How Industrial Conveyor Belts Inspired Ruggedized Enterprise Tablets
The advent of tablet computers in the last few years inspired Almex to create its own ruggedized tablets for use in remote and hostile outdoor environments. Almex displayed them this week at the Mobile World Congress show.BARCELONA, Spain—For more than 50 years, Almex Group has been making and selling heavy-duty industrial equipment to assemble custom-made, specialty conveyer belts in remote locations around the world for a wide range of businesses, from minerals mining to factory use. To do that in remote outdoor locations, users have to work with special equipment that can be used in hostile work environments, whatever the weather, while taking careful measurements using paper and pencils to figure the needed specifications for the belts that have to be created. That seemed so old-fashioned, especially with the rise of portable tablet computers in the IT marketplace in the last few years, said Kyle Booth, the chief technology officer and global projects manager for Almex, in an interview here with eWEEK at Mobile World Congress. A couple years ago, the idea of using a tablet instead of paper and pencils became a prime focus for Almex, and within the last year, the company began offering its own line of ruggedized, feature-filled tablets that are built to withstand harsh physical abuse when used outdoors or inside busy factories.
"Our CEO said, 'We need a tablet that's not going to break in the field,'" said Booth. So taking the idea of a tablet further, Almex has created two models of its AlmexPad rugged machines, featuring magnesium frames; sealed gaskets to keep out dust, water and other contaminants; and a host of other features that help make the tablets tough enough to handle nasty work by a variety of industrial, construction, first responder and other uses, according to Booth.