MIL-STD-810G is something you often see referred to when it comes to rugged technology. Companies will claim MIL-STD-810G designed, certified, and tested, but what exactly does that mean? What is MIL-STD-810G?
Not surprisingly, MIL-STD refers to Military Standard. MIL-STD-810G is a set of tests performed on a piece of equipment in order for the Department of Defense (DoD) to consider using that equipment in any military application. Notice we said equipment and not technology. While computer technology such as tablets must pass MIL-STD-810G standards to be considered by the DoD, these tests are by no means exclusive to computers. Tanks, body armor, and many other types of equipment used by the military are tested using at least part of MIL-STD-810G in one form or another.
What does that mean for civilian equipment that claims MIL-STD-810G? That depends on the equipment itself. MIL-STD-810G covers a broad spectrum of tests, ranging in everything from waterproofing to gunfire shock. Most civilian equipment will never need to survive gunfire, so that’s one test that isn’t often performed.
MIL-STD-810G focuses mostly on a few tests designed for a more rugged purpose than consumer-grade technology/equipment. Some of the commonly used tests are for temperature, humidity, sand and dust, rain, shock, and vibration; chief among these is shock.
Shock is commonly used MIL-STD-810G test. For tablets, it’s performed by dropping the tablet on every side, face, edge, and corner onto 2-inch plywood over concrete – that’s the most common interpretation. MIL-STD-810G is written out in an 800-page semi-specific document, defining every test, procedure, and data collection method that is to be used for the standard. While extremely detailed, it’s also fairly vague…Contradictory, we know. If you’d like to read through the entire document, here is a link where you can download the spec. For our purpose, here’s an example for the shock test:
“Perform the shock test at the selected level, and examine the recorded data to assure the test is
While it's very specific about how to test the device and how to collect data, it doesn’t specify what "level," or how high to drop the equipment from. It just says “selected level,” which leaves it up to each organization to interpret how they choose. A piece of technology could easily be MIL-STD-810G certified, but only for a 1-foot drop. That’s unimpressive by nearly every standard.
When a company claims MIL-STD-810G, it’s important to check the fine print and see exactly how their equipment was tested. A few questions to ask include, what height did they drop it from and which tests were actually performed. It’s wise to take a close look at all the qualifications/certifications the company claims and research how they went about their testing.
At MobileDemand, we’re transparent about how we test our rugged tablets and rugged cases. We drop them from a minimum of 4 feet onto the standard 2-inch plywood over concrete. We drop our technology on ever face, side, edge, corner, and surface, for a total of 26 drops; and we videotape it, so you can see just how we test our products.
We maintain that same transparency on every test for our rugged tablets and our rugged cases. Whether we're testing the IP rating or the durability of our screens, we're completely transparent - not only about how we test our products, but regarding the results of each test. It’s better that we catch potential imperfections in the design in a lab where we can fix them, rather than having our customers deal with them out in the field.
Why are we so upfront about our tests? Because we Demand More. Will you?