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What are IP and STD-MIL ratings?

IP and MIL-STD, what are they? They are standards that guarantee the reliability of devices, making sure they can survive much more than standard phones. In order to comply with IP and MIL-STD ratings, RugGear’s devices are purpose built to perform in extreme conditions. To ensure their reliability and performance, all devices are rigorously tested for compliance to both, IP and MIL-STD-810 standards.

What do these acronyms stand for? And more importantly, what difference do they make to your device? This article will explain the two important terms, and what they mean for your rugged phone.

International Protection (IP) ratings

There are many mobile devices which are marketed as ‘waterproof’ and ‘unbreakable’, however there are vague marketing terms and can be misleading for customers. The International Protection (IP rating) was drawn up by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) to provide users with more useful information on exactly how resistant a device is to water and solid materials, such as dirt, dust and sand. The code consists of the letters IP followed by two digits, the combination of which classifies the degrees of protection provided against the intrusion of solid materials (including body parts, tools, wires dust) and water in electrical enclosures. Ruggear devices generally have an IP rating of IP68. This would mean, referring to the table underneath that the 6 signifies that the device is fully effective against solid materials including dust, while the 8 shows it is guaranteed waterproof in up to 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes.

Protection against solids – what does the first digit of an IP rating mean?

Level Effective against Description
  - No protection
1 >50 mm Any large surface of the body, such as the back of a hand, but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part.
2 >12.5 mm Fingers or similar objects.
3 >2.5 mm Tools, thick wires, etc.
4 >1 mm Most wires, slender screws, large ants etc.
5 Dust protected Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment.
6 Dust tight No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact (dust tight). A vacuum must be applied. Test duration of up to 8 hours based on air flow.

Waterproof rating – what does the second digit of an IP rating mean?

Level Effective against Description
  - No protection
1 Dripping Water Dripping water (vertically falling drops) shall have no harmfull effect.
2 Dripping water when tilted at 15° Vertically dripping water shall have no harmful effect when the enclosure is tilted at an angle of 15° from its normal position.
3 Spraying water Water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical shall have no harmful effect.
4 Splashing of water Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect.
5 Water jets Water projected by a nozzle (6.3 mm) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.
6 Powerful water jets Water projected in powerful jets (12.5 mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.
7 Immersion, up to 1 m depth Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion).
8 Immersion, 1 m or more depth The equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer. However, with certain types of equipment, it can mean that water can enter but only in such a manner that it produces no harmful effects.

Additionally, there can be cases where a product has only been certified for solid or waterproof protection, only one value is provided, with the uncertified value marked with an ‘X’. For example:

  • IP5X : means that the device has been certified dust resistant but is not protected against water
  • IPX6 : means that the device has been certified to protect against powerful water jets, but not against solids, including dust

MIL-STD-810 rating

The MIL-STD rating is a standard used by the US military, to determine and accredit whether equipment is suitable for use in military applications. Products that meet the MIL-STD ratings are said to be ‘military grade’, a categorisation which can be extended to the majority of RugGear devices. MIL-STD-810 addresses a hugely broad range of environmental conditions that include: low pressure for altitude testing; exposure to high and low temperatures plus temperature shock (both operating and in storage); rain (including wind blown and freezing rain); humidity, fungus, salt fog for rust testing; sand and dust exposure; explosive atmosphere; leakage; acceleration; shock and transport shock; gunfire vibration; and random vibration.

The rigorous testing regiment for the military grade classification includes a ‘drop test’, consisting of 26 drops from a height of 4 feet, testing drops at many different angles, with the phones inspected for damage after each drop. The other most strenuous test is ‘temperature shock test’, where the device is firstly stored, and later operated in extremely hot and cold temperatures. This test involves putting the device in a temperature loop between at temperatures of -40℃ and +70℃, for 30 minutes each, and repeating this loop 32 times.

Why are these certifications important?

The two certifications provide consumers with confidence in the device they are purchasing, and the assurance is magnified when the two complementary standards are met in conjunction. Whilst the STD-MIL-810 rating ensures durability against extreme shock and temperature, the IP68 rating ensures protection from small particles, especially dust and water, entering and compromising the device functionality. Having a phone that meets both IP68 and military specifications provides the user with enormous confidence in the integrity and durability of the product design.

All RugGear models meet both IP and STD-MIL-810 ratings, so users of RugGear phones can rest assured that their device will perform, and continue to perform, in the most hostile of working environments.