’re seeled to meet IP-65 standards for protection from sand, dust, and liquid.  That all sounds impressive, and Dell even takls about the relevant MIL-STD-810G testing the devices have undergone:

Transit drop (72”,60”,48”; single unit; 78 drops), operating drop (36”), blowing rain, blowing dust, blowing sand, vibration, functional shock, humidity, salt fog (optional with rubberized keyboard), altitude, explosive atmosphere, solar radiation, thermal extremes, thermal shock, freeze/thaw, tactical standby to operational.

It’s even got MIL-STD-461F certification against electromagnetic interference.  Not sure how I got this far without that, but it sounds like a good thing to me.  I don’t want my song tracks skipping just because I fire up the Tig welder or Heaven Forbid, the plasma cutter.  There’s some other pretty wild stuff too.  It’s designed so you can operate it wearing gloves (not that we recommend gloves around machinery that might grab them–we don’t) via a resistive touch screen.  I can tell you from using my Microsoft Surface Pro 3 that I really like having a touch screen available, even one that won’t work with gloves.

All joking aside, though, this might be worth considering for your harsh shop environment.  Dell has 3 models to choose from:

–  Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme:  $3655

–  Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme Flip Tablet:  $3649

–  Latitude 14 Rugged:  $2065

They’re not cheap, but there are definitely Rugged.  Best part is this video humorously demonstrating endurance testing of these machines:

I think we should all write Dell and ask to see one strapped to the table of an operating VMC running full flood coolant while it is cutting parts.  It would be the ultimate test of shop suitability for these machines, what do you say?

 

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