Production Monitoring & Tracking: The Rugged Facts

A worker has scanned steel roll production

Heavy industry has traditionally been an area where technology has been forced to constantly improve in order to meet the needs of a demanding work place as it requires every element operating within it to be robust. Data capture systems are no different and thankfully several mobile computer and barcode scanner manufacturers have taken on the challenge to now provide customers with a wide range of hardware that can operate in virtually all work places.

Whether you operate an automated production facility or simply cut and process raw materials, the need to monitor and track production levels is a vital part of maintaining an efficient production plant. Data can be captured at any stage of the production process and this can be done either automatically on a line, or manually for products or sites that cannot be automated.

Whilst data is of course captured automatically on a production line, the manual data capture process can also be a very fast and efficient process. Naturally it’s much more accurate than using a paper based system and there’s also a huge time saving element to consider as the recorded data is sent directly to the place it needs to be without the need for replicating the data entry process once again via a PC keyboard.

Hardware: Clients can now choose from a wide range of rugged tablets, mobile computers or fixed position terminals to capture production data all of which are built to withstand multiple drops to concrete and can be operated outdoors in wet, cold conditions or indoors within extremely warm or sub zero temperatures. More recently, the advancement of the ultra low cost Microsoft Raspberry Pi 3 computer and it’s ever extending range of compatible industrial cases has now also made this a viable option for shop floor data capture at a budget price. The RPi3 are sufficiently low cost that a standard terminal with an industrial steel case costs less than £50.00 + VAT with accessories available for just a few extra pounds.

Mann scannt Pakete mit Waren im Versandzentrum ein
Casio DT-X200 Water
 Typical rugged handheld device.
 Industrial tablet device (TT8).
RPi 3 with Aluminium Protective Case

Software: Software applications need to be designed around the work processes being conducted on a day to day basis and these can either be supplied to order or can be created and deployed internally using a simple self build solution that works on either a Windows Mobile/Ce or Android operating system. The RPi device is a customisable solution but a modest, fully functioning data capture solution can be created for this device for just a few hundred pounds subject to an agreed specification.

Identification: Choose from a range of identification methods such as direct part marking (DPM) barcodes: robust labels or tags; re-usable steel labels on Containers or Totes; or disposable labels for extreme production processes. RFID technology can also be used if required using either NFC tags or UHF labels.

If you feel your organisation would benefit from the introduction of a simple production tracking system then, regardless of the type of work environment, please get in touch with us and let us meet the challenge to show you just how it easily it can be achieved.