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Rugged handheld and vehicle-mounted wireless terminals for warehousing and logistics improve information workflow

Warehousing, distribution and logistics centres – including ports and dockside container storage yards – are set to benefit from a comprehensive range of rugged, mobile (handheld and vehicle-mounted) computing terminals from M.A.C Solutions (UK) Ltd.

The VT (vehicle mount terminal) and HT (handheld terminal) series, which are designed and manufactured by Darveen, enable real time wireless communication between industrial vehicles such as forklift trucks or gantry cranes, and central control systems or data centres. The terminals can also be used for other office-type functions to record data, monitor vehicle conditions or for fleet management.

Tim Ricketts, General Manager at M.A.C Solutions comments: "Darveen’s VT and HT series are already being used in Taiwan and other parts of South East Asia, particularly in ports, harbours, container years and other warehousing and logistics centres. As mobile computing solutions, the VT and HT terminals complement M.A.C Solutions’ own portfolio of open connectivity products, so it’s a natural addition to our product range."

For warehousing and logistics companies, stock, customer orders and delivery information must be accurate and timely, as well as traceable. The VT range provides true ‘open’ connectivity by providing flexible expansion capabilities for WiFi, GPS, WCDMA/EDGE/GPRS, and Bluetooth.

There are 7 different models in the VT range. The VT-835, the largest, has a 12.1" TFT LCD touchscreen display and an Intel Atom N450 (1.66GHz) processor. The smallest model currently available is the VT-533, which has a 5.7" panel with touchscreen and a Marvell PXA270 (520MHz) processor. All VT terminals are protected by a rugged aluminium enclosure. This special fanless design requires no ventilation holes in the back, front and side panels, which provides the unit with a high degree of protection (IP65) from ingress of dust and water. The VT range also benefits from enhanced shock and vibration resistance.

VT terminals are able to integrate a variety of features for customers, including barcode scanning, data processing, wireless communications, anti-shock and anti-vibration mounts. VT terminals have an external, long-distance laser barcode scanner that enables scanning of all 1D barcodes. An integral WLAN card supports wireless LAN standards, such as 802.11b/g.

Depending on the model chosen, the VT series offers a wide input voltage range (8~58VDC) and operating temperatures (-30 deg C up to +60 deg C). A wide variety of flexible mounting kits (to VESA Standards) are available, including RAM mounts and cradles. A variety of optional accessories are also available such as antennas, DC power adapters, industrial keyboards, RFID readers, barcode scanners and printers – giving warehouse and logistics operators a full range of wireless, open connectivity devices.

The HT range of handheld terminals comprises 4 models. The 3.5" TFT LCD display HT-312 handheld mobile terminal, for example, is extremely compact but is able to withstand a 1.5 metre drop onto concrete.

The HT range is equipped with a Marvell PXA270, 520MHz processor and is pre-installed with the Windows CE 5.0 operating system. An optional 1-D, 2-D barcode scanner is also available, which enables users to collect data efficiently and to communicate with back-end host data servers wirelessly via Bluetooth or 802.11b/g.

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