26 April 2019
The average digital
device doesn’t do well in the cold. In fact, extremes of temperature in either
direction are a good way to impair the functionality of a standard PDA or
mobile computer, particularly if they’re repeatedly moved between a normal
environment and one that’s intensely hot or cold.
Yet, cold storage is
an essential measure for many industries that still need the mobile connectivity
this kind of hardware provides. This is where purpose-built cold-resistant
mobile computing devices come in. The best rugged mobile hardware should be as
at home in extreme cold as anywhere else, as we explore here.
Specialised rugged devices for cold
constantly shifting environments, built to store goods in between stages of a
supply chain. As such, warehouse operatives and the businesses they work for
need a means of tracking and managing inventory as it moves from picking to
despatch. Handheld, wearable and truck-mounted mobile computers enable access
to the wider business’s central data repository from anywhere in the warehouse,
giving team members immediate tracking, logging and job progress insight
whenever they need it.
warehouses are no different, except that the cold or sub-zero temperatures make
standard mobile computers ineffective, impairing functionality and battery life.
Thankfully, rugged mobile devices are built to withstand extreme working conditions, including the cold, for operational performance that cold chain
warehouse operatives can rely on.
Features of rugged devices in cold
How exactly are rugged
mobile computers designed to resist cold chain conditions? The following are
some of the key features of rugged devices for cold chain logistics:
- Large keys – to make inputting data easier when wearing
screens – able to resist condensation build up caused by cold air.
- Sealed to
IP65 rating – this ‘Ingress Protection’ standard ensures rugged devices are
officially recognised as being able to resist dust and water spray.
wireless connectivity – to provide unbroken service even within an insulated
freezer or refrigerated cold storage area.
strong device housing – will not crack when dropped in cold temperatures.
lithium ion batteries – designed to last longer in cold conditions.
Keeping the cold chain industry
There’s no need for
cold conditions to hamper the efficiency of cold chain storage. Rugged mobile
computers built to function even in sub-zero conditions enable cold storage
warehouse operatives to move effortlessly between working environments, as well
as providing a wealth of productivity and efficiency benefits for cold chain storage and logistics.
What is the cold chain industry?
Cold chain storage
involves moving goods along a supply chain that’s completely
temperature-controlled. Goods at each stage of the manufacturing and
distribution process are kept refrigerated in order to preserve them.
The cold chain
industry is built around the need to produce and store goods at cold
temperatures and includes specially-designed cold chain equipment.
What are the components of the cold
There are several
stages of a cold chain, intended to maintain a cold environment from the moment
of manufacture to the point of use. Rugged mobile devices are used to oversee
the movement of goods from one phase to the next.
Cold chain components
- Packaging –
designed to withstand temporarily raised temperatures from the point of
– of temperature and other environmental factors.
– vans, ships and containers fitted with freezers or refrigerated units.
- Storage –
such as cold storage warehousing.
Why is cold chain important?
Cold chain ensures
that products needing to be kept at low or temperatures reach consumers in
perfect condition. Frozen food is an obvious example, but there are many other use
cases for cold chain, including pharmaceuticals, photographic film, and some
fresh agricultural produce. For example, many medicines and vaccines must be
kept between 2 to 8 °C (36 to 46 °F) at all times, or they simply may not be
effective when used.
Prolonged exposure to
normal or raised temperatures can damage the quality of each of these types of
goods, which makes cold chain logistics essential.
Interested in finding
out more? Simply get in touch to find out about Touchstar’s rugged mobile
devices for the cold chain industry.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR - PETER MARSH
Peter joined TouchStar (formally Belgravium) in a sales manager role in 2001. Prior to joining the company, Peter held Partner and National Sales Manager roles within the parcel and logistics industries.
In 2011 Peter was promoted to Sales Director and is now actively involved in promoting the value of TouchStar’s Rugged Mobile Computing solutions to the warehouse, logistics, manufacturing and field service industries. When not involved in the business, Peter is a keen and enthusiastic football and cricket fan.