A Reliability-related word: “Ruggedized”. Not an everyday word, certainly. I came across it recently in a brochure, sent to me, out of the blue by a company making camera lenses. Some of their lenses are “ruggedized” to allow them to give reliable service in demanding industrial applications.

Ruggedization comes in three flavours, apparently:

  1. Industrial Ruggedization
  2. Ingress Protection Ruggedization
  3. Stability Ruggedization

The reliability principles used to achieve the above three aims are simplification, by removing less reliable parts like irises, replaced with fixed aperture stops. These can be focused once and set in place. The other technique used is simply the removal of components. What is not there, cannot give trouble.

As regards Ingress Protection, lens assemblies are sealed with O-rings and RTV silicone to prevent the ingress of moisture and dust.

Stability Ruggedization is required in high vibration environments, among others. This is achieved by gluing all the lens elements in place, and using a clamping lock once focusing has been achieved.

When one studies the brochure, one sees that in this field, as in all engineering endeavors, compromises are made. To make a lens more “rugged” it has to be made less versatile.