Warehouse and Shop floor Electronics’ Worst Foes

Petr Stejskal Aimtec
22. 2. 2024 | 3 minutes reading

Manufacturing and storage spaces are often demanding environments, presenting a challenge not only for the people moving in them, but also for their electronic assistants. Barcode scanners, vehicle-mounted computers or printers are everywhere. What dangers await these devices? Let’s take a look at their three greatest enemies.

Enemy number one: dust

The first enemy is dust. It’s all around. This can be “ordinary” dust floating in the air, but also dust that’s a side effect of production. It can often be sticky, corrosive or abrasive. A device must be prepared for every scenario, so you should always insist on the highest IP rating. Uncovered and non-industrial connectors deserve your attention as well (the traditional USB interfaces on ordinary devices are the most vulnerable ones). Most Zebra industrial devices (from scanners to mobile terminals to vehicle-mounted terminals) are available with IP6X rating, and thus offer the highest protection against the ingress of dust.

A typical example of a dusty environment is the LASSELSBERGER factory in Chlumčany nearby Pilsen, which produces ceramic tiles for the renowned RAKO brand. “Tile manufacturing has its specifics, which we have to know how to handle in logistics – we work with a variety of product formats, batches and quality levels, and special rules for work with them. Besides these specifics, our production is connected with a quite noisy and, above all, dusty environment. So, the devices we use in production and logistics must withstand extreme conditions,” says LASSELSBERGER’s logistics manager Pavel Vokáč.

Rock-solid durability is a necessity

Vibrations are another foe. This may surprise you – even the handling-equipment drivers don’t feel them, because they’re sitting on suspended seats. But anything that is affixed firmly is permanently subjected to major vibrations. Every electronic unit installed on handling equipment must be able to withstand vibrations and must be designed accordingly from the ground up. Besides special vehicle terminals designed for maximum ruggedness, Zebra also offers industrial tablets that can be mounted onto handling equipment using accessories. By definition, high-quality components, an extremely resilient chassis and a vibration-resistant construction are all a necessity.

Tick-tock, tick-tock…

The third and perhaps most surprising enemy is the time factor. Many people replace their mobile phones once every year or two. But warehouse equipment is expected to serve for much longer than this. Customers buy equipment for five-year periods at minimum, but longer cycles are also common. And so it is essential to equip your operators with devices that won’t become obsolete too soon and that also contain top-notch industrial components with long lifespans. Capacitors, printed circuit boards, electronic chips… all these are a part of every device. Even when components may look identical at first sight, each one has its own life expectancy. You should therefore always seek top-quality devices while also asking about each one’s guaranteed life cycle.

The vast majority of Zebra’s industrial device models offer a five-year availability guarantee plus a subsequent servicing support guarantee for a further five years, thus typically achieving a ten-year life cycle.

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