How Rugged Should Your Handheld Scanners Be?

Automated data capture is a business’ ticket to maximized accuracy and labor efficiency; however, to deliver realized benefits, your scanning device must be appropriately paired with your workflow. Under-performing scanners halt productivity with lower battery lifecycles and short-range scanning, but misused ultra-rugged scanners can be too complicated and bulky for mobile workers to use. Therefore, it is important for operations to first assess the ruggedness features in your desired scanner to enable:

  • Accurate asset tracking
  • Real-time inventory updates
  • Seamless order verification
  • Minimized data errors in your WMS
  • Connected field services

“What should I be looking for in my scanner upgrade?”

Coming from a long legacy of tested durability, Zebra’s enterprise-grade scanners have been constantly redefining the standards of modernized data capture. Whether you are looking for a general-purpose imager or a high-performing rugged scanner, consider the following:

  1. Data capture mechanism – Scanners can be categorized by whether they use a laser or imager to read barcodes. A laser scanner like Zebra’s L14278 is generally more cost-effective since it utilizes a red laser to read 1D black-and-white barcodes. Omnidirectional laser scanners eliminate the need for precise aiming, speeding up the scanning process. On the other hand, imaging technologies can capture the entire barcode in a digital image and decipher the information from both 1D and 2D barcodes. Intelligent PRZM scanners such as the DS4600 are more suitable for 2-D barcode applications in frontline operations.
  2.  IP rating and other durability measures – Outdoor and unique applications such as cold storage will require more than a higher IP rating. For example, Zebra’s DS3600 is equipped with an 8ft. drop spec, waterproof and dust-proof design, and 23% more durability than competing devices. For a more lightweight option that still survives in tougher industrial environments, the DS8100 is a viable option as it provides similar benefits in a more simplistic design.
  3. Connectivity options (hand-free or fixed-mount) – Hands-free scanners have overtaken the modern warehouse due to their ability to leverage natural muscle movement in the workflow to faster employee onboarding and data capture. Easy tap-and-pair in devices like the RS6000 facilitate total wearable solutions for increased productivity and picking accuracy. As for corded/fixed-mount images similar to Zebra’s DS457, these eliminate Bluetooth interference and possible battery depletion issues.
  4. Scanning speeds and distances – Fast-paced operations such as fulfilment for e-commerce count on quicker scanning speeds to avoid shipment delays. That’s where intelligent scanning applications such as SimulScan come handy with multiple barcode capture. As for scanning range, standard-range devices successfully grab information nearby without confusing devices. In contrast, intelligent long-range readers are designed to target barcodes up to 70ft, enabling safe scanning of products located on high racks and shelves.
  5. Battery performance – Lastly, enterprise-ready scanners should last beyond the standard 8-hour shift to prevent downtime from uncharged batteries. While individual scanners may come equipped with long-lasting batteries, Zebra’s PowerPrecision mitigates surprise downtime by enabling clear battery management for all deployed devices. That means your workers can verify devices were properly charged and are fit for a full shift before the day begins. 

To explore Zebra’s entire scanner portfolio, click here.

Make the upgrade with the GO Zebra Trade-In Program

Avalon facilitates your upgrade with the GO Zebra Trade-In Program. Simply purchase your upgraded scanner and submit your claim form within 90 days of the invoice date to trade-in devices from any manufacturer for cash rebates towards your upgrade.

No two mobility solutions are the same. That’s why we encourage meeting up with a modernization specialist to better pinpoint the data capture needs of your operations to best select a scanner fit for your goals.

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