Commercial tablets get industrial enclosures

Making tablets rugged: Industrial-grade environmental protection can help ruggedize and protect Apple iPad, Google Android, and other tablet computers.

March 25, 2013

Apple iPads, Google Android, and Microsoft OS tablets are finding their way into industrial applications but are ill-suited for rugged environments. Options to protect those assets are available from industrial enclosure manufacturers and also from commercial-grade suppliers, some with experience in protecting smartphones. Recent offerings follow.

Integrated control system

AndOnMobile Cell is described as a lean, Power over Ethernet-based manufacturing system for work cells and stations where Andon systems and operational equipment effectiveness (OEE) systems are required. The rugged, pre-integrated enclosure with an Apple iPad is plug-and-play, using a standard Cat6e cable. The application allows the Apple devices to communicate wirelessly and directly to Rockwell Automation processors without third-party drivers or annual licensing fees. 

Upstanding protection

The Hoffman Tablet Enclosure houses and supports a tablet device for a user interface application. A modern industrial, ruggedized design is secure and reliable protection for an Apple iPad. The single modular unit enables easy transportation and flexible application; it collapses into five pieces with a tool-less assembly for ease of use and mobility. It can be used freestanding, be bolted to the floor, or be assembled with a caster kit. The enclosure’s secure bracket and ACCO Kensington lock safeguards the device. For mobile applications, the Hoffman Tablet Carrying Case provides lightweight protection against dust, rain, shock, vibration, and other harsh environmental factors. 

Turn tablet into rugged laptop

The iKey StreetCase transforms an Apple iPad into a rugged laptop. (See photo at bottom.) With the click of a button, an iPad easily locks into the durable ABS polycarbonate case, giving the user the protection of an industrial-grade solution at a fraction of the cost. When closed, the StreetCase fully shields the iPad from drops, vibration, extreme temperatures, and submersion in water without harming the tablet. An integrated Bluetooth-compatible iKey keyboard is sealed to withstand the elements. With three levels of red LED backlight, it can always be seen clearly, even during nighttime use. The keyboard has a micro USB charging port built into the case and can be used for 2 months on one charge. The case can be locked to prevent theft of the Apple iPad. When in the field, the StreetCase can be carried with a robust handle or optional shoulder strap. 

Bangs, bumps, spills, straps

The LifeProof case for Apple iPad protects the device from bangs, bumps, and drops; rain, snow, and spills; and even dirt, mud, and dust. Among available products is the LifeProof nüüd Case & Cover/Stand for Apple iPad Gen 2/3/4. An array of LifeProof iPad accessories includes a strap pack or LifeProof LifeJacket. 

Waterproof enclosure, screen protector

A Proteus Waterproof iPad Enclosure from iPadEnclosures LLC, an ArmorActive Company, protects an Apple iPad from the elements. It has enclosed power routing, and a protective and fully responsive screen protector. The enclosure is constructed of milled aluminum, lined with padding to protect the tablet, and includes Vesa 100 x 100 mm and 75 x 75 mm hole pattern for mounting.

It can be mounted to stands or flush/wall mounted while the power cord is plugged in. 

– Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, Plant Engineering, and Consulting-Specifying Engineer,

Online extra

More products

Also see: Mobile HMI software, hardware in a preprogrammed package