Mil Standard Devices vs. Mil Standard Parts

Advertising can make things a little fuzzy when companies talk about the standard that they hold the parts of their products to versus the standard that they hold the entire device to. A phrase you may have seen with products like the APRU is “made with military standard/military grade/etc parts.” What does that mean, and how does that differ from the product being military standard/military grade?

Military standard/grade parts means that some or all of the parts that were used to assemble the product have been put through rigorous testing and they’ve passed, so the parts are a high standard that has been approved for use by the military.

However, that doesn’t mean that the assembly of the product or the end result is held to the same standard. Nor does that mean that the end result isn’t held to the same standard. It truly just means that the parts used to create the product have passed that rigorous testing. So…

What is MIL-STD-461F and how does it relate to military G/grade Portable Blood Refrigerators ?

MIL-STD-461F is a United States Military Standard that describes how to test equipment for electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).

Different types of equipment have varied requirements that are tested by following the methods of this standard.

What EMC requirements does a blood refrigerator have ?

These are listed below, compiled from the Joint Enroute Care Equipment Test Standard requirements (JECETS) that references MIL-STD-461F

For example, a portable blood refrigerator should not interfere with the operation of a helicopter and the helicopter electromagnetics should not stop the fridge from working properly. The MIL-STD-461F describes how this test is to be done and what limits should not be exceeded for particular vehicles and applications.

It is possible to have individual components be tested to the relevant parts of the MIL-STD-461F, such as the batteries or the power line filter, but this does not make the Blood Refrigerator qualified to the EMC requirements of the JECETS standard.

Okay, so… what does that mean when you’re choosing a product to invest in? When evaluating blood refrigerator manufacturer’s claims about EMC, ask for details about which of the MIL-STD-461F tests the entire fridge underwent and what level of compliance did it attain?

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