10 points to consider when purchasing an ATEX tablet

Intrinsically Safe Tablets  |  Thursday, 2nd March

Purchasing an intrinsically safe / ATEX tablet is a substantial commitment. Even the most straightforward of intrinsically safe devices can demand a premium compared with their safe area equivalent.

Each hazardous area has an ownership cost, including purchasing an ATEX tablet. It’s the cost (financially and virtually) that every operative has to meet, but there should be limits to that cost. You have to keep your staff safe, your plant running and your products profitable.

With standards constantly changing, manufacturers are clamouring to provide you with the optimal product at the best price. You need a high quality ATEX tablet that is the best value for money and will serve you well for a long period.

Cost will be the leading influencer for some, while for others, fundamental hardware / software specifications are the most important factor. Whichever ATEX tablet you choose should offer quality and reliability, alongside exceptional service and support. There are several options in ATEX tablets, depending on the operating system required. You can select iOS, Android or Windows with the latter being the preferred choice for those customers looking to use the widely used Microsoft Office platform.

Finding the correct solution can seem a daunting task, so along with the ten consideration points, you’ll also find this article useful in helping you narrow down what you need the intrinsically safe tablet for and the work environments you’ll need it to operate in.

It is important to understand what “ATEX” actually means. ATEX generally refers to the hazard of explosive atmospheres occurring in the workplace due to the presence of flammable gasses or combustible dust mixed in air, which can give rise to the risk of explosion. An tablet will typically achieve ATEX classification by being certified “Intrinsically Safe” (I.S.). This is a protection method that prevents ignition by spark or thermal means. There are three levels of Intrinsic Safety; ia, ib and ic. Tools and instruments certified to these levels can be used in Zone 0, Zone 1 or Zone 2 hazardous areas respectively. The most common Zone of operation is Zone 1, which is the preferred option. Zone 1 certified equipment will give you the facility and flexibility to operate safely and to also expand into any future areas you currently don’t know about.

Understanding and pinpointing your essential requirements

Quality, maintenance and inspection workers have a range of essential requirements that determine the type of ATEX tablet they need to purchase. Use of the tablet device for conducting inspections will provide tools that will strengthen governance processes and allow more in-depth inspection reports. It will provide the inspector with ready access to industry guidance and vessel operator supplied information. Furthermore, the right tablet will support dynamic question allocation allowing a detailed review of equipment, procedures and human based aspects of each allocated question, resulting in more focused inspection report content.

Enhanced oversight of vessel safety systems and processes will be facilitated by richer data collection. A greater transparency for all parties will be afforded by using GPS tracking, recording the date and time of each response provided and recording the addition and removal of negative observations. The inclusion of photographic evidence, where permitted by a port or terminal, to support observations provides a further layer of accessibility. Such photographs can be used by a vessel’s operator to show the vessel’s physical and cosmetic condition.

There are a multitude of applications / requirements to contemplate when choosing the right hazardous area approved tablet. At 247able, we want you to feel satisfied with your purchase. That’s why we’ve compiled this article to help you through the marketing maze when buying an intrinsically safe / ATEX tablet.

1. Choose an ATEX tablet that is rugged enough to do the tasks you need it for
  • Will you be using your tablet in winter conditions?
  • Will you be wearing PPE or gloves when operating the tablet?

Working in hazardous areas is tough and can be further complicated by extreme weather and sub-zero temperatures. An ATEX tablet for use in this environment should be simple to operate whilst wearing specialist protective clothing.

In such a harsh, challenging environment it’s inevitable that devices will get knocked and dropped. That’s just how it is, it’s tough. Your tablet has got to be tough too. Some ATEX tablets have unprotected large displays that can be easily damaged and are very difficult to fix.

A rugged tablet can offer the most compact and durable mobile PC solutions. The best rugged tablets feature reinforced touch-screens that can withstand day to day impacts and a small enough body to use single handed allowing for great versatility. A suitably rugged tablet can adapt to almost any environment, whether it’s being used in an office, on a working site or even the most extreme of environments. Our ATEX tablets offer a reliable computing and communication solution that provide a seamless experience in any situation.

To ensure we offer the most appropriate and cost effective solution please contact us so we can discuss your requirements in detail and assess what is best for you.

A rugged tablet, such as the Aegex100M, is therefore tested to ensure that it is water and dustproof to IP67 classification, can be used in extremely cold or hot areas, and can withstand shock as well as other vibrations that the consumer tablets cannot deal with.

2. Need to document and present your findings to others? A database reporting package will help you organise and analyse your findings

Reporting Software connects with data sources, gathers information and provides insights into the form of graphs and charts based on the input data so the user can find useful information.

This application usually comes in a business intelligence suite. The reporting tools help in the decision-making process. Detailed insights will give you more visibility over data.

By representing the data in an attractive manner, these tools make data more readable, useful, and presentable. There can be two types of reports, i.e. Static reports and Interactive reports.

Static reports cannot be altered by the end-user, and Interactive reports allow you to get detailed insights by drilling down to the data. These reports also provide the facility to navigate, filter, sort and view the data.

Quickbase Database Management Software represents a high-value, low-cost platform that has enables the customer to centralise information, streamline workflows, improve security, and improve overall compliance processes.

3. Select a tablet with adequate storage and memory

Designed from the ground up to be the lightest and fastest Windows device in its class, the Aegex100M ATEX Tablet, ensures storage capacity and memory facility to accommodate full suite proprietary software packages for industrial applications. It has an Intel Quad-Core Apollo Lake Processor with 8GB RAM, 256GB storage MicroSDXC Card Slot (up to 2 TB cards supported).

4. Advanced connectivity capability

Intrinsically-safe Wi-Fi access points are costly. Hazardous areas like oil refineries might have more ground to cover than is ideal for a Wi-Fi network. Another dangerous industry where Wi-Fi can be problematic is mining, with its irregular, obstructive, shape-changing landscape. Private mobile networks can offer the range and comparable network capacity you need for mobile video streaming and augmented reality overlay for both industries and many others.
The Aegex100M comes with Wi-Fi installed and LTE for all supported bands if the cellular model is selected.

5. Make sure your intrinsically safe tablet choice is fulfilled by a manufacturer with a strong track record

Aegex Technologies is a global provider of certified intrinsically safe solutions that connect people, assets and data in industries with hazardous locations. By providing real-time collaboration and data insight about operations, Aegex enables companies to make intelligent, data-driven decisions that help transform the way they operate, improving efficiency, safety and productivity. Choosing Aegex will provide you with a reputable product with an undisputed pedigree in the field of explosion proof asset management & communication devices.

6. Purchase an ATEX tablet with a camera that has the highest number of pixels / greatest image quality that your budget will allow

Make sure you get the most from every picture you take; with a high res camera on your chosen ATEX tablet, you’ll always have digital zoom to back up your optical zoom solution. With a high res camera you can enhance that fine detail you missed in the field by expanding your image digitally without pixelating your picture. The saying goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. If your image is of low resolution and low quality, that could mean the repair task, quality control or safety review maybe compromised or lead to incorrect conclusions being made. All due to a low-resolution picture taken from a sub standard tablet.

  • Will you be using your tablet in winter conditions?
  • Will you be wearing PPE or gloves when operating the tablet?

Make sure you use a camera that utilises optical zoom and auto focus on order to document hard to read items such as ratings plates.
When you take a picture and video on an intrinsically safe tablet, you can use the ATEX tablet to immediately email or otherwise wirelessly transmit the images to the proper repair personnel, and instantaneously log the incident into an online record.

Aegex100M ATEX tablets have two cameras, front and rear.

  • Large image display size on a 10.1-inch tablet provides greater detail when viewing images
  • The Aegex100M ATEX tablet’s capacitive touchscreen allows for enlargement of photos
7. Make sure you choose a tablet with video capability

Let’s say a maintenance manager at an oil refinery is making his weekly rounds to check for any maintenance issues that may need service or repair. His main concern is equipment inside a highly explosive zone of the facility – a C1D1 (or ATEX/IECEx Zone 1) hazardous area. He notices a certain valve in this area looks faulty. He touches it and realises it is loose. If he has a tablet with video facility (preferably U4K like the new Aegex100M), in order to document and report this he can take a picture and video on an ATEX tablet, use the tablet to immediately email or otherwise wirelessly transmit the images to the proper repair personnel, and instantaneously log the incident into an online record.

This highly efficient approach allows the images to be transmitted immediately to the repairman and logs the report in real-time.

8. Make sure your intrinsically safe tablet choice is fulfilled by a supplier with experience, excellent service and the ability support your needs anywhere in the world

At 247able, we want customers to benefit from our experience, expertise and independence. Our depth of instrumentation knowledge and ability to apply a diverse range of technologies has established us as a leader in providing the right solution, whatever the requirement. In short, being able to make your measurement is more than what we do, it’s who we are.

9. Does your tablet provider offer a software development service and comprehensive after sales assistance

For your info, ABLE are the premier direct partner for Aegex within the UK and can assist you and your customers in the following areas:

  • Pre-loading of any free issue industry standard software on to the tablet
  • Handle future pre-arranged ‘call off’ quantities for expedient delivery
  • Offer after sales support utilising our in-house Windows certified expertise
  • Offer training via our state-of the art training rig into how the Aegex tablet can be used

Further to the above, ABLE can offer bespoke asset management software development based on your your requirements. ABLE could offer this in a two week turnaround once your requirements have been fully understood. Email us now at [email protected]

10. An Aegex tablet can play a key role in remote support for process control instrumentation

Did you know? The Aegex100M tablet can become an engineer service tool during annual service & calibrations, meaning the engineer does not require to connect his own laptop to any platform system. All reporting data post-service can be emailed to ABLE’s factory trained service team from the tablet, along with any relevant photos taken with the tablet. 

Download ABLE Remote Support Brochure

Have a particular application in mind? We’d welcome a call on +44 (0) 1189 169 420

If you would like more information regarding this article, please contact us at [email protected] or +44 (0)118 916 9420.

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