No, rugged tablet manufacturers are not making typos on their product spec sheets.
The sudden appearance of C1Z2 compliance markings – versus the more familiar C1D2 classification – is intentional and, yes, new. But, while the change is raising some eyebrows, you shouldn’t worry that your rugged tablet is any less safe when tested using a “Z” classification versus a “D” – or that your mobile workers are any less protected when using C1Z2 compliant mobile computers in Hazardous Locations.
In fact, C1Z2 is a compliance standard that CIOs, CTOs, IT and other mobile decision makers in North America should be looking for on spec sheets, especially if they intend to use the mobile PC for mining, oil & gas, manufacturing, transportation, military or even some public safety applications where sparks, high heat, gasses or dust particles may exist.
That’s because, like the more commonly used C1D2 compliance classification, a C1Z2 label is indicative of a mobile computer’s ability to safely operate in industrial environments where flammable vapors, gases or liquids could be present. Both ensure the right protections are in place to minimize explosion risk when rugged tablets are used by mobile workers in Hazardous Locations.
So, if C1D2 and C1Z2 are comparable compliance standards, what’s the difference?
For many years, standards organizations such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/ISA and CSA Group (CSA) wrote and implemented testing and certification guidelines for electrical equipment based on a combination Class (C) and Division (D) system:
- Class I - A location made hazardous by the presence of flammable gases or vapors that may be present in the air in quantities sufficient to produce an explosive or ignitable mixture
- Class II - A location made hazardous by the presence of combustible or electrically conductive dust
- Class III - A location made hazardous by the presence of easily ignitable fibers or flyings in the air, but not likely to be in suspension in quantities sufficient to produce ignitable mixtures
- Division 1 - A location where a classified hazard exists or is likely to exist under normal conditions
- Division 2 - A location where a classified hazard does not normally exist but is possible to appear under abnormal conditions
Hence, the long-time presence of C1D2 compliant tough tablets within the industry – and in Xplore’s rugged mobility portfolio.
However, most international Hazardous Location compliance standards have long used a three-tier Zone classification system, versus North America’s two-tier Division classification system. So there were challenges among manufacturers and rugged mobile PC buyers when trying to translate the comparative protections between devices that didn’t test and certify under the same Hazardous Location standards program.
Ultimately, the U.S. and Canada recently decided to revise their installation codes to recognize an international 3-Zone area classification system for HAZLOC equipment use.
In Canada, all new electrical equipment installations, to include rugged tablet deployments, must now use the 3-Zone system. Existing products may continue to use the 2-Division system or opt to re-classify using the 3-Zone system.
In the U.S., however, all electrical equipment installations (both new and existing) can either continue using the 2-Division system or re-classify their product using the 3-Zone system. There is no timeline for mandatory transition to the 3-Zone system. Therefore, you will still see many C1D2 compliant rugged tablets used next to C1Z2 compliant mobile PCs in the field.
Both C1Z2 and C1D2 rugged mobile PCs, though sporting a one-letter variance in their acronyms, undergo slightly different testing methods; but, both demonstrate the same level of safety in Hazardous Locations.
So know that, whether you see a “Z” or “D” on rugged tablet’s spec sheet, your mobile workers will continue to be safe and productive in Hazardous Locations.