MIL-STD-810G Designed, Certified & Tested: What Does That Mean?
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?
MIL-STD, which stands for Military Standard, is a set of tests performed on a piece of equipment in order for the Department of Defense (DoD) to make sure it can withstand the harsh undertakings of a military endeavor. It is essential that the equipment is completely reliable under these stresses to ensure safety and success.
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.
MIL-STD-810G covers a broad spectrum of tests, ranging from temperature, humidity, sand and dust, rain, vibration, and, most commonly used, shock. In the consumer business world these MIL tests, specifically the drop test for shock, are designed to measure the durability of the equipment, not if it can withstand battlefield conditions.
To test a tablet for shock, the device is dropped on every side, face, edge, and corner onto 2-inch plywood over concrete- that's the most common interpretation. At the end of the drop test, the tablet must be fully functional with no significant damage. 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--read the entire document here. For our purpose, the following is an example for the shock test from the document:
“Perform the shock test at the selected level, and examine the recorded data to assure the test is within tolerance.”
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 while using the allowed 5 different devices. 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. MobileDemand tests a single device on every face, side, edge, corner, and surface, for a total of 26 drops, from a minimum of 4 feet onto the standard 2-inch plywood over concrete. We pride ourselves on our transparency on every test of our rugged tablets and our rugged cases, videotaping each drop so you can see just exactly how our devices are tested. We are committed to providing our customers with the highest quality in regards to ruggedness, durability, and performance.
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.