At Becker Electric Supply, the ThinkPad X1  Carbon keeps technicians working in conditions that defeat laptops

In manufacturing facilities and other extreme environments, field technicians need flexible, secure, mobile devices that can withstand the elements while still supplying performance to get the job done. If the device is also thin enough to be truly portable, even better.

That’s certainly the case for the high-tech engineers at Becker Electric Supply, who code programmable logic controllers at Honda of America plants and work on machines at other assembly lines. These settings pose challenges: modern laptops come with cameras, and cameras aren’t allowed into the Honda plants; and while working on solutions and coding, even the nimblest technicians are bound to drop a laptop onto the concrete floors once in a while.

But Becker Electric has solved those challenges, says Sean Patterson, system administrator. Patterson is one of two people who handle IT for the company, which has about 250 workstations.

Becker Electric Supply is a distributor of electrical products, services, and project support to commercial, industrial, and residential contractors, industrial plants, power utilities, and commercial customers. Becker also supplies automation solutions and services. Headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, the company has eight branch locations and two satellite offices within Honda of America plants.


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The company gives the high-tech engineers two laptops— a Microsoft Surface Pro and a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. When they’re on the move in harsh environments, they always choose the Carbon, which is constructed with satellite-grade carbon fiber, making it the toughest ThinkPad ever made.

“I have monitors that show me which units are in use, and I always see the X1s being used in tough environments— which is why we bought them,” he says.

The Carbons can withstand almost anything, including the physical abuse Becker’s outside teams put them through, Patterson says. “I carry mine around by its lid, by its face, just however I grab it, and it has no effect on it. We’ve had numerous dropped, and they still run.” That’s not the case with the flashier Surface Pros.

Another plus? Within the Carbon’s BIOS, there’s a way to disable its camera. The security teams at Honda of America accept that as an adequate solution to the no-camera-allowed rule and permit the laptop
into the plant so the techs can do their work.

Lightweight portability

Becker Electric has actually been using Lenovo devices for more than 15 years. Its laptops are a hodgepodge of different Surface Pros and Lenovo laptops. Before turning to the Carbon, the company used Lenovo T and W series laptops. “Environment-wise, anything Lenovo is tried and true,” Patterson says. Management was the first to get the Carbons a few years ago. When the field staff saw how portable the devices were—0.65-inch thick and starting at just 2.6 lbs.—they requested them, too. Now they have 15 Carbons, with plans to buy more as needed.

Patterson takes his Carbon with him everywhere, even setting it on the floor beside him when he goes to sleep. Because of the long battery life—up to 10 hours continuous operation per charge, and Patterson can get two days of open-and-close operation—he can put it in standby mode and it will be ready to go when he needs it.

First-class security

What’s more, the X1s provide the peace of mind of solid security. Both the fingerprint reader and hard drive encryption are important features, Patterson says. Fingerprint readers can provide a second factor of authentication in addition to passwords. Becker Electric also uses OneDrive to store critical documents, rather than leaving them on the laptops. Windows 10 security further protects the devices from online threats.

Features that make productivity easy

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon has great processing power and isn’t loaded with a lot of “garbage” that slows it down, as other brands tend to be, Patterson says. The solid state drives are extremely fast, the screen resolution is great, and the units don’t overheat—all of which means they have the performance necessary to get field work done quickly.

“You’re getting this lightweight, agile machine with the kind of performance you need out in the field,” Patterson says. “And portability because it’s so thin— the technicians can grab it and go instead of needing an entire travel bag just to carry a laptop.”

This portability means employees are willing to take the X1 Carbon with them when they leave the office— which was the point of investing in laptops, but didn’t always happen with the more traditional T series.

“When I walk through branches, I don’t ever see the X1 sitting on people’s desks,” Patterson says. “Our outside guys are supposed to stay outside. They’re not supposed to be in the office, so if they’re coming in and they’re leaving their device on the desk every night, they’re not doing their job. The X1 is so portable they literally take it with them wherever they go. This increases productivity because you always have your computer there if you need to do something.”

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The Carbon is part of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 family, which includes high-performance processors, long battery life, and durability features such as a Roll Cage, magnesium alloy covers, and spill-resistant keyboards. Combining an ultra-portable’s weight and form factor with a durable design, the ThinkPad X1 family—the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, ThinkPad X1 Yoga, and ThinkPad X1 Tablet—offers the convenience, security and ruggedness necessary for the mobile workforce. With legendary ThinkPad performance, you sacrifice nothing for mobility.

Download Here the PDF: A Secure Ultrabook Suited For Demanding Field Environments


Sean Patterson, System Administrator