Panasonic Toughbook® mobile computers are designed to handle almost any situation-from business-rugged computers that withstand bangs, bumps and spillage, to fully-rugged that can survive extreme conditions, such as drops up to six feet, rain, oil, pressure, dust and extraordinary swings in temperature.
Panasonic has a long track record of investing heavily in research and development of high quality materials, innovative technologies and highly sophisticated, vertically integrated manufacturing facilities. By coupling these investments with a rigorous testing process, Panasonic continues to achieve legendary status for durable, reliable mobile computers.
For mobile computer users, computer failure is not an option. Downtime results in lost productivity and costly repair expenses.
Panasonic Toughbook® mobile computers rarely fail. In fact, Toughbook mobile computers are nearly ten times more reliable than standard business laptops. PC Magazine, in its May 2011 issue, reported an industry average failure rate of 15%. Panasonic's service records (as of June 2011, for units in and out of warranty) show an average annual failure rate of only 2.4% for Toughbook mobile computers.*
The proven reliability and low failure rate of Toughbook computers begin in the factory. Panasonic is the only major computer manufacturer that engineers, builds and tests its own products. By producing most of the components in-house, Panasonic is able to assure quality, consistency and parts availability throughout the manufacturing process and during the warranty period that follows.
Low Failure Rates: The annual failure rate of Toughbook mobile computers is 6 times less than the industry average.*
World-class Support: Laptop magazine gave Panasonic an "A+" for phone support in their July, 2008 issue, citing that "the company's 24/7 phone support was swift, informative, and efficient."
Lower failure rates translate to less downtime, fewer repair expenses and a lower total cost of ownership. Compared to commercial-grade laptops, Panasonic Toughbook mobile computers average better than 15% lower total cost of ownership. Over the life of a typical mobile computer, that adds up to savings of hundreds of dollars, plus a better overall user experience.
On the rare occasion when a Toughbook computer does fail, Panasonic's industry benchmark service and support system assures the repair time will be minimal. Panasonic offers award-winning technical support and an array of warranty services, including priority overnight exchange of user-replaceable parts. Laptop magazine gave Panasonic an "A+" for phone support in their July, 2008 issue, citing that "the company's 24/7 phone support was swift, informative, and efficient."
*Comparing Panasonic actual data for Toughbook laptops to PC Magazine reader-reported data for competitors.
Panasonic controls virtually the entire manufacturing process, from design through delivery. Unlike most computer manufacturers, Panasonic builds many of the critical components in its products and assembles them at its own facilities using Panasonic-built robotics and internally developed processes.
For example, Panasonic internally sources all major components except for CPUs and hard drives. Panasonic is the only wireless mobile computer manufacturer that designs and manufactures its own antenna, which exceeds the leading carriers' wireless network requirements. And Panasonic operates one of the world's largest anechoic chambers in the industry. By precisely measuring the amount of electromagnetic radiation produced by Toughbook mobile computers, anechoic chamber testing enables engineers to maximize wireless performance.
Toughbook® mobile computers are designed completely in-house and are manufactured at Panasonic's ISO-9001 and ISO-14001 certified facility in Kobe, Japan and Panasonic's IS-14001 certified AVC facility in Taiwan. By retaining control of design, sourcing, manufacturing and fabrication, Panasonic obtains the highest level of quality, reliability and performance for its customers. This in turn results in lower total cost of ownership and greater return on investment for buyers of Toughbook® products.
Panasonic's Kobe factory illustrates the precision involved in manufacturing Toughbook computers:
- Everything is engineered to maximize quality and efficiency and to respond rapidly to market needs. All critical operations—from mounting components on circuit boards to assembly, testing, packaging and shipping—are performed under one roof.
- Some of the world's fastest robotic equipment (also built by Panasonic) is used to mount more than 1,000 electronic components with high-precision onto circuit boards. Each component is optically inspected using image recognition technology prior to its placement on the circuit board.
- Each individual circuit board is tested multiple times during the manufacturing process to ensure that every component is operating perfectly.
- Flexible manufacturing processes efficiently integrate GPS, fingerprint scanners, mobile broadband (WWAN), backlit keyboards and other options into appropriate models.
- Sophisticated production information systems provide full traceability of every part in every computer, enabling fast resolution of any problems that arise.
Panasonic's emphasis on high-quality, high-reliability product manufacturing is evident in the annual failure rates of computers from major manufacturers. PC Magazine, in its September 2009 issue, reported an industry average failure rate of 21.0%. Panasonic's service records (as of September, 2009, for units in and out of warranty) show an average annual failure rate of only 2.99% for Toughbook mobile computers.
GCN senior writer Trudy Walsh travels to Osaka, Japan, to find out why Toughbooks are so rugged by Trudy Walsh (GCN, February 03, 2009) Read article
Materials and Technology
Because Panasonic is a core manufacturer using superior materials and stringent quality control processes, Toughbook® mobile computers are approximately 6 times more reliable than standard laptops*. Inside and out, Toughbook mobile computers are packed with the best materials and technologies available for mobile computing.
Features on many Toughbook mobile computers include:
- An all-magnesium case to assure superior resistance to drops and applied pressure.
- Shock-mounted hard drives with proprietary foam technology developed by Panasonic to protect against drops and vibration, which can lead to data loss. And, quick-release hard drives employ metal enclosures that encase both the shock-mounting foam and the hard drives to protect them when they're removed.
- Innovative technologies, such as custom-built heat-pipe assemblies to funnel heat away from sensitive internal components. These technologies also eliminate the need for fans, a major point of failure and contributor to dust and moisture ingress.
- The latest Intel® processors, delivering innovations such as multi-core mobile performance, greater power efficiency and vPro™ technology.
- Advanced LCD technology, along with anti-glare and anti-reflective features, provide excellent outdoor visibility for fully-rugged models.
Cost Advantage: As a core manufacturer, Panasonic not only controls the entire manufacturing process, but builds many of the components that go into Toughbook computers. This allows for superior design, construction and ultimately, a more reliable and durable product.
In addition to using high-quality components, Panasonic is a technology leader with a rich history of innovation in mobile computing.
Through the development and manufacturing of the Toughbook line of computers, Panasonic was the first manufacturer to:
- Create rugged laptops in a standard form factor and in a convertible tablet
- Integrate CD-ROMs into laptops
- Encase LCDs in magnesium alloy
- Engineer ruggedness into ultra-portable, business-rugged laptops with shock-mounted hard drives, magnesium alloy cases, spill resistant keyboards, and embedded wireless solutions
- Deliver integrated mobile broadband with support for EDGE/HSDPA and EV-DO
Panasonic subjects the components and materials used in manufacturing Toughbook mobile computers to rigorous testing and quality control. The computers are tested for drop and shock resistance, liquid resistance, vibration resistance, particle resistance, temperature resistance, pressure resistance, humidity resistance and resistance to dust and water ingress.
Panasonic, a Fortune Global 100 company, spends approximately $5 billion annually on research and development. The investment is integral in designing and building more than 14,000 different products worldwide.
Panasonic has been manufacturing mobile computers since 1993 and introduced the Toughbook® brand in 1997. Panasonic continues to invest heavily in research and development to maintain its leadership in manufacturing the world's most durable and reliable mobile computers.
This on-going investment has led to significant breakthroughs for Toughbook products. For example, Panasonic was the first computer manufacturer to integrate with wireless WAN technology and to adopt the Gobi™ mobile broadband solution for easy connectivity with leading wireless networks.
Research activities also led to Panasonic being the first manufacturer of a fully-rugged medical clinical assistant (MCA) device - the Toughbook H1 Health. The Toughbook H1 Health (now replaced by the Toughbook H2) also was the first:
- MCA computer with a fanless design to minimize the transporting and spreading of germs in healthcare environments
- MCA computer with a built-in sanitization reminder system
- MCA computer with dual hot-swappable batteries
The Wireless Advantage: Panasonic tests Toughbook computers in one of the world's largest anechoic chambers in the industry to ensure superior wireless performance.
Ongoing research activities involve many dedicated Panasonic employees as well as Toughbook customers who provide Panasonic feedback on their usage and experience with the products.
The people who buy and use Toughbook computers heavily influence product development decisions. To better understand user needs, Panasonic's R&D and product development personnel sponsor advisory councils and participate in industry-specific focus groups and trade associations. Through these contacts and daily dialog with customers, Panasonic has a keen understanding of the needs of mobile professionals in all major industries and applications.
Then, it is the job of Panasonic product engineers to economically meet market needs with the best available technologies. Working with leading technology companies, such as Intel and Microsoft, Panasonic engineers evaluate the latest chipsets, materials, power management techniques, LCD screens, wiring, hard drives and components. They study the effects of continuous use in challenging environments. They find the optimum balance between reliability and weight. And they continually discover better ways to keep Toughbook computers performing under extraordinary conditions.
Highly Accelerated Life Tests (HALT), a stress testing methodology used to obtain product reliability information, is one example of Panasonic's research regimen. Panasonic engineers subject electronic components to elevated operating temperatures to find each component's upper operating limit. By HALT testing a component for a short period, engineers can observe a component's performance over its full life cycle and correct any problems before manufacturing begins.
Another example of Panasonic's research regimen is in wireless technology. Panasonic operates one of the world's largest anechoic chambers in the industry. By precisely measuring the amount of electromagnetic radiation produced by Toughbook mobile computers, anechoic chamber testing enables engineers to maximize wireless performance.
The result of these ongoing research activities is a line of Toughbook computers that continually changes to meet the rigorous requirements of Panasonic's customers.