Bluetooth-enabled barcode scanners boost warehouse productivity

Bluetooth technology has given users a new level of freedom in the way they operate computing and communications devices. Being able to talk on a cell phone—and keep both hands on the steering wheel—while driving is a prime example. Now that same level of freedom is being given to warehouse workers, thanks to the introduction of a Bluetooth-enabled bar code scanner by LXE, a manufac...

11/01/2009


 

The LXE Bluetooth Ring Scanner fits on the user’s index finger and connects to a battery pack worn on the hand or arm.

The LXE Bluetooth Ring Scanner fits on the user’s index finger and connects to a battery pack worn on the hand or arm.


Bluetooth technology has given users a new level of freedom in the way they operate computing and communications devices. Being able to talk on a cell phone—and keep both hands on the steering wheel—while driving is a prime example.

Now that same level of freedom is being given to warehouse workers, thanks to the introduction of a Bluetooth-enabled bar code scanner by LXE, a manufacturer of rugged mobile computers.

The LXE Bluetooth Ringer Scanner also is classified as a wearable computer, because the device fits on users' index finger and is connected to a battery pack worn on the hand or arm.

After scanning a barcode, the device transmits the data to a vehicle-mounted computer, recording the movement of material.

“It's perfect for the warehouse because it enables users to use both hands for an activity such as loading a pallet, but it also allows them to conduct bar-code scanning,” says Doug Brown, director, product management, LXE. “It may not sound like such a big deal at first, but we have users tell us they can load a pallet 20 percent to 30 percent faster by not having to holster a handheld mobile computer.”

That time savings is becoming increasingly critical as customers start to submit more complex orders. For instance, retailers asking that different types of products—such as body soap and laundry detergent—be placed on the same pallets in order to minimize inventory and transportation costs.

“We're seeing this trend grow quickly, in industries ranging from automotive to consumer packaged goods,” Brown says, adding that the Bluetooth Ring Scanner is an excellent tool for these tasks.

Safelite AutoGlass, a national supplier of vehicle glass, found that to be true. Safelite, based in Columbus, Ohio, offers complete aftermarket vehicle glass service for retail and wholesale customers from manufacturing through installation and repair, even managing the insurance claims process.

During its recent transition to a mixed-pallet approach, Safelite deployed a warehouse management system with mobile computers. It wanted to test LXE's Bluetooth Ring Scanner because handling vehicle glass requires two hands, says Michael Bradsher, facility controller for manufacturing and distribution at Safelite.

The company now uses a Cambar warehouse management system that includes 18 of LXE's MX7 flagship rugged handheld computers, and 25 of LXE's VX6 rugged vehicle-mounted computers. Safelite also uses LXE's Bluetooth Ring Scanners for cable-free communication between the scanner and mobile computer.

Shortly after deploying the system, Safelite saw a dramatic increase in worker productivity, Bradsher says.

“With the Bluetooth-enabled ring scanner, workers are able to quickly scan the appropriate bar code without having to pick up and then put down a mobile terminal, or walk back to the vehicle-mounted unit,” Bradsher says. “The light weight also prevents fatigue during the shift. Our associates use the ring scanners, and they like them.”

Workers using the LXE Bluetooth Ring Scanner can use two hands to move goods while also scanning bar codes to keep track of material movement, boosting overall productivity.

Workers using the LXE Bluetooth Ring Scanner can use two hands to move goods while also scanning bar codes to keep track of material movement, boosting overall productivity.

 





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
2016 Product of the Year; Diagnose bearing failures; Asset performance management; Testing dust collector performance measures
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me