Tuesday, 20 October 2015

How using barcode technology helped British startup Tangle Teezer grow into an iconic hairbrush brand

In a recent article published in Techworld, a website dedicated to New and Disruptive technology and their impact on UK business and society, executives from Tangle Teezer discussed how the early adoption of innovative technology has helped this rapidly growing business cope with doubling the turnover every year since 2007 and the challenges that this brings.

Read the full Techworld article here:
How tech helped Brit startup Tangle Teezer grow into an iconic hairbrush brand

Tangle Teezer discusses its paperless mission, smart tracking QR codes and the technology that helped build it into an iconic British brand.

QR codes are now being used to create unique "serial numbers" to allow individual products to carry an "identity".  Tangle Teezer has adopted this technology and working with a specialist Security company CODIKETT®  Tangle Teezer have been able to mark every single hair brush that not only identifies the brush, but is registered with Codikett so that customers can check that their brush is genuine and Tangle Teezer can control products by geographical area.
Special QR Codes from Codikett
OK, so now we have QR codes on the brushes and on the packaging, but the code has to be read so that its "identity" can be registered with Codikett and its here that Barcode-IT helped Tangle Teezer use the latest WiFi data terminal from Datalogic fitted with an amazing multi-function barcode reader, that can not only read the high resolution QR codes, but also read normal barcodes within the warehouse.

The challenge was that in the warehouse the normal barcodes on the racking and the pallets, are stacked in racking 5 meters high and need a special long range barcode reader to read barcodes at that distance.  However Tangle Teezer did not want two devices and so Barcode-IT were able to supply the Falcon x3+ with 2D long range reader and special software to allow an operator to use a single terminal for normal warehouse tasks and scan the QR codes for upload to the Codikett servers in Germany.

Datalogic Falcon x3+ with Dexterity
Fortunately Tangle Teezer were already using Dexterity WMS for Sage 200, a high performance Warehouse Management System (WMS) that deals with the 850,000 products that Tangle Teezer ship every month!  So the software team at Barcode-IT were able to create a module that allows the data from the special QR codes to be captured and securely transmitted to Codikett as a normal part of the product picking and dispatch process within Dexterity WMS, then uploaded using a custom written web application.

Barcode-IT is a specialist barcode and data collection provider, supplying cutting edge hardware and software solutions to some of the UK's largest companies.They have created and supply Dexterity Warehouse Management System, as a bolt on for small and medium ERP, such as Sage 200, Navision, etc.  Dexterity is perfect for businesses where the requirements of the warehouse and logistics dept, outstrip the built-in stock control of many ERP systems.

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

Monday, 12 October 2015

Mobile Printer with WiFi Diversity from Printronix

A new mobile printer from Printronix proudly trumpets that it has Diversity.  Diversity? What the heck does that mean, that it can be used by men and women, it's not prejudiced?

Well no its none of these.  Diversity in this context is about WiFi Diversity, a hidden radio technology that is increasingly being used in industrial WiFi devices and which can have big benefits in many manufacturing and warehouse businesses.

Most WiFi used on Laptops, pads and even mobile phones, has a single radio antenna that connects to the nearest local Access Point (AP).  Most homes have only one AP and many offices will only have a few APs scattered around.  But in a large manufacturing or warehouse environments, there could be many many APs allowing the WiFi network to span the whole business and It is in these multi-access point spaces that WiFi Diversity can become important.

Most ordinary WiFi devices use a single radio antenna to connect to the most powerful AP it is authorised to use and the device will only look for another AP when the current signal becomes unacceptably low.  This can lead to the loss of WiFi while the device negotiates with the next AP for access to the network and while this can be irritating if you are looking at a web page or downloading e-mail it can be catastrophic it your device is doing real-time transactions on your ERP or if the device is a mobile printer trying to print business critical barcode labels.

The solution, you guessed it, WiFi Diversity!  Here the device has two antennas and talks to the first AP while secretly negotiating with other "next connection" APs in the background. So when the WiFi signal from the current AP becomes too weak the swap to the next AP is seamless and instant.

Printronix is the first manufacturer to recognise that many mobile printers are now used in highly dynamic environments, attached to fork trucks and industrial vehicles or being used by a worker who is highly mobile.  The M4L2 has a number of other enhancements, an extended life battery as standard giving over 10 hours life, beefed up rugged construction and ZPL and CPCL languages as standard.

Full details about the Printronix M4L2 can be found on the Barcode-IT web site or watch the video above for a quick overview.

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