1 Mar 2019

How to Select Rugged Display and Data Collection Solutions for Forklift Operators

Warehouse owners and forklift operators are well aware of the fact that that within every forklift operation lies a complex set of technology and equipment that are critical to warehouse productivity. However, finding the best technology for your operation can be difficult.

Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a solution:

Android Operating System

While Windows has dominated industrial applications for the last several years, Android has flown under the radar, slowly increasing its capabilities and features, until recently, when it overtook Windows operating systems in popularity.

With Windows End of Life approaching, more and more warehouses are choosing devices with Android operating systems. Many workers are already familiar with Android OS through their own personal use of Android devices.

Android’s popularity is likely due to its open platform, which provides developer flexibility, and makes integration and scaling significantly easier and more cost-effective. When selecting data capture and rugged display solutions, opt for an Android OS.

High Durability – IP54

Whether out in the field or within a warehouse, forklift operators aren’t usually working in mild, comfortable conditions. Four-foot drops, rough handling, and vibrations are all too common for equipment, so rugged display solutions with superior durability are the only viable options.

An IP54 tablet can protect against dust with limited ingress. For operations in wet, icy, or snowy environments, tablets with an IP54 rating will also provide protection against water. This rating is important, because the last thing a forklift operator needs is for their equipment to stop working in the middle of a shift after coming into contact with dust or water.

Fast Data Capture

For forklift workers who operate on a pallet-per-day productivity level, fast data capture is critical. A fast-paced environment like this offers little time for slow technology. Luckily, barcode scanners can be integrated into rugged display solutions for faster data capture.

An integrated barcode scanner can decrease the time it takes for forklift operators to capture critical data. Plus, this effectively reduces the amount of equipment that forklift operators need with them in the confined area of the forklift cab.

Large, Easy-to-Read Display

Within a forklift, the display is often mounted a full arm’s-reach away from the operator. This can make small screens difficult to read. Instead, opt for larger displays (7-10 inches) that are easy to read at a reasonable distance.

These displays should be sensitive enough to pick up data input. However, because forklifts oftentimes produce heavy vibrations when in use, it’s important that these rugged display solutions are not so sensitive that the vibrations from the forklifts end up affecting the data input.

Ability to Operate in Extreme Environments

Because forklifts are utilized globally, in every type of climate, the machinery and equipment they use will need to be able to withstand extreme temperatures and harsh conditions. Rugged display solutions should be able to handle:

  • Operating temp – 0º C to 40º C (32º – 104º F)
  • Storage temp – 10º C to 45º C (-45º – 114º F)
  • Operating Humidity – 20% – 80% RH non-condensing
  • Storage Humidity – 20% – 80% RF non-condensing

Anything less than this won’t be a viable option for many forklift operators.

Be sure any data collection and display solution you choose can work effectively under the conditions your forklift operates in, and is capable of handling both the needs of your industry, as well as the needs of your forklift operators.