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What to consider when choosing the best ruggedised scanner for your enterprise

What to consider when choosing the best ruggedised scanner for your enterprise

When it comes to replacing, upgrading or adding to your fleet of ruggedised scanners you may feel that your choice is an easy – dare we say safe – one.

After all, provided you are making that choice from the range of specially designed industrial-grade scanners rather than those built for a less challenging environment, you’ll be spending wisely – right?

Yes, to a certain degree. Considering the general durability of your fleet is possibly the main, and most important, step in the decision-making process. After all, a scanner designed to be used in an office a few times per day would probably have a very limited lifespan in a 24-hour, partially outdoor warehouse environment.

Ruggedised scanners are designed with durability in mind and you can therefore rest assured that they will cope with the challenges of dust, moisture, temperature, knocks and drops as they are put through the paces by your workforce. But when it comes to making a choice between all of the ruggedised units on the market, are there specific features you should be thinking about?

Here are just 4 main areas we would advise you to consider: –

Speed is of the essence in most warehouse environments and the contribution which scanning makes to the overall process should therefore be minimal. Actual ‘scan to read-out’ time is important due to the sheer volumes which tend to be involved, but of equal importance a scanner’s efficiency over distance otherwise the workforce will waste valuable time trying to get sufficiently close to every individual barcode. Some units even incorporate a vibration feature to confirm successful scanning without the need to read the display – a great time-saving addition.

Lighting conditions
Particularly outdoors, the scanners may have to cope with direct sunlight or perhaps even interference from other light sources, and location of stock may make it difficult to get close to individual items. The laser therefore needs to be bright and strong enough to travel a distance through less-than-perfect light conditions, avoiding the need for multiple scanning attempts. What’s more the display needs to be easy for operators to read at a glance (and without error) as they move swiftly from barcode to barcode.

Specific environmental factors
Whilst most ruggedised units are well protected from the ingress of airborne contamination, it pays to think about the specifics of the environment where the majority of use will be. Is it particularly dusty? Are extreme temperatures a regular occurrence? Are there any specific chemicals in the vicinity which might spill on or close to the scanner? Consideration of this finer level of detail should guide you to the units which stand the best chance of having a long, incident-free working life!

Additional risks
OK, it’s not possible to think about every eventuality but it pays to bear in mind any events which are likely (or perhaps have happened before). For example, if there is a chance that the scanner might find itself under the wheels of a fork-lift truck or delivery waggon, the most rugged of the ruggedised units might be the one for you!

Let us help!
At PLM Global we believe choice is important, but we also think that a little bit of guidance when making your choice can be invaluable. That’s why we are happy to share our extensive industry knowledge with the clients who come to us for the supply, repair or maintenance of their hand-held devices. If you’d like to find out a little bit more about our solutions then get in touch with our experts to discuss any specific challenges your scanner fleet might face.
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