Thursday, 15 January 2015

Power to Your People!

Mobile computing on the factory floor has become increasingly important in the fast paced, just in time world that we all live in, with many workers using portable barcode terminals to receive instructions and complete transactions.

Mobile printing on the shop floor is also very important and many new wearable printers are now available to produce tickets and delivery labels.

However some labels required in the manufacturing process, need to have a longer life, some up to 25 years and these can only be produced using good old Thermal Transfer barcode label printers. The downside to this printing process is that it requires a full sized label printer using 240v mains electricity, which sort of defeats the mobile concept.


The type of labels that need to be printed using a full size
Thermal Transfer printer includes very high quality product  and identification labels for parts, location and sub-assemblies. Often printed with batch, serial, or specific product information, such as a automotive VIN labels or maintenance location labels made of plastic. All these need special ribbons and print characteristics not found on most mobile printers.

Enter the mobile PrintCart from Printronix, a purpose designed mobile platform with a fully integrated 240 volt power supply and all the features needed to create a totally mobile, full power workstation.

Now I know what you are thinking... that's EASY, just find some old trolley, throw in a UPS and Hey Presto, a mobile 240 volt work cart.  But in practise it turns out not to be so easy, as many who have tried have found out.  UPS are designed to provide power for a short time to bridge a temporary power outage or to allow time for a safe shut down of servers and computer infrastructure.  They most certainly will not provide a steady flow of power for a full double shift (in fact up to 20 hours) for printers and mobile workstations on the factory floor. Printronix have used a combination of specially designed batteries, combined with sophisticated electronics to create the perfect Powered Work Cart.

High end Automotive Manufacturers, Aerospace production and other large scale manufacturing and engineering businesses are all users of Printronix PrintCarts, who often don't have fixed manufacturing locations for their complex or very large products.  However surprisingly it seems that Asda/Walmart are the world biggest users of the PrintCart, so I guess in their case, its a requirement for functionality and reliability for the label print job that dictates the need for a Full Fat label printer.

I hear that a certain very large Luxury car manufacturer in Cheshire has ordered some carts for a new project, following an on site trial.  In this case they are using Printronix T5204r printers connected to SAP via WiFi (T5000r printers are their standard label printer), but other makes of Label Printer will work just as well, such as Zebra, Datamax, Intermec etc.

Plus, with a full mains power supply, any kind of workstation with a WiFi connection can be added to the cart to act as an interface for the worker.  Throw in some well designed storage, bins, slide out work surface, a location for a barcode scanner and even a waste bin!  Then you have the perfect fully mobile, 240v or 110v heavy duty work platform, capable of running for at least a double shift.

Check out this video for a full walk through of the features.



Written by David Parkinson - partner at Dash Computer Products, who specialises in barcode driven WMS, hand held and fork truck mounted computers and barcode label printing solutions.
contact David on 01200 441977 or email here:  Sales@Dash Computer

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