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The fear of six-figure project costs often prevent many small to mid-sized manufacturers and distributors from taking advantage of Automated Data Collection ADC technologies. The key to implementing cost-effective ADC systems is knowing what technologies are available and the amount of integration required to implement them.
Applying this knowledge to the processes in your operation will help you in developing the scope of your project. For example, adding a keyboard-wedge bar-code scanner to an existing PC or terminal in a production or warehouse area is a very low cost method for applying ADC to existing shop-floor reporting and shipping applications.
This type of hardware is inexpensive and the only real programming required is that needed to add a bar code to the form work order, pick slip, etc.
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Bar codes There are two major categories of bar codes, one dimensional 1Dand two dimensional 2D. The symbology you use may be dictated by supply chain partners through a standardized compliance label program or, if only used internally, can be chosen based upon specific application tip: Although I would expect to see continued growth in the use of 2D bar codes, most warehouse and shop floor applications will continue to use 1D symbologies simply because the technology is less expensive and you generally only need enough data in the bar code to access the associated records in your inventory system database.
The 1D codes are very capable of accomplishing this. Bar-code scanners Laser or CCD. There are primarily two technologies used to read bar codes. Laser scanners use a laser beam that moves back and forth across the bar code reading the light and dark spaces.
Laser scanners have been in use for decades and are capable of scanning bar codes at significant distances.
CCD charged coupled device scanners act like a small digital camera and take a digital image of the bar code which is then decoded. CCD scanners offer a lower cost but are limited to a shorter scan distance usually within a few inches, however, the technology is advancing quickly and devices with longer scan distances are becoming available.
Because of the scan distance limitations, users in a warehouse environment will likely find laser scanners to be their best choice however for applications were bar codes are read from documents — such as in a shop-floor production-reporting application — CCD scanners should work fine.
Most scanners come with this functionality and also allow you to program them to read only certain symbologies this prevents someone from scanning the wrong bar code when multiple bar codes are present.
Keyboard-wedge scanners connect between a computer keyboard and the computer and send ASCII data to the computer as if the scanner were a keyboard. More simply put, the computer doesn't know that a scanner is attached and treats the data as though it were key strokes from the user.
The advantage of this is that there is no need for special software or programming on the computer. In its simplest application you hook the scanner up, make sure the curser is in the correct field, scan a bar code containing the data you need such as a work order number, an item number, or a location, and the data will immediately appear in the field on the screen.
Although this type of application can prove to be very useful and essentially works right "out of the box", you will find that by taking advantage of the programmable features of some devices you can take this functionality much further.
This is where it gets a little confusing as the programming and functionality is a little different based upon the hardware and software you purchase. Some keyboard-wedge scanners have built in programming functionality, while others are programmed on a separate wedge decoder, and there is also PC software that can perform tasks related to the data input from a scanner.
The good news is that you don't need to be a programmer to use this functionality.
If you have ever worked with macros you'll easily understand this type of programming. What most of these programs allow you to do is to parse data from a bar code allowing you to put several pieces of data in the same bar code such as item number and quantity, or customer number and shipping method and also add keystrokes not included in the bar code such as tabs to move between fields, default data, function keys or enter keystrokes to complete transactions.
Keyboard wedge scanners offer a low cost entry into the world of automated data collection and can provide increases in accuracy and productivity in many stationary data entry applications. There are also wireless versions of keyboard wedge scanners available.
Fixed position scanners are used where a bar code is moved in front of the scanner as opposed to the scanner being moved to the bar code. Applications include grocery check out counters and automated conveyor systems.Technology can be viewed as an activity that forms or changes culture.
Additionally, technology is the application of math, science, and the arts for the benefit of life as it is known. 5 Technologies That Are About to Change Your Life You just might get your flying car after all, claims this top VC.
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In other words, for the long suffering, there is plenty of hope to go around.