Rugged Devices for Construction

Written by LetsBuild

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The construction site can surely be a tough place for electronic for equipment, tools, and electronics. Construction workers have to deal with a combination of various environmental conditions that very few other jobs share. Specialized equipment is becoming necessary these days. The use of rugged technologies can significantly decrease the risk on the construction site and guarantee a smoother management of the whole project. So what is a “rugged device?” These are tools, equipment, and devices that endure extreme elements and also the tough handling that goes with work being done in construction.

It’s clear, then, that working in construction isn’t a walk in the park. That’s why, rugged technologies are indispensable to minimize the existing risk on a plethora of different parameters. Rugged equipment could be defined as hardware technology which is built to function under extreme circumstances. Despite the fact that there are no specific criteria about them, there are three different ruggedization levels:

a. Semi-rugged (business-rugged): It refers to hardware, that is commercial and easily acquired off-the-shelf. Such examples could be a rugged laptop or mobile device which have significantly higher protection levels than typically.

b. Fully-rugged: The level of ruggedization is quite higher in this case, where the hardware is consisted only of non-moving parts providing a higher level of resistance towards any extreme conditions.

c. Ultra-rugged: Military level ruggedized hardware which can remain unaffected even under the toughest possible circumstances (eg. blizzard).

Regardless of the ruggedization levels, there are many different and quite impressive applications of rugged technologies. We will try to focus on remarkable devices that serve different purposes on construction site and make easier and safer the design and conduction of the projects.

– SuitX Modular Agile eXoskeleton

The SuitX eXoskeleton can be the solution to many problems that construction workers face daily on the site. It offers great flexibility while at the same time protecting those who wear it from musculoskeletal problems. There are four different kinds of industrial exoskeleton and depending on your needs you can choose to protect either your whole body or parts of it such as back, legs and shoulders.

Rugged exoskeleton
legX Exoskeleton

One of their key characteristics is that they are able to reduce muscle force up to 50%, as they offer assistance in lifting, squatting and bending. Thanks to this, productivity is significantly boosted and injury risk is decreased. Exoskeleton is mainly aimed to construction and factory workers but the Phoenix version is also available in order to help those with mobility problems.

Daqri Smart Helmet

The augmented reality hard hat, designed by Daqri, is the next thing on our list and we have to admit that it looks very cool. It’s specially built for professionals working in construction sites, water treatment plants and oil rigs. The goal is again boosting productivity and efficiency without neglecting safety. A number of sensors and cameras are being used in order to collect in real time important information about the environment that surrounds construction workers.

Smart Helmet – DAQRI

By incorporating building information modeling software, smart helmets allow people who wear them to examine the interior of various structural components (eg. pipe). This element brings a revolution on the field due to the countless information that are becoming accessible. A new and safer era is surely arriving in construction.

Rugged Cameras and Camera Systems

Camera systems for construction sites are part of the rugged devices, as well. Their main difference with the regular cameras is, of course, the level of protection that they have. A rugged camera system can undergo any kind of environmental conditions (eg. extreme temperatures) and it’s also water, pressure and shock resistant. Construction web cameras have the ability to supervise the on-going activity on site and to provide time-lapse video and incredible zooming.

Rugged Webcameras
Multivista Webcam

In general, rugged camera systems are a valuable construction tool as they allow you to stay up to date with everything that’s going on during the project in real time.

Rugged Total Stations:

Rugged total station
Leica Nova TS60

Total stations are instruments used in construction in order to measure angles and distance by integrating an electronic distance meter with an electronic theodolite. The technology around total stations is truly amazing, since it provides to professionals working in construction the ability to convert complicated data into functional and detailed 3D models. The ruggedized total stations have no problem in adjusting to the craziest environmental conditions and remain totally focused regardless of any potential on site distractions. Last but not least, the self-learning technology that comes with ruggedized total stations raises the bar of effectiveness and functionality even more.

Rugged Technologies:

Rugged technologies are part of a pretty broad concept, that covers a wide range of equipment used in construction. In short, we could divide rugged technologies to the following categories:

a. Embedded Systems: This category concerns computing products, such as graphic and video cards, sensor and image processing and mission ready systems. They can be used for construction, military or industrial purposes.

b. Test Instruments: Systems that are capable of measuring different elements like temperature, vibration and voltage.

c. Rugged Servers: Designed to function under the toughest environmental circumstances (eg. heat/freeze temperatures, fog) and dust, sand and salt resistant.

Rugged Vehicles:

Rugged Vehicle
Rugged Vehicle

A quite self-explained category that is more than indispensable in construction. Rugged vehicles can carry extremely high loads, while providing impressive fuel efficiency at the same time. Moreover, their robust design allows them to move with no problems off-road. This is a vital parameter in construction where the ground can be really rough and precision is a must. Lastly, rugged vehicles have great flexibility due to their components which can keep going with no problem under the most challenging conditions.

Rugged Smartwatches:

Rugged Smartwatch
The Mission – Nixon

When you’re working on the construction site, you have to keep good track of time and make sure that everything runs according to the time-schedule. That’s why, a good rugged smartwatch sounds like a pretty good idea. An example of a solid smartwatch is Nixon’s new release, called The Mission. It may not have the slimmest design, but it has military level shock and dust resistance. Its bezel is made out of stainless steel in order to offer extra protection towards any kind of screen damage. So if you feel like wandering around the construction site, make sure you buy one of those.

Rugged Laptops/Mobiles/Tablets:

Laptops, mobiles and tablets belong almost to the same family with smartwatches. Having your electronic devices on the construction site can be very dangerous, so a ruggedized version of them is necessary.

Starting with laptops, there are both fully and semi-rugged versions of them. All depend on the level of protection that you wish to have for your electronic devices. In any case, rugged laptops can undergo harsh environmental conditions and damages that could come of hard use.

Tablets are also very delicate devices which have to be protected, when used on a construction site. Thankfully, there are ruggedized tablets today which are unbelievably resistant. Hardened screen glass, fortified frames and soft corner bumpers are only a few traits that make rugged tablets invincible.

A rugged smartphone can be a valuable ally for anyone who has a demanding work on a construction site. Ruggedized mobiles obtain a military level resistance against water, vibration, shock and greatly high or low temperatures.

By now, it’s very clear that working on a construction site entails a bunch of dangers for any kind of equipment. Ruggedized technology has offered a great help to construction workers in order to stay ahead of risk and increase efficiency, while reducing cost.