The right tools in the right place
In the logistics world, working efficiently and effectively is increasingly important in no other sector. Speed, real time insight, and minimal margins of error give the organization the means to compete and grow.
You’re going to work with a Warehouse Management System, but what else do you need to work efficiently in your warehouse? We’d like to give you advice on the tools that make working easier.
The most commonly used tools used in the warehouse are Barcode Scanners and Printers.
The CORAX App can also run on a smart phone, so you can actually get started, but if you have to do a lot of scanning actions, a real, logistical scanner is so pleasant. However, there are many types of barcode scanners and we would like to show you what can be used when.
A scanner in a warehouse is a now quite familiar image. Until recently, this was mostly based on software for Windows platforms, now you see mainly Android platforms.
But when do you use which scanner and what should you pay attention to when buying? Is cheap expensive purchase?
For a start, special devices have been designed for this sector, which is not for nothing. What distinguishes this type of equipment from the consumer market?
- A robust device is made to withstand a bump, both on the outside and internally.
- A robust device complies with the “MIL810 standard” which indicates that it has been tested according to specific methodologies.
- Industrial appliances must remain available in the same version for at least a few years.
- Preference for removable batteries.
- Special and robust accessories without connectors but with POGO pins (type of electrical connection mechanism used in many modern electronic applications).
There are always a few standard questions you can ask yourself before choosing the right scanner.
We start with explaining the types:
- Full display barcode scanner, PDA
A smartphone device with a 1D or 2D scanning engine on the top.
- Handheld terminal small
A scanner with limited physical numeric keys under display.
- Handheld terminal
Full-fledged terminal with various keyboard combinations under display.
- Handheld barcode scanner
Separate scanners via cable or Bluetooth without display or limited display.
- Wearable scanners
Small scanners that are held, worn on the hand with a glove, or used as a ring scanner. They are available with full touch (custom) display in landscape or portrait mode to mini-mobile computer with LCD for task control.
Which factors directly influence your choice?
For convenience, we distinguish three categories: Environment, Deployment & Application and User Ergonomics.
Dusty, wet or extremely cold environments affect the performance of the device.
- Ambient temperature. There are devices specifically for extremely cold and warm environments that are adapted to essential points such as battery, screen and scanner to keep performing in extreme conditions.
- Robustness. For example, some environments are dirty and require proper protection of the equipment. You can also imagine that high demands are placed on a forklift device in a cold environment. All industrial appliances have a MIL810 certification which allows them to be marked as robust.
- Outdoor/sunlight. The display of a device must give a sufficiently high “nits” indication to remain readable in the sun, for example
- Wi-Fi/4G. Is Wi-Fi always adequate or is 4G more stable? 4G can also function as a backup. Handheld scanners or terminals are available with 4G connection.
Deployment & Application
Depending on the applications and the degree of load of the device, there are devices with normal or high end performance versions.
Should the device be deployable in multiple departments within the organization, it is advisable to look at the ability of the device to standardize. This can be solved by add-on accessories such as a long-range scanner pistol grip. This changes the device from a standard barcode scanner that scans up to 90 cm to a scanner that scans barcodes up to 15 meters!
How is the scanner used?
This can be stationary, walking, on a reach truck or in a forklift.
Depending on this application, the distance from barcode to scanner is also decisive in the choice. You should investigate if you will scan 1D or 2D barcodes, or both, in high or low volumes and to what minimum/maximum distance scanning should be possible. Scanning pallet racks high in a warehouse, or from a forklift can require a long-range scanner. This also affects the form factor (long range scan engines are larger and more robust and, for example, not found in a compact device).
These are the types:
- Hight Quality (very close)
- Standard range (normal distance to approximately 90 cm)
- Mid range (distance of approximately 150-200 cm)
- Extended of long range (distance up to 15 to 21 meters)
How heavily is the battery used?
For heavy use devices with an extended battery available or you could purchase an additional battery that can be charged with the robust charging cradle during a shift.
Depending on the application, a hotswappable battery is essential. During the battery change, the device keeps all processes active in the background.
We notice more and more intelligence being applied in one device. For example, taking pictures with the WMS application is possible now. It’s a great feature in order to record status or damage and determine where in the process status or condistion has changed. Please note that the camera is placed in a practical place and remains accessible despite the use of accessories.
- At what angle is the scanner used? For optimal ergonomics, scanners are sometimes placed at an angle in the device
- If the scanner is placed on the wrist or on the top of the hand, the number of scans and weight is important
- If there are many manual movements, a compact “wearable scanner” is ideal for having hands free
- A good wearable, holster or cradle for storing the device simplifies operations after the scanning action
There are plenty of accessories available that make working easier for you. All suppliers have a lot of material available. For example:
- Holsters and arm, wrist and forklift mounts
- Strap or pistol grip accessories
- Multi-battery chargers and cradles
- Rubber cases for optimal protection
In addition to all the material, these types of suppliers also offer mobile device managed services; they do manage your equipment. You get access to your own dashboard and you can switch immediately if there is a defect; then they handle the RMA for you or exchange it.
If you are going to work with a WMS, besides the software, the hardware is also important. A pleasant, well-functioning scanner in combination with user-friendly interfacing will give an optimal efficiency impact within your logistics environment.
The barcodes you want to scan should be easy to read. A good custom printer is therefore just as important as a scanner. Do you consider putting barcodes on plates or sticking them on the ground? Read below which printers are available for the job.
There are plenty of solutions. We concentrate on label printers, the most common solution.
There are 2 types of label printers:
- Direct Transfer Thermal Printers
- Thermal Transfer Printers
Direct Transfer Thermal Printers
By using the Direct Transfer printers, the label contains a thermally sensitive layer that is printed directly. Advantage is only 1 roll, simpler and more compact in terms of design.
Most used as mobile and desktop printers. Please note that the labels have a limited shelf life because the labels slowly fade under the influence of UV light.
Thermal Transfer Printers
Thermal Transfer printers need a ribbon, also called a carbon fiber ribbon. Especially when larger quantities need to be printed, this is a sustainable and cheaper solution.
With the right label paper, you also decide where and how long the label should last. This technique guarantees 1 year to several years. The quality is determined by the following things:
- Coated, uncoated or silicon base paper
- White or extra white
- Extra smooth
- Various types of paste: rubber based, permanently arcryl based
- Miscellaneous thicknesses
- Extreme temperatures
Depending on where you will use the label printer, you can choose 3 types of printers:
- Fixed spot
- High volume
- Mostly wired or Wi-Fi
- Solid electricity connection
- Fixed spot, moveable
- Wired or wireless Wi-Fi/Bluetooth
- Mid volume
- Solid electricity connection
- Attachment to body or in vehicle
- Battery powered
- Wireless Wi-Fi/Bluetooth
- Small volume
Davanti has been working with 2 preferred suppliers, Eutronix and Reverse IT for a long time. We can recommend both parties wholeheartedly and will be happy to put you in touch with them.
Brian Brodie, Sales & Support firstname.lastname@example.org
4744 RZ BOSSCHENHOOFD
076 52 44 330
Barry Jonkers, Sales
7812 HZ EMMEN
0591 535 190