Intrinsically Safe Laptop and Tablet PC Guide

For computer users working in hazardous areas where vapors, airborne particles or sources of combustion such as electrical sparks or heat have the potential to create an explosive environment, an intrinsically safe laptop is an absolute requirement.

Whether the device is a laptop, tablet, PC or notebook, states, municipalities, federal authorities and many types of industries require that equipment being used in areas of risk be explosion proof—that is, designed in a way that it cannot be a potential source of combustion.

This guide will describe the tests and certifications required for operation of PCs and tablets in hazardous areas and help you understand what to look for in an intrinsically safe laptop.

When selecting an intrinsically safe laptop, consider the following key standards in order to guarantee the safest solution possible:

  • ANSI standards compliance
  • IP65 certification
  • Haz Loc certification for devices used around flammable gases or liquid-produced vapors

ANSI Standards for Intrinsic Safety

ANSI standards established by the American National Standards Institute provide, among many other standards, numbered levels that indicate requirements for the use of a device in a specific environment. When it comes to intrinsic safety provided by your laptop or tablet PC, the ANSI hazardous location rating involves limits achieved in the device including:

  • Energy in circuits
  • Temperature (heat)
  • Sparks
  • Electrical arcs

ANSI standards designate that devices can be used in potentially explosive environments. Fully-rugged Toughbook mobile computers can be configured to provide safe, reliable solutions for spark-free use.

Toughbook models are available that adhere to ANSI compliant equipment, circuits, and components designed specifically for use in hazardous locations the National Electrical Code (NEC) classifies as Class I and II, Division 2 and Class III, Divisions 1 and 2.

Divisions define the likelihood of the hazardous material being present in a flammable concentration while classes refine the types of substances, placing them into groups of hazardous or flammable materials.

  • Division 1 indicates hazards that exist under normal, everyday conditions due to frequent repairs and maintenance or common equipment failures.
  • Division 2 indicates hazards that are normally isolated in closed containers or systems which escape due to accidental rupture or breakdown.

Fully-rugged Toughbooks meet ANSI standards and are designated as IP65 certified. This means they have been tested by national independent third party lab following MIL-STD-810G Method 516.6 Procedure IV for transit drop test and IEC 60529 Sections 13.4, 13.6.2, 14.2.5 and 14.3 for IP65.

Panasonic Toughbooks meet a number of federally-required certifications for intrinsically safe computers. To discuss ANSI standards required for your industry or workplace, please contact 1-877-532-8088.

Haz Loc Certification

The origin of Hazardous Locations Product Certification or Haz Loc certification dates back to mining accidents, in particular a tragic 1913 explosion that killed more than 400 miners in Wales. The explosion was linked to a pair of bare wires that operated the bell in a signaling system.

Now a standard used around the world, Haz Loc tests are conducted approximately two million times annually to establish certification and compliance for an array of products. Haz Loc testing is performed for devices used in numerous industries including but not limited to:

  • Mining
  • Oil drilling and refining
  • Utility companies, including power and gas districts
  • Distilleries
  • Military
  • Manufacturing companies including food, pharmaceuticals, auto and chemical
  • Airline
  • Storage of combustibles such as fuel, fertilizer and feed

Evaluation and performance tests are conducted by certification-authorized organizations, and after successful testing, manufacturers may apply a “listing mark” also known as an ETL to indicate that it has been tested in an Electrical Testing Laboratory. This may also be referred to as a “field label.”

During the course of testing, field evaluations may be conducted to determine safety compliance in:

  • Risk of shock, fire and mechanical hazard
  • Evaluation of construction and performance testing

When testing laptops and other devices for Haz Loc compliance, the certifying authority looks at:

  • A description of how the product was constructed to comply with certification
  • Drawings and diagrams for the device
  • The device itself
  • Device components and sub-components
  • Product manuals and other information

While Panasonic Toughbooks are Haz Loc certified, not all laptops and tablet PCs on the market pass the test. Failure of other brand’s devices may involve:

  • Some of the internal components fail testing, for example, by exceeding acceptable temperatures
  • The wiring methods including seals for cables are non-compliant
  • Fluid seals that protect against flammable materials fail the test.

Panasonic Toughbooks are designed for use in hazardous locations.

Whether you are using your touch screen on a convertible PC to tablet Toughbook, such as the fully-rugged Toughbook 19 in its durable aluminum alloy case, or your Android Tablet with its secure functionality, rest assured that you can take your device just about anywhere.

Fully-rugged Toughbooks are intrinsically safe, having achieved Haz Loc certification for the elimination of emission of dangerous sparks through their electromagnetic compatibility with nearby devices.

View this report describing successful testing of a Panasonic Toughbook CF-19 in an explosive environment.

With their compliance to ANSI Hazardous Location Classes and Divisions, fully-Rugged Panasonic Toughbooks will function safely while keeping you compliant with the latest governmental or industry requirements.

It goes without saying Toughbooks are durable, high performing, and easy to use. But when safety standards demand the best, Panasonic Toughbooks comply.

Added to the Toughbook’s dependable intrinsic safety features is free, 24x7, 365 day per year phone support, available everywhere as long as you own your Toughbook.

Call 1-877-532-8088 to find out more about how intrinsically safe Toughbooks can help you meet your organization’s safety, durability and performance requirements.

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