Welcome back to my series on how to Get LEAN by implementing 2D Matrix Barcodes in your manufacturing facility.
In my last blog, I shared how the physical features of a 2D Data Matrix barcode that has been applied via Direct Part Mark (DPM) have been beneficial to manufacturers of Print Circuit Boards (PCBs) and component reels. Click to read this blog.

Today, I will discuss what types of barcode scanners are critical to success in manufacturing.

Line Operator Ease barcode scanning in manufacturing

In manufacturing, there has been a strong push to eliminate the need for line operators to bend or reach while performing any of their required tasks.
Since most barcode scanners are either Standard Range or Extended Range, it has been important to find a solution with a middle ground; something that doesn’t have too close or too far of a specified scanning distance.
Emerging technology has allowed us to successfully implement Honeywell Granit 1981i Industrial 2D Cordless Imagers in several facilities across the U.S.
The Granit includes full-range scanning, which enables the operator to scan barcodes anywhere from 4” to 5’ away. Of course, the size of the barcode will dictate how far away one can scan and the distance could go way beyond 5’.
In the instance of PCBs and component reels, the barcode size has an industry standard due to available space, so we have found our calculated scanning distances to be a good average.

Cordless Bluetooth Scanning

Have you noticed the large demand for cordless barcode scanners in manufacturing?
By removing the interface cable from the scanner, you can eliminate any potential hazards, while also making sure that the cable isn’t damaged by any equipment.
Bluetooth cordless scanners have a charging communications base located at the PC(s) for each scanner. Bluetooth is the preferred technology since there are only a few WI-FI cordless scanning solutions available and the bugs for those are still being ironed out.
For Bluetooth barcode scanners, the communication distance from scanner to base has an industry standard of 10 meters or 33 feet. In some instances, there are solutions available that include Bluetooth 2.0, which has an industry standard of 100 meters or 330 feet.
Two cordless scanners that include Bluetooth 2.0 are the Honeywell Granit 1911i and the Honeywell Granit 1981i. Both of these barcode scanners enable operators to meet the demands of longer assembly lines and larger working areas without worrying about sacrificing accuracy. We have found that Granit scanners have the perfect combination of scanning technology, scanning distance and communication distance.

Extended Communication Range from Base

I find tremendous value in providing a barcode scanning solution that will successfully communicate with a base past the standard 33 foot distance.
Keep in mind that standard Bluetooth scanners will still collect data past the 33 foot distance but will batch the data, meaning they will hold a limited amount of barcode data internally until they are either back in communication distance with the base or can sync with the base to retrieve that information.
For some applications, this might be acceptable, but for most manufacturers, the need for real-time information supersedes the savings of implementing a standard Bluetooth solution.
Interested in learning more? Check back for Part 3, which will cover application versatility, customized scanner programming and industrial footprint.
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