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Fully-ruggedUnique Technology

Part 7. Secret of a rugged design that can withstand falling 120 cm {48 in}

Intended as a handy computer for you to use with confidence in harsh field conditions, the Toughbook CF-U1 has to be a robust UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC). So, from every angle, it has been designed as a UMPC that can survive falls and other types of impact. In fact, to ensure that the Toughbook CF-U1 can withstand severe side or angled impact, drop tests are carried out in which it falls from a height of about 120 cm {48 in}, striking a solid concrete surface in a total of 26 orientations. A pioneer in developing strong computers you can use anywhere, Panasonic has filled this compact body with technology to make sure, even after the unit receives hard knocks, that the computer components inside will keep on working.

Secret of a rugged design that can withstand falling 120 cm (48 inch)

Enclosed main PCB (Printed Circuit Board) protected in a floating design

In a normal computer or PDA, the main PCB is usually firmly screwed into place. As a result, if the unit is dropped, along with any flexing of the case, the force of impact is transferred to the PCB. Such shocks and bending can easily cause PCB malfunctions.

The CF-U1 is different. As you can see in the exploded view on the right, the main PCB is sandwiched in a rigid magnesium alloy frame. Because of its light weight and strength, the same magnesium alloy is also used in other Toughbook PCs. Gripped between rigid magnesium alloy plates, the weak PCB does not bend. Moreover, neither the frame nor the PCB is fixed by screws. Gripped only by ribs from the rigid magnesium alloy chassis plates, the PCB is supported in a floating design. And rigid chassis itself floats in space provided between the external case and the internal frame.

This double floating design means physical shocks can only reach the PCB, after passing through two levels of play between the PCB and the exterior. In this way, external impacts are doubly dissipated. Because the interior is more effectively preserved from direct transfer of damage from the exterior, even if the unit is dropped from 120 cm {48 in}, the main PCB is protected.

CF-U1 Exploded view (How the CF-U1 is put together)

CF-U1 Exploded view (How the CF-U1 is put together)

CF-U1 Cross section

CF-U1 Cross section

Two types of plastic to withstand the shock of case impact

The case is the first line of defense against external impact. Making the most of the particular material properties of two types of plastic, the case of the CF-U1 is made from both polycarbonate and elastomer resin.

Polycarbonate resin is so strong and weatherproof that is often used for helmets and car bumpers.

By contrast, elastomer resin has excellent resilience and great tensile strength. Moreover, when impacted, molded elastomer is capable of shaking off the force and bouncing back to close to its original form. Having elastic properties and a feel similar to rubber, elastomers often feature in product design, such as in non-slip cell phone grips.

Because elastomer resin resists damage and is well able to absorb impact, it has already been used for parts of the body of the Toughbook CF-30.

Making the most of the properties of each of these plastics, the CF-U1 has a polycarbonate inner case, and a surrounding elastomer outer casing that is easy to hold. The case is designed to be tough and hard to break, at the same time, it absorbs shock and is easy to carry.

Grey polycarbonate and black elastomer resin. (Colored resin has been used to make the structure apparent.)

Grey polycarbonate and black elastomer resin. (Colored resin has been used to make the structure apparent.)

The Toughbook first: interface connector cover with locking mechanism

Intended for use outdoors, the CF-U1 has been designed to stand up to sudden showers, dust, and sand. Places such as sockets for making connections to other devices are weak points when it comes to keeping out water and particles. While this may not be a particular problem for ordinary notebook computers, for the ultra mobile CF-U1, which is meant to be used outdoors, exposed sockets are directopenings that invite interior damage.

To decrease this risk, the CF-U1 has a secure interface cover. Naturally, all the previous fully-rugged Toughbook models also had covers. In these, the interlocking parts of the cover are generously coated with resilient resin to ensure firm contact and excellent sealing. The CF-U1, however, is designed to be an ultra mobile computer for general use in even more challenging environments. It needs a cover with even more confident sealing.

So, a new type of cover was developed. Now, to close the cover, you operate a catch that slides the cover into position and securely locks it in place. You can be confident of effective sealing.

Interface connector cover with locking mechanism

Besides providing a better seal, the use of a cover that does not open with a simple pull prevents exposure of the CF-U1 connector sockets. With a locking mechanism, in typical field usage where units may be worn on a belt and some knocking about is not unusual, you can be sure that the cover will not accidentally open.

Ultra mobile PCs must first of all be highly portable. The CF-U1 does this. Then, by adding toughness, it ensures you can use it just about wherever you might want to take it. This latest Toughbook inherits all the know-how and experience gained in developing a long line of fully-rugged Toughbook PCs.

* The shock resistance, vibration resistance, dust-proof, and splash-proof performance do not guarantee that the product can be operated without damage or malfunction.

For further information about our products, how to purchase them and more, please visit the website of your region.

Specification and configuration may vary depending on country. Accessories may vary depending on your mobile PC configuration.
Specifications subject to change without notice.
Consult a Panasonic sales office near you for more details and availability of integrated options.

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