Scanners in Hazardous Environments
Think of the daily wear and tear that you put your mobile phone through. Do you regularly drop your phone? Does it have a few scratches and dents that tell the story of a night out or a moment of clumsiness? Handheld devices such as barcode scanners are no different, they are put through consecutive hours of use and often subjected to a fall or an “on the job accident”. These accidents come part and parcel with the job, however can be dangerous in certain lines of work. Impacts can lead to leaky batteries and in severe cases, even explosions. There have been numerous documented cases of exploding phones, the same can occur for any handheld scanners. For companies, the damage done by this can be far more severe than simply replacing a unit - instead much collateral damage can be caused. For those who work in mines near explosives, in pharmaceutical companies near dangerous chemicals or in petroleum companies surrounded by gas and petrol as well as other dangerous environments, these handheld computers need to be built sturdy to prevent potentially catastrophic situations.
Previously, those who wanted a sturdy device had to make sacrifices elsewhere in size, weight, technology, extras and other facets. Instead, Intermec in conjunction with ecom have built a handheld scanner from the ground up to be used in such hazardous environments. The Intermec i.roc Ci70 can handle just about anything you can throw at it. It is built so that it can survive a 1.2m drop quite comfortably, be unaffected by an 8kV contact discharge through non-incendive circuitry, shows resistance to rain and rust and be operated between -20 and 50 degrees Celsius. These impressive specifications give it the highest number of global approvals for use in hazardous environments. Safety does not come at the expense of usability in this case with the Ci70 weighing less than a kilo and not being overly bulky like previous intrinsically safe devices have been in the past.
What really sets the Ci70 apart from previous intrinsically safe devices is that whilst it boasts an impressive array of accolades in the safety department, it can also go toe to toe with any other handheld computer in a technological sense. It runs a Windows Embedded Handheld operating system, boasts 512 MB of RAM and a 1GB flash memory. All these features make it competitive with other handheld computers that don’t have to pass such stringent safety measures. On the scanning side of things, the Ci70 has 2D imager, 1D laser scanner, HF RFID, LF RFID and UHR RFID capabilities. Much like other members of the Intermec 70 series mobile computer family such as the CK70, CK71 and CN70, the Ci70 is compatible with many add on extras such as a FlexDock docking and charging system, carrier strap, mircro SD cards and custom made leather cases
Another recent Haz-Loc-certified offering comes from Motorola. That includes the Motorola MC75A mobile computer, the gun-style MC9190 and the industrial class MC9500 mobile computer for field mobility. The Motorola devices for hazardous locations have been co-developed with Bartec.
In rugged environments that have many hazards, only the best will do. There is simply no room for error or for a faulty device when so many lives can be put at risk through nothing more than a small spark inciting an explosion. The intrinsically safe Ci70 is simply a cut above previous safe models allowing for a record number of global safety approvals whilst not compromising on the features that are essential to handheld computers and companies have come to expect from the market. Such a device gives a company confidence to be able to achieve the efficiency they want, with minimal risk to safety.