IK Rating Standard and Touch Panel Computer Impact Protection

So you have a prototype for your device with a touch panel and you’ve arrived here when searching about IK ratings or touch panel impact protection. Here is a quick guide about IK impact protection ratings, what they mean and how it impacts on your design.

IEC 62262 is an international standard that defines the IK code. But what even is “IK” anyway? You’ve heard about IP (Ingress Protection) which are ratings for how much moisture and dust electrical equipment are protected against. IK ratings classify the degrees of protection that enclosures of electrical equipment have against external high mechanical impacts. This standard is essential for various industries, where equipment may be subject to physical abuse or where the security and durability of the device are critical. It provides a standardized way to communicate the level of protection offered by these enclosures.

IK Ratings Breakdown:

The IK rating ranges from IK00 to IK10, indicating increasing levels of protection against mechanical impacts. The higher IK ratings indicate better protection against mechanical impacts. For example, an enclosure with an IK08 rating would offer more protection than an enclosure with an IK06 rating.

Each IK rating corresponds to a specific level of impact energy, and it’s determined through testing where a pendulum hammer with a specified energy is dropped onto the enclosure. The enclosure’s ability to withstand the impact without affecting its internal components is assessed, and the corresponding IK rating is assigned based on the results.

Here’s a breakdown of the IK ratings and their corresponding impact energy level, measured in joules (J):

– IK00: No protection against impact (0.14 J)
– IK01: Protection against impacts of 0.15 J
– IK02: Protection against impacts of 0.20 J
– IK03: Protection against impacts of 0.35 J
– IK04: Protection against impacts of 0.50 J
– IK05: Protection against impacts of 0.70 J
– IK06: Protection against impacts of 1.00 J
– IK07: Protection against impacts of 2.00 J
– IK08: Protection against impacts of 5.00 J
– IK09: Protection against impacts of 10.00 J
– IK10: Protection against impacts of 20.00 J

IK panel PC impact test

How Are Tablets and Panel PCs Tested for Touch Panel Impact Protection?

To test touch panel computers to comply with standards like IEC 60950-1 for the definition of rigid supporting surface, it is typically subjected to a series of impact tests using a standardized impact test ball. The computer is mounted in a specified orientation and the test ball is released from a predetermined height. The impact energy is calculated based on the mass of the test ball and the height from which it is dropped.

The touch panel PC is considered to have passed the test if it continues to function normally after being subjected to the specified impact energy. Here is a example of impact test procedure for a tablet or panel pc:

  1. The touch panel computer is mounted so that the touch panel is facing directly under the dropping ball path .
  2. A 500g impact test ball is released from a predetermined height of 1500mm.
  3. The impact energy is calculated based on the mass of the impact test ball and the height from which it is dropped. In this example, the touch panel is tested against the equivalent IK08 rating.
  4. The touch panel computer is inspected for damage. It is considered to have passed the test if it does not have any cracks in the glass, sharp objects, exposed circuitry, etc, after impact. The device, display and touchscreen shall be fully operational after the front impact testing.

Touch Panels: How to Make them Withstand High Impacts?

It’s About All the Glass

Toughened glass, often referred to as tempered glass, is a type of safety glass that has been processed to be significantly stronger and more resistant to mechanical stresses than regular glass. Toughened glass offers several key advantages for applications like touch panels and display devices. First, it is exceptionally strong due to a manufacturing process involving rapid heating and cooling, making it highly resistant to direct impacts and less prone to shattering. Its impressive impact resistance ensures that even when it does break, it forms small, safer pieces instead of sharp shards. Additionally, toughened glass is known for its scratch resistance, preserving visual clarity over time, and enhancing the durability of the touch panel, thus extending its lifespan. 

Corning Gorilla Glass is another widely recognized brand of toughened glass used in various electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and panel PCs. It is chemically strengthened for high durability and resistance to scratches and impacts. 

Optical Bonding for Added Strength

Optical bonding is a process that enhances the durability and impact resistance of touch panels and displays by eliminating the air gap between the touchscreen and the protective glass or LCD screen. This method significantly improves strength, impact resistance, and optical performance by bonding the components together with a clear adhesive or resin, making them a single, rigid unit. 

Estone Technology: Rugged Panel PCs, Touch Screens and HMI Designed against High Impact Accidents

Estone Technology is an ODM –that means we design and manufacture  products to your specifications , not just sell you off-the-shelf products. We  can also customize reference designs to meet your specific requirements. If you need a medical tablet or panel PC that requires IK08 rating for example, we have you covered. Please contact us directly to learn more.