Slideshow

IN PICTURES: A tour of Panasonic's Toughbook factory

We watch the Toughbooks get smashed, soaked, and built

  • Here's the real magic. A giant robotic arm is moving constantly, putting the pieces together like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

  • Rows and rows of Toughbooks ready for packing and shipment.

  • Down this hall is various testing equipment for the rugged qualities of Toughbooks.

  • Next we were taken to a wireless frequency testing room. This massive, multiple-million dollar building was a Panasonic investment to save it from outsourcing this process. Here, products are tested to make sure they comply with the unique national requirements for each market it sells to.

  • It almost looks like something from a Portal game.

  • In Japan, Panasonic has a line of consumer Toughbooks, called "Let's Note." This is the mini-notebook from that range.

  • As I said, the facility was absolutely massive.

  • More on the production line. The second half of the process is done by hand due to the complex nature of those final stages of construction. Out of respect to the workers, we were asked not to take photos of them working.

  • Here it is, falling. And yes, it survived the drop.

  • Shelves of Toughbooks welcome visitors.

  • This is another test. In a second, the ledge that the Toughbook is sitting on will fall away. The Toughbook needs to be able to withstand the fall from a number of different angles.

  • The first robot springs into action. Panasonic has a robotics arm that supplies many of the products found in its own facilities.

  • Another shot of the robot arm in action.

  • On to the factory itself. The first steps in Toughbook production are with the motherboard and circuits.

  • Heading down the production line, having more stuff soldered on.

  • The foyer for the factory.

  • Rolls and rolls of chips from a variety of different suppliers.

  • Here's one of the tests. Water is sprayed at the Toughbook from all kinds of angles. As you can see, the Toughbook isn't fussed by any of this.

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