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UL 1604 Testing

Toughbook® mobile computers go beyond UL60950 testing to achieve UL 1604 certification. UL 1604 certification assures safe operation in areas where potentially explosive or flammable substances may be present.

UL 1604 is a higher-level certification awarded only to information technology products that are already UL 60950-compliant. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) assures that products meeting its UL 1604 standard can be safely operated where specific potentially flammable or explosive materials may be present. To earn UL 1604 certification, Toughbook® computers are tested by Underwriters Laboratories to meet four basic criteria: spark ignition, warning markings, temperature (T-rating), and drop testing.

Sparks can be highly dangerous in the presence of specific flammable gases, vapors or liquids. Though there is always a certain level of spark, UL testing confirms these static discharges will not produce ignition of specific flammable gases. Spark ignition-also known as non-incendive component-testing is vital to users such as oil, gas and chemical companies. Underwriters Laboratories tests for the potential of spark ignition by placing circuits in a gas chamber environment and exposing them to specific types of gas. Any component that may emit a charge is subject to this test, including hard drives, keyboards and power switches. For protection beyond UL 1604, Panasonic offers custom-designed leather cases for some Toughbook models, so that if a unit is dropped, any static discharge will be safely insulated against exposure to flammable substances.

To comply with UL 1604, warning markings must be placed on the product, near connectors, to warn against connecting or disconnecting devices or batteries while in gas environments. While some computer manufacturers place their warnings on the bottom of the unit-where they are rarely seen during normal use-Panasonic prominently positions all warning labels where they are most visible to the user.

The UL temperature-or T-rating-measures the heat generated by active devices. UL requires equipment operating at a temperature higher than 100°C (212°F) based on a 40°C (104°F) ambient temperature be marked with a maximum operating temperature warning. Since Panasonic Toughbook mobile computers are engineered to operate at cooler temperatures, they have no UL restrictions on use in warmer settings.

UL 1604 certification also requires a drop test to assure that parts will not loosen or fall out if the unit accidentally drops. Some parts, including batteries, could cause a spark if abruptly disconnected. Toughbook computers, with their rugged design, can withstand drops of up to 6 feet. Furthermore, by providing the option to wrap the entire unit in a custom leather case, Panasonic provides additional protection by ensuring the unit itself cannot cause sparks when dropped.

Panasonic's long-running commitment to safety has resulted in products, like Toughbook mobile computers, that exceed UL 1604 requirements, ensuring the safety of both users and the general public.

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