How rugged are your products?

Using MIL-STD 810 to improve the durability and ruggedness of commercial products.

Although it was developed by the United States military, MIL-STD-810 is a test methodology that is used by many manufacturers now, regardless of whether they plan to sell to the U.S. Department of Defense.

MIL-STD-810G allows for tailoring an equipment’s environmental design and test limits to the conditions that it will experience, also known as ruggedizing a product.

Depending on the ruggedness requirement of a product (dictated by where and how it will be used), models have different pass criteria.

Industry Example
Within the computer laptop industry, three marketing categories are used to characterize the durability of business laptops: business-rugged, semi-rugged, and fully rugged.

While these categories are not fully defined, they are generally separated by the number of MIL-STD tests passed and the severity of the testing parameters.

Business-Rugged
A business-rugged laptop will typically feature a magnesium alloy chassis with shock-resistant hard drives and spill resistant keyboards. They are tested for shock, vibration, drops, low pressure, blowing sand, low/high temperatures, humidity, liquid spill and domestic dust.

Semi-Rugged
Semi-rugged devices feature additional protection including display protection, outdoor viewable display and port covers. They go through the same tests as business-rugged laptops, but are exposed for a longer test period, or have higher pass criteria.

Fully Rugged
Fully rugged laptops have to survive the most extreme conditions. These systems must withstand higher drops, more vibration, temperature shocks, intense rain, salted fog, explosive atmosphere, blowing sand/dust and function at a wider range of temperatures than less rugged devices.


What MIL-STD 810 test methods are commonly used to “ruggedize” products?

MIL-STD 810 is used by both the U.S. military and industry to assure that the design and test limits of equipment match the various stressors and environmental conditions it will face in actual use. Most fully rugged systems have passed variety of other certifications such as IP-65 for ingress protection, ANSI/ISA 12.12.01 for hazardous locations, and MIL-STD-461F for resistance to electromagnetic interference. Some of the most common MIL-STD 810 test methods used to ruggedize equipment includes:

Transit Drop Test
Used to determine the structural and functional integrity of the materiel to a transit drop in its transit or combination case.

Blowing Rain Test
The effectiveness of protective covers, cases, and seals in preventing the penetration of water into the material.

The capability of the material to satisfy its performance requirements during and after exposure to water

Any physical deterioration of the material caused by the rain

The effectiveness of any water removal system

The effectiveness of protection offered to a packaged material

Vibration Test
Address most of the life cycle vibrations likely to be experienced by the materiel as well as verify that material will function in and withstand the vibration exposures of a life cycle.

Humidity Test
Used to determine the resistance of material to the effects of a warm, humid atmosphere as well as surface effects, changes in material properties, condensation and free water.

Low Temperature Test
Used to obtain data to help evaluate effects of low temperature conditions on material safety, integrity, and performance.

High Temperature Exposure Test
Used to obtain data to help evaluate effects of high temperature conditions on material safety, integrity, and performance.

Sand and Dust Resistance Test
Dust: This test is performed to help evaluate the ability of material to resist the effects of dust that may obstruct openings, penetrate into cracks, crevices, bearings, and joints, and to evaluate the effectiveness of filters.

USand: This test is performed to help evaluate the ability of material to be stored and operated in blowing sand conditions without degrading performance, effectiveness, reliability, and maintainability due to abrasion (erosion) or clogging effects of large, sharp-edged particles.

Altitude Test
Used to evaluate materiel likely to be stored and/or operated at high ground elevation sites, transported or operated in pressurized or unpressurized areas of aircraft, exposed to a rapid or explosive decompression, or carried externally on aircraft.

Temperature Shock Test
Used to determine if material can withstand sudden changes in the temperature of the surrounding atmosphere without physical damage or deterioration in performance.


Learn more about Rugged Testing and tailoring design criteria to environmental conditions at our 2017 Global Compliance Seminar featuring presentations on Design for Product Safety Compliance, Design for EMC Compliance, ENERGY STAR program, MIL EMC Testing, Design for Reliability and Safety Considerations for Photonics-based product design. Click below to register or learn more.

If you have an immediate need for MIL-STD 810,Ingress Protection, MIL-STD 461, or HALT testing Contact us for help in creating a rugged product test plan, or submit a request for testing.