Vehicle Mounted Computer for Forklift Applications
What is a Vehicle Mounted Computer?
Many warehouse operations use forklifts to move their inventory. They can move heavier loads, such as pallets, and move faster. They are an essential necessity when inventory is stored vertically on racks. But just like their pedestrian coworkers, they need information to tell them where to go and what to do. They need to know where to store inventory, where it needs to be moved to, what order to pick next, etc. They need mobile computers, and specifically, handheld computers with integrated barcode scanners. They need to be able to scan barcodes and access their inventory management system. One approach would be to equip them with the same mobile computers used by the pedestrian workers and in some cases, that would be adequate. The drawback is that when mounted on the forklift, the computer is a fair distance away from the operator, and they may struggle to read the information displayed on the smallish screen of the mobile computer, which are typically about 4″ diagonally. The operator may be constantly reaching for the handheld device bringing it closer to read the data. At the very least, this could be a gross inconvenience. At the very most, it could be dangerous if the operator reaches for the device while in motion.
Behold the Vehicle Mounted Computer
The solution is a vehicle mounted computer, which is a mobile computer with a larger display that creates screens large enough for the operator to read while seated, and without having to bring the device closer. However, while these devices are considered “mobile”, they are not necessarily “portable” and don’t generally have barcode scanners integrated into them. In order to add barcode scanning, it is necessary to introduce a handheld barcode scanner that is connected to the mobile forklift computer via a tethered USB cable or using a wireless Bluetooth connection. Either way, the barcode scanner is retained in a holster or cradle mounted to the forklift along with the mobile computer. The operator would never need the barcode scanner while in motion so it would not create a safety risk.
Forklift Safety is a Top Priority
However, there is an important factor that needs to be considered when it comes to the safety of the operator and anything or anyone that comes in their path… the physical size of the mobile computer. There is a fine line between having a display large enough to easily view the screens, and being so large that it impedes the view of the operator. Some devices are massive in both size and weight and while on the surface they look like superior computing devices, once mounted they can create blind spots or even interfere with the operation of the forklift. The larger devices are often heavy, bulky and can draw considerable power from the forklift’s battery system.
Forklift Computers for Android Applications
As the world of mobile computing has turned almost exclusively to Android, an ideal solution is a device larger than a handheld computer, but smaller than a laptop or tablet, and one that runs Android. Why Android? Because Android has become so widely accepted that most contemporary inventory software systems have developed apps that will run on Android phones and mobile computers. But Android barcode scanners can also run browsers that will provide connectivity for cloud-based or on-premise web-based applications. And for those running older legacy applications requiring a telnet connection, there are even contemporary Terminal Emulation clients available for Android.
Bottom line, forklift operators need access to the same information and have the same capabilities as pedestrian workers. Equipping them with right-sized devices with contemporary features is the safe, right choice for optimal efficiency.
AML’s Firebird VMU checks all the boxes when it comes to size, performance, durability, and price. The smaller footprint mitigates the problem of impeding the view of the driver and creating a safety issue. Powered by Android, the Firebird VMU can run any native Android app (APK) and the browser can connect to any Cloud or On-Premise web-based system. Even legacy apps are accessible using the built-in terminal emulation (TE) client. Barcode scanners can connect using USB or Bluetooth. The Firebird VMU is priced substantially below the larger, bulkier competitive units, and as a final bonus, it’s Made in America, with U.S. based technical support.
Featured Forklift Computer
Powered by Android®
7″ LCD with capacitive touchscreen
Terminal Emulation Client Included
High performance processor
Bluetooth or Corded Scanners
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Dual Band / BLE 4.2 Smart Ready
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AML was founded in 1983 to respond to a need in the barcode data collection marketplace for high performance, easy-to-use, and cost-effective barcode and data collection products. Our goal is to provide sensible solutions for mission critical activities, to improve efficiency and productivity, and to make barcode data collection applications worry-free.