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The Rationale for Rugged Mobility

October 2016
 
Why Go Rugged?
 
Most mobile computing devices are not designed for outdoor or physically-stressful environments. Once a laptop, notepad, scanner or handheld computer leaves the safe confines of an office, the chances of it failing or being damaged increase considerably.
 
Rugged mobile computing is primarily about risk mitigation and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Unlike a device designed for office use, a rugged mobile computing device is built to a standard rather than a price point. In “critical” operating environments - such as hospitals, warehouses, factories, airports, mines and remote technical facilities – the potential cost of operational failure outweighs the device’s initial cost.
 
In other words, rugged mobile computing devices excel in environments where there’s a need for high-performance on a consistent basis.
 
Definitions of Rugged
 
Not all rugged mobile computing devices are created equally. To select the right device, a buyer needs to understand how “rugged” is defined. Luckily a number of standards and markers have been created to assist in the procurement process.
 
MIL-STD-810G
Devised in 2008, MIL-STD-810G is a United States military standard used to verify whether a device can handle a series of specific environmental stress tests. These laboratory tests (24 in total) expose a device to stressors such as low and high temperature, rain, humidity, sand and dust, immersion, shock and vibration.
 
Ingress Protection (IP) – based on IEC standard 60529
An electrical device can be given an IP rating to indicate its resistance to solid particles (dust) and liquids. An IP rating is usually represented by two digits, eg. IP65. The first digit represents the “dust” rating (the range is 0-6), and the second digit represents the “liquid” rating (the range is usually 0-8, but there’s a special 9K rating). A combination of higher digits indicates a more resilient electrical device.
 
Rugged mobile computing devices which don’t have an official MIL-STD-810G or IP rating may still verify protection in the form of drop test and temperature ratings.
 
Industries Suitable for Rugged Mobile Computing Devices
 
 Defence, Government & Health
 Warehousing, Logistics & Transport
 Retail & Services
 Utilities & Telecommunications
 Technical & Industrial
 Emergency Services
 Automotive & Aviation
 Primary & Extractive Industries
 
Summary
Your choice of a rugged laptop, notepad, scanner or handheld computer will depend primarily on the application and the accompanying physical environment. Barcode Dynamics offers a wide range of rugged mobile computing devices from leading brands such as Zebra and Panasonic.
 
For further information on rugged mobile computing devices, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on 07 3399 6510.

Buying a Label Printer

September 2016
 
Scenario
Your business requires quality labels on an ad hoc or random basis. The print runs are small, so a professional printing facility isn’t feasible or cost-effective. What do you do? Obviously you need to buy a label printer, but which one?
 
The Market
The market in label printers is vast and complicated – there are countless brands, models and technologies to choose from. It’s easy to get confused and make an expensive mistake.

Apart from choosing a reputable brand with durability, the key factor in buying a label printer is the technology type. Label printers generally use “direct thermal” or “thermal transfer” technology to produce a label. Both technology types have their pros and cons.

Direct Thermal versus Thermal Transfer
Direct thermal printers use heat sensitive labels and don’t require a ribbon – hence they’re cheaper and easier to operate. The downside is that the labels usually fade within 12 months, particularly if exposed to sunlight, heat or chemicals. Labels produced by direct thermal technology are ideal for short-term applications, such as patient wristbands, pathology specimen labels and shipping labels.

By contrast, thermal transfer printers use heat to chemically transfer ink from a carbon-based ribbon onto a label. The resulting labels have greater definition and durability than “direct thermal” labels. Thermal transfer printing also accommodates other ink colours (besides black) and a greater range of label stocks (paper, film, foil, PVC vinyl). Applications for “thermal transfer” labels include safety labels and high-density barcodes.

Other technology types include laser and impact, but these are less popular than direct thermal and thermal transfer.

Summary
Your choice of label printer will depend primarily on the application and the frequency of use. Barcode Dynamics offers a wide range of desktop printers, label printer applicators, RFID readers and industrial printers from the world’s leading brands, including Zebra, Honeywell, Datamax and Intermec.

For further information on label printers and label stock, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on 07 3399 6510.

Panasonic's Latest Toughpads

Introducing Panasonic's New Range of Toughpads!

Never before has so much capability, flexibility and performance been packed into such a small form factor with premium outdoor viewing quality and lightweight, mobile tablet design.

The simple fact is, any device can be labeled "rugged" and we can provide our customers with the right information to ensure they will be armed with the ruggedized mobile computer or tablet that meets their needs at the lowest total cost of ownership.

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