Consumer Grade vs. Rugged Mobile Computers in the Warehouse

Get the most out of your workforce with rugged mobile computers
Rugged mobile computers are built to withstand tough working conditions across North America as well as in global locations.  Using rugged devices enables your workforce to get work done faster, more accurately and productively and in a more consistent manner with greater efficiency.  The rigors of industrial operations especially those with variable temperature and other challenging environments requires the use of devices that are specially designed to withstand these conditions.
On average, rugged handheld mobile devices can be deployed for up to three times longer than consumer devices and include sophisticated touch screen technology suitable for multiple tough working conditions and environments.
Why do companies invest in mobile computers and tablet computers?  These rugged mobile devices are purposely designed and constructed to withstand the difficulties of tough working environments so as to have maximum uptime.  Industrial handheld devices tend to be favored by workers for ergonometric factors, ease of use and maximum uptime.

Specifically for cold and freezer environments, mobile computers must be designed and built to meet temperature sensitive challenges.  In devices not constructed for cold environments, condensation can cause device corrosion, short-circuit and failure. Because batteries are unable to release energy when temperatures are below critical levels, devices not designed for cold environments become unreliable and productivity problems ensue.  Designed to enable use with heavily gloved hands, mobile computers designed for cold storage environments are critical for freezer environments.

Used for data capture and to work seamlessly with software solutions and tracking software, these critical computing devices are essential to effective daily operations. 

These industrial grade handheld mobile computers facilitate real time data communications and typically include a range of functionality within one device, feature higher safeguards against environmental damage and enable a greater range of communication alternatives:

  • Range of wireless options
  • WiFi, WLAN, WWAN
  • Multiple cellular networks
  • Enterprise level security helps to safeguard unauthorized access to private data and data communications
  • Built to withstand tough, demanding unpredictable weather conditions and climates
  • Designed to transition between cold and warm locations
  • Highly resistant to abuse from vibrations, shock, drops and other potential forms of damage
  • Designed to ensure maximum uptime without loss of productivity
  • Able to deal with the challenges inherent in wireless connectivity
  • Designed with ergonomics in mind, especially important when devices need to be used for long periods of time
  • Designed for maximum readability, including in situations when brightness and contrast of the display are critical
  • Constructed and sealed to withstand frost and condensation to make sure that screen and scanner remain usable and prevent keys from sticking
  • Resistant to dust and moisture, splashes of water against enclosure
  • Eliminates the need for a separate phone
  • Enables Internet connection while in the field or facility
  • Enables users to send emails, SMS texts and connect the company intranet
  • Includes in-device camera that enables users to take resolution images, video and documents damaged inventory or assets, quality control issues, illegally parked vehicles, permits and much more
Most rugged devices allow users to change out a low battery for a fully charged one and enable mobile computers to be mounted in a variety of ways.  Use of an integrated GPS receiver ensures accurate tracking when used with a WWAN and can be combined with other tracking technologies.
Rugged mobile devices are designed to meet ergonomic concerns.  These concerns can include:

  • Device weight reduction
  • Eliminating the need for “tilt and verify” motions that are repeatedly needed with traditional devices

Who Uses Rugged Mobile Computers? 

Here are some of the industries in which enterprise mobile devices are frequently used for data capture and other functions:

Industrial

  • Captures data and transmits it wirelessly in real time
  • Manages inventory, especially in hazardous environments and under tough working conditions
  • Handles communications and merchandising activities
  • Industrial handheld mobile devices integrate seamlessly with material handling and equipment for accurate asset tracking and management

Mining

  • Handles timekeeping
  • Ideal for tracking vehicles, assets, maintenance, supply delivery
  • Enables real time communications
  • Facilitates data collection
  • Requires rugged mobile devices that can withstand dust, vibrations, moisture and fluctuations in temperature

Military

  • Executes tasks in tough battlefield environments and hazardous environments
  • Utilized for dependability, long battery life
  • Enables real time communications

Agriculture

  • Tracks of livestock with RFID
  • Utilizes agriculture technology innovations
  • Facilitates farm inventory management
  • Handles irrigation control systems

Warehousing, Transportation and Logistics

  • Handles fast paced operations in distribution centers, warehouses and for 3PLs including those for delivery and package tracking, asset management and inventory management
  • Specialized mobile computer devices available for cold storage environments
  • Process large masses of data quickly, accurately and reliably in warehouse, 3PL and distribution environments
  • Executes mass amounts of scans efficiently and communicates via a wireless network
  • Enables interaction with other devices such as RFID readers, id card printers, mobile printers and barcode printers (for printing of barcode labels)
  • Includes data capture devices for specialized functionality such as vehicle mounted terminals, handheld scanners, tablets, wearable computers such as ring scanners
 

Oil and Gas Operations

  • Ideal when working in harsh environments such as remote pipeline locations and on oil rigs
  • Operates to military standards for ruggedness of mobile devices
  • Enables real time data capture for monitoring of resources & transportation activities
  • Helps to ensure information security even in remote locations

Construction

  • Enables document storage and retrieval including blueprints
  • Tracks inventory and assets on site

Public Safety, Utilities, Waste Management and Public Works

  • Enables accurate timely collection, tracking and reporting of data
  • Facilitate navigation of routes, enables pre-planning and other key activities
  • Enables greater uptime with long battery life, highly reliable devices
  • Helps with documentation requirements and storage
  • Handles complex calculations

Here are some other industries which rely on industrial-grade handheld computers and rugged mobile devices for maximum uptime in daily operations:

  • Field Service
  • Security
  • Railway and Road Maintenance
  • Public Transportation
  • Environmental Work
  • GIS and Mapping
  • Forestry

Conclusion

Rugged mobile computers are designed and built in order to withstand the rigors of tough working environments.  With specialized seals, internal heaters, insulation and other features, industrial grade mobile devices can withstand temperature swings, dust, dirt and condensation as well as drops and other hazards.

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