Motorola Solutions TC55 mobile computer is built for harsh environments, captures any type of data and features an all-day battery life. But it has the look and feel of a smartphone and features an advanced capacitive touch screen. Watch this video to find out more!
Have you ever searched online for that perfect software to solve your data collection problem and found out that it doesn’t come packed up in a fancy boxed solution? We have good news for you, your search may be over. Did you know that Coridian writes custom software applications in house? We listen to your perfect solution and work hard to bring it to life.
Here is a true short story about Coridian bringing Lab A’s solution to life.
Once upon a time there thrived a large research laboratory named Lab A. Lab A received many specimen samples from labs all over their city to store in their large freezers for medical studies, but when the time came for Lab A’s operators to locate the samples for use, it was difficult and time consuming to find them.
Lab A knew there had to be a better solution and so they began their search to find it. Being a customer of Coridian, they felt that talking to their sales representative was a good start. They discussed the problem with Coridian and found a simple, yet effective, solution.
The solution was to create a system that would allow the samples to be received and put away into the freezers utilizing barcoded labels and scanners, a Sample Tracking Application.
Using VB.net with an Access back end database, Coridian’s application specialist was able to create a custom program ideally suited to meet Lab A’s requirements. The Sample Tracking Application allows the operators to import the initial spreadsheet of the samples into the system, generate the required labels and then put them away using barcode scanners. This application also allows the operator to perform multiple types of transactions such as Put Away, Check Out, Check In, Move, and Transfer. Each transaction is logged into a History table that can then be used for reporting.
A handheld terminal was also utilized to allow the operators to perform the move transactions at the freezer rather than bringing the sample back to a workstation. This handheld terminal communicates in batch mode to upload lookup tables for verification prior to moving the samples as well as downloading the transactions to the PC application.
Lab A will be running more efficiently and effectively thanks to their new Sample Tracking Application.
What new custom program could you benefit from having in your workplace?
Have you ever thought about repurposing your consumer devices for business purposes because they are easy-to-use and often less expensive than their rugged counterparts? It’s smart to consider but many times neglecting to invest in a rugged device can be more costly in the long-term. Before investing in a handheld device, you should consider the following.
Consider where the device will be used and what the device may be exposed to. Will the device have to withstand extreme temperatures, water, dust, chemicals or shock?
Rugged handhelds must pass stringent standard tests and rating systems to verify their durability. The tests are designed to replicate some of the environmental stresses a handheld might encounter during deployment in a warehouse or manufacturing plant.
Consumer devices are created for the non-rugged, office environment and do not meet these certifications.
Features and Integration
There are a few important features and integration capabilities to consider. Consumer-grade devices cannot be updated, but some rugged devices are modular, enabling them to grow with your company’s needs. Rugged devices also offer software and hardware development tools that give you the ability to extend functionality and integrate new devices into your current infrastructure.
Also, many rugged devices offer an extended battery life that can increase overall employee productivity. And if you’re doing real barcode scanning you need a real barcode scanner, the image recognition technology used in a smartphone is only going to aggravate and slow users down.
Total Cost of Ownership
When comparing your costs you have to consider the intangible costs as well as the tangible costs. Intangible costs include, lost sales, customer service impact, data loss, employee down time, customer satisfaction impact, employee morale, and time wasted to diagnose issues. Tangible costs to purchase consumer devices may be less in the beginning, but according to a study by VDC Research, it is not unusual for a consumer device to have to be replaced two or even three times before a rugged device would need to be replaced. On average, the lifespan of a commercial device is between 12 and 18 months compared to 7 plus years for good quality rugged devices.
Today’s device must be rugged enough to work around the clock, regardless of the user, the environment or extreme treatment. With businesses and organizations requiring absolute, real-time visibility to information from the ﬁeld, true information mobility is jeopardized by any computer downtime. The devices ability to endure the rough and tumble environment should be of principal concern.
Thermal printers are rugged, dependable, and support an extensive number of uses. As the computerized tracking of materials and finished goods has increased, thermal printing technology has proven especially well-suited for printing bar code labels and tags. That makes thermal printers ideal for industry-mandated requirements such as compliance labeling for shipping containers, component/product labeling, chemical labeling, nutritional information, contents identification and regulatory/safety disclosure.
However since these types of printers are different from your typical laser or inkjet printers, it can be a challenge to know which one best fits your business. The first step in finding the right printer is to identify your specific need(s). You can begin by asking the following 4 questions:
Where will the printer be used?
You need to first take a look at the environment in which the printer will be operated. If it is a harsh or dirty environment where it will come into contact with dust, chemicals, or frequent temperature fluctuations you are going to need a more rugged and sealed printer than if the printer is being used in a climate controlled office environment.
What kind of media will you make?
Thermal printers can be used to produce labels, tags, wristbands, receipts, tickets and many other forms of media. Different printer models are designed to do a better job printing on certain materials than others. You also need to look at the quality of the graphics needed or the barcode requirement involved in the application to decide on the best resolution for your printer. In addition thermal printers vary in printable width from 2” to 8.5” so the width of your material plays a part in the printer you select.
How often will you print, and at what volumes?
Thermal printers come with a rated recommendation from a maximum of a few hundred labels per day to 24 hour a day operation. When looking to choose a printer, volume of media printed will be an important part of the equation.
Will the printer be in a fixed or mobile application?
Finally you should look at if you are better off having your printer(s) located in a fixed location such as a print room or if your application would be better off with an alternative like distributed or mobile printing. In distributed printing you would put several printers around the facility to avoid downtime in waiting for the product to be printed or end users walking to the print center. In mobile printing the printers would be mobile either with the employees or on carts or vehicles that would allow them to move wherever the workers needed them.
Many factors affect the working condition of your thermal label printers, from the environment to the usage volume, but scheduled maintenance can help minimize the costs and damage to your printers and mobile devices. Here are a few reasons why preventative maintenance is important:
Keeping your printers and mobile devices within manufacturer’s standards can help avoid costly breakdowns, emergency repairs and downtime.
Increase the reliability of printed output and readability of printed media.
Regular maintenance, cleaning and parts replacement are the best ways to ensure quality, consistent performance and long life of your equipment.
Critical parts that show wear can be serviced or replaced during maintenance times instead of during times with high volume or demands.
The cost of downtime is added to costly emergency repairs when equipment goes down during production. With a preventative care investment, you can increase the overall life of your device printer and reduce the total cost of ownership.
You may wonder when a service contract is a good decision. If your company has any of the following, a service contract would benefit you.
- You run mission critical applications
- Want to minimize downtime and interruptions
- Need to stay within a budget and control costs
- You don’t have staff or time to stop and fix a printer
For more information about Coridian’s preventative maintenance and service contract options, please contact us at 952-361-9980 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
|Selecting the right barcode label for your application will help insure maximum productivity is achieved while selecting the wrong label can cause a number of problems down the line. Here are some things to consider when choosing your label:
Thermal Transfer utilizes a ribbon that applies a heat transfer process to your label material to increase durability and readability. Thermal transfer labels give increased resilience to water, chemicals, body fluids, heat, and sunlight and can be used in a wide variety of applications.
Direct Thermal uses a heat activated material to transfer your image to the label. This type of label is primarily used in applications where long term durability or readability of the label is not required such as package labeling for point to point shipping.
The product your labels will be applied to and the environment in which they are applied are critical factors in the selection of labels. Product surface, indoor or outdoor usage, moisture, and temperature range are questions that you will need to answer to determine the correct barcode label.
Will your labels be exposed to extreme conditions? Will they be used in a situation where they need to withstand chemicals, direct sunlight, dirt, grease, heat, cold, water, food or some other potential threat to the labels lifespan. Each of these conditions needs to be considered in order for your labels to perform at their best.
Some labels need to last for extended periods of time. Whereas, others only need to last for a short period (e.g., during the shipment). Not only do the labels need to endure, but the information printed on the labels as well.
The right face stock is crucial. Choosing between direct thermal and thermal transfer is only the first step. Next, you need determine if your application requires a paper label, or some sort of synthetic material. Once you get into synthetics you then need to choose from a variety of offerings ranging from vinyl to polyimide with several levels in between.
Finding the right adhesive for your application makes all the difference in label performance. Some of the factors to consider are application environment, temperature range to be used in, and level of permanence.
In addition there are many other factors to consider. How would the use of color impact my label? Can I use a stock label or does my label need to be custom manufactured? What is the core size and outside diameter (OD) required by your thermal transfer printer? Would your application be best served with piggy backs, kiss cuts, or other special die cuts? What type of wind direction and corner radius is required for my label?
As you have read, choosing a label can be an overwhelming task, but we are here to help answer any questions and help you find the right label for your application.
Guest Blog By: Justin Bergholz, Regional Product Manager, Brady Worldwide
Circuit board designs are becoming smaller and more complex. This is resulting in smaller components that require stronger wash systems and chemicals to remove contaminates that may be caught between the components and PCB boards. These changes not only affect the boards and components, but also the labels that are being put on the board for traceability.
Issues with Lost Labels
Many wash systems are beginning to wash boards at higher pressures and closer distances to the labels along with high performance drying systems that run at hotter temperatures than before. These new board cleaning routines mean that labels are being exposed to these conditions for longer periods of time, being subjected to chemicals with higher pH values and are facing higher temperatures, making it critical for facilities to use labels that can survive these new and more extreme conditions.
A loss of a label within a wash system can create numerous issues:
- Loss of product traceability
- Increased costs due to downtime
- Possible need to re-wash boards due to contamination from label (at the cost of the chemicals being used this is SIGNIFICANT)
Testing and New Label Solutions
To ensure that the labels are going to stay adhered to the board, it is imperative that customers and distributors work with a supplier that has thoroughly tested the labels using these wash systems and harsh chemicals.
With the evolution of harsh wash systems, new polyimide label materials featuring ultra-aggressive adhesives needed to be developed. Testing these new label materials is also critical to make sure they withstand the treatment process. For example, using harsh wash systems and batch cleaners such as the Aquastorm systems by Speedline, provide a great way to test label durability.
The team I work with at Brady Worldwide developed a line of polyimide labels that followed this exact process. We tested these labels in a series of wash tests with chemicals from Kyzen Corporation and Zestron Corporation which are some of the strongest in the industry. The end result was a material that could withstand four or more washing cycles, temperatures up to 500⁰F, and harsh fluxing and wave solder environments.
Is your labeling affected by component changes and harsh wash systems? If you need assistance getting the right Brady label, let us know how Coridian can help!