If the nature of your business requires your employees to work from the field or in cold storage areas, then, investing in rugged tablets that are optimized for use in cold temperatures is one of the best business decisions you can make.

For most consumer gadgets, the lowest operating temperate is usually 32 F or 0 Degree Celsius. Therefore, during winter or cold seasons when snow, ice, and moisture stuff the environment, the normal consumer gadgets will most likely malfunction.

Using the wrong devices to run your business negatively affects the productivity of your employees, leads to prolonged downtime, and ultimately causes your revenues to decrease.

Rugged tablets are specially designed to withstand prolonged use in cold environments and handle drastic temperature changes better than consumer tablets. They are built with specialized technology that prevents the screens from fogging up and have protective port covers that prevent corrosion of internal parts. The operating temperature of rugged tablets ranges from – 4 F to 140 F an equivalent of -20 Degree Celsius to 60 Degree Celsius.

In this article, we are going to discuss how a cold environment affects mobile computing devices and the reasons why rugged tablets are best suited for use in cold environments.

 

How Does Cold Affect Mobile Computing Equipment?

Cold environments are often characterized by cold air, frost, moisture, and condensation. These elements pose challenges that negatively affect the performance of mobile computing devices as discussed below:

  1. Condensation

Condensation makes the screens and barcode readers impossible to use. When employees are working in cold storage units, condensation can form on the display when they move to warmer sections. When they enter the cold storage area again, the condensation can freeze and cause frost to build-up. When this happens, it becomes impossible for employees to use the touch screen to enter or retrieve needed data.

Condensation is even more problematic when it occurs inside the screen or scan window. Internal condensation is not easily cleared and therefore can cause internal components to corrode, short-circuit, and fail, making the device unusable until it is repaired or replaced.

 

  1. Frost

Just like condensation, frost makes the screens and the barcode readers unusable. Employees are therefore forced to result in manual data entry which minimizes their productivity and increases the chances of human error.

 

  1. Battery

When temperatures drop to a certain level, the batteries of the mobile devices do not release enough energy to power up the device. This means that the device cannot be used continuously and optimally and the overall productivity of the worker will be affected.

 

  1. Moisture

In a cold environment, moisture happens to be in plenty. If the mobile device being used is not water-resistant, then the chances that it will be damaged in such environments are high.

 

  1. Insulation

If the device is being used in a cold storage, the insulation material used in the cold rooms can interfere with the transmission of radio waves making communication impossible.

 

Reasons Why Rugged Tablets Are Best Suited for Use in Cold Temperatures

To overcome the above problems and to ensure your business operations are not interrupted, a superior device such as a rugged tablet is necessary. Let’s see how rugged tablets are specialized for use in cold temperatures.

  1. Internal Heaters

Rugged tablets are fitted with internal heaters in order to enable them to operate efficiently in cold environments. The Internal heaters warm the components of the tablet to an acceptable operating level and eliminate condensation that forms due to temperature changes.

The problem with condensation is that it fogs the display and the barcode scanners rendering them unusable. A rugged tablet with an internal heater is therefore essential for tasks that are primarily performed in cold environments or those that require moving in and out of cold storage areas.

 

  1. Battery

Standard mobile devices mostly use Li-Ion batteries. In extremely cold temperatures the common Li-Ion batteries do not release charge, making the powered device unusable until the battery is warmed. Li-Ion batteries tend to completely fail when temperatures reach -30°C (-22°F).

Some rugged tablets are fitted with Low-impedance lithium-ion batteries specially formulated for use in cold temperatures.  These batteries continue to release their charge at colder temperatures than most standard battery models.

 

  1. Water-Resistant

One major characteristic of a cold environment is water. Whether it is in form of snow, ice, or moisture it can still cause damage to devices that are not water-resistant.

Most rugged tablets are built to withstand the damage caused by water. However, the level at which they can withstand damage from external factors varies. This is usually determined by the Ingress Protection (IP) rating. This is a rating that tells how well a device is protected against various environmental conditions. IP is a two-digit rating. The first digit indicates how well the device is sealed against particles and the second digit shows how well the device is protected against water.

A rugged tablet that is rated IP65 or higher is regarded as appropriate for use in cold environments. These tablets can withstand dust and water and internal moisture.

 

  1. Touchscreen that can be used with gloves

In cold temperatures, your employees will mostly be wearing gloves.  Many rugged tablets have touch screens that can be used with the gloves on.  Some have a glove-friendly layout where the keys are large and well-spaced out. The ability to keep your gloves on while working makes rugged tablets an excellent tool for use in cold areas.

Businesses no longer have to compromise on functionality and business continuity because of the environmental factors. Using rugged tablets specially designed to withstand extremely cold temperatures and seamlessly transition between cold and warm temperatures, will minimize downtime and increase productivity.