Problem

A manufacturer of traffic safety products was looking to improve inventory control (including scanning orders, picking and pulling) and streamline their asset tracking of totes in the yard.

Stored in over 10,000 totes, inventory and assets were outside in the yard stacked up four shelves high and each shelf was four feet tall. This meant some bar codes were as much as 16 feet in the air. The current scanners were simply not performing at that range.

The bar codes themselves were also not ideal for the use case. The manufacturer was using 1D 40 mil barcodes that often got damaged due to the construction site environment and being moved by forklifts.

Finally, the manufacturer was having connectivity issues when moving from inside the warehouse to outside in the yard. When AbeTech started the project, the company was using Wi-Fi outside. This was causing disconnects and slow loading times when workers outside were attempting to sync their data back to the business intelligence software.
 

Solution

For optimal scanning, AbeTech suggested a switch to 2D data matrix codes that would be easier to scan at 16 feet. Not only would these 2D codes be easier to scan at a distance, they would stand up better to the harsh work environment and are easier to scan if damaged.

With the label selection out of the way, it was time to consider new hardware. The manufacturer needed a device that would scan up to 16 feet and also have the flexibility of Wi-Fi and cellular data in one device. This would solve the issue of losing connection when outside in the yard.

AbeTech recommended a solution that would not only meet the company’s budget, but also improve their overall scanning capabilities and future-proof with the ability to upgrade in the future: MX-1502 Mobile Terminals from Cognex and Galaxy S7 mobile phones.

The Galaxy S7 has a better processor than the current purpose-built scanners the manufacturer was using, so the browser-based business intelligence software actually ran smoother on the S7 than comparable enterprise mobile computers/scanners. Another benefit of choosing a consumer smartphone for this application was the fact the phones have unlocked GSM/CDMA radios. As a multinational company, this means the devices can be standardized across the company, regardless of region (Australia, UK, Canada, etc.).

Even though the Galaxy S7s are a consumer grade devices, the MX-1502 Mobile Terminals are IP65 rated and able withstand up to 2 meter drops on concrete. This is perfect for the rugged environment the manufacturer will use the devices in. The lens on the MX-1502 means that scanning performance is more than enough to reach the new 2D matrix codes 16 feet in the air.
 

Results

The solution will continue to roll out to more sites across the US and other international regions as well. So far the results have been perfect for the manufacturer’s needs. With the MX-1502 Mobile Terminals, workers can now effectively scan bar codes on totes 16 feet up. The new 2D matrix codes are not only easier to read, but withstand more damage in the yard.

There is much less downtime due to connectivity issues with the new cellular GSM/CDMA radios in the Galaxy S7 devices. Workers are able to move from indoors to outdoors and not lose connection to business intelligence software.

For more information on Cognex 1502 Mobile Terminals used in this custom solution, call AbeTech now at 888.682.3113 or email us to learn more and request a free consultation.

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