Event Recap: Rocket Roundtable for Ruggedization Solutions

How do I make my product more durable? Here are 4 key lessons.


Ruggedize: to strengthen (something, such as a machine) for better resistance to wear, stress, and abuse

Ruggedize: to strengthen (something, such as a machine) for better resistance to wear, stress, and abuse

FORGE’s Rocket Roundtable for Ruggedization on June 24th was a success for all those who attended, and can provide a few powerful lessons for all of our startups. First, thank you to our manufacturer panel, with experts from: Intertek, Samtec Inc., Cambridge Polymer Group, and Bayard Design, and to our startups: Infinite Cooling, PowerHouse, and Sol Clarity. You not only made this event possible, you sparked a discussion that will fire up our entire community.


  1. Know your operating environment.

    When it comes to ruggedizing your product, researching its climatic conditions should be your first priority. For example, Frank Rosatone from Intertek shared that it’s important to consider conditions such as UV exposure to determine thermal expansion coefficients and other design parameters that affect how your product interfaces with products on the market. Ruggedizing your product can affect not only its performance, but also its adoption curve.

  2. Start life-testing materials ASAP.

    Brian Ralston from Cambridge Polymer advised startups, “have a plan to get some materials started on real-time aging immediately.” While any product could go through dozens of prototypes, testing materials early will save you time and money when making design choices in the long run.

  3. Determine your target “ratings.”

    Target ratings form the basis for analytical testing. How can engineers determine a passing or failing score without defined standards? “You can’t,” Matthew de Remer from Bayard Design explained. Depending on your needs, NEMA and IEC ratings are great places to start. Your target customers can also provide key insights into which standards are best. Read more about standards here.

  4. Think outside of the box.

    Lastly, get creative! And enlist expert help. With years in the industry, Mark Tabor at Samtec was a brainstorming wizard. Having contacts in flex circuitry, thermal solutions, and more, he was able to ruggedize suggestions for our pitching startups that they were not even aware were possible. The FORGE network is almost as excited about bringing your product to market as you are.


Though analytical testing on materials & devices is not always treated as a priority, the conversation at our Rocket Roundtable for Ruggedization suggested for many startups, maybe it should be. If you are a startup with ruggedization concerns, reach out to us to get connected to FORGE’s network of 400+ regional suppliers!

Similar Posts