Choosing the Right Computer for Forklift and Fleet Management

  • October 26, 2020
  • Winmate
  • News
Choosing the Right Computer for Forklift and Fleet Management
Choosing the Right Computer for Forklift and Fleet Management

Introduction: Supply chain and logistics automation trends

Automation is a growing trend that is transforming operations in many industries. Supply chain and logistics are one of those industries that are the most susceptible to changes. The need for 24/7 real-time track and trace solutions from dispatch to delivery forces logistics companies to adopt new technologies and modernize facilities and equipment.

Forklift and fleet management automation

It is calculated that forklift and fleet management automation increases productivity by 25%. Modern warehouse vehicles are equipped with RFID tags and readers to identify load, sensors to monitor speed, and detect load weight to optimize the warehouse operations' efficiency and flexibility. All the information about product location, placement, and order priority displays on a vehicle computer. This computer usually features Wi-Fi or 4G capabilities for real-time communications and data exchange. Technologies simplify warehouse management and speed up warehouse operations.

Key factors to keep in mind when searching for the forklift or truck computer

Ruggedness: The device must be rugged enough to handle any industrial environment from extreme cold to dry heat, potential drop, and intense vibration from the moving vehicle. Industrial-grade computers have a high IP rating indicating water and dust resistance, fanless thermal solution, and industrial-grade internal components to withstand harsh operating conditions.
Mounting solution: In the warehouse and supply chain environment, the ability to mount mobile devices and computers to forklifts, trucks, tuggers, and inventory pickers, is essential. Vehicle-mounted computers are compatible with various mount types, including RAM mount. They are designed with vehicle construction in mind; these computers support drill, no-drill, and external keyboard installation methods. The mounting solution for a vehicle must be able to withstand intense vibration and shock.
Ease of service and maintenance: When installing a computer to a forklift or truck, it is essential to consider repairs and the need for software updates. Vehicle-mounted computers with a filed-replaceable front panel are one of the solutions to speed up service time. If a screen is broken, which happens very often in the industrial environment, take off the front part and place a new one on a docking station. Modular design saves maintenance time.
Power supply from the vehicle: Computers powered from a vehicle is subject to a power surge. Forklift and truck computers must have a wide range of power input, DC-to-DC converters, and also power ignition control that delays power on the computer after the vehicle is on.
Driver's safety and security: Nothing should distract an operator driving around warehouse facilities. Screen blanking is a function that automatically disables screen while the vehicle is moving. Also, when the computer is left idle, the screen will automatically lock itself for security reasons.
Wireless connectivity: Vehicle mount computers should have wireless capabilities, such as built-in BT, Wi-Fi, 4G/ LTE, and external antennas, to increase the signal strength in remote locations for real-time communications data transfer with no delay.
Ability to connect multiple peripherals: Barcode scanners, mobile printers, USB drives, external PC, and monitor, all of these peripherals need to be connected to vehicle computers from time to time. Various input and output interfaces onboard open more possibilities of the usage scenarios of the vehicle computer.

User-friendly interface: The computer should come with a responsive touchscreen for the convenience of the operator. You can choose from either resistive or projected capacitive deepening on the usage scenario. Resistive is usually more resistant to scratches, while the projected capacitive offers multi-touch capabilities for more responsive applications.

FM10Q series

A rugged vehicle-mounted computer for data collection in warehouse and logistics applications
Engineered to fit seamlessly into forklifts and other warehouse vehicles with its wide range of power input with power isolation, the Winmate FM10Q will help minimize errors, streamline inventory management, and improve operational efficiencies.

Providing a reliable, rugged VMC solution for America's freight railroad network

Working with supply chain logistics IT & Software solution experts, Winmate provides a custom-built FM10 VMC with the latest mobile technology, mounted on the railway company's freight trucks, built to withstand the vibration and hustle of 24 hours operation, providing constant 4G/ LTE connectivity, withstanding a wide operating temperature of extreme heat and cold.

About Winmate

Winmate Inc. is a rugged computing and embedded solutions provider for industries operating in some of the most challenging environments. Founded in 1996 in Taipei, Taiwan, where its headquarters, research, and development facility, and production lines located today, the company has offices and service centers worldwide. Winmate develops rugged industrial-grade computing solutions that advance the Industrial Internet-of-Things (IoT). Industrial display and panel PC, HMI, embedded systems, IoT gateways to rugged tablets and handheld devices for industries ranging from transportation and logistics to marine and military, railway, oil and gas, smart grid, healthcare, and field services. Winmate also provides professional services in customizing products, and project management creates a unique solution for specific customer's needs.

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