White Paper | November 23, 2009

White Paper: The Cold Hard Facts About Using Mobile Computers In Cold Storage Environments

Source: BlueStar, Inc.

Coats, hats, and gloves are essential in order for warehouse workers to function more than a few minutes in cold storage areas. In much the same way, mobile data-collection computers must be built to perform under these demanding conditions. Unless mobile computers, associated bar code readers, and wireless networking equipment have been designed with features required specifically for use in cold environments, the level of their reliability will fall right along with the temperatures.

Standard computer models deliver less-than-substandard performance if they are consistently used inside freezers or exposed to frequent temperature changes. In fact, moving the computer between normal and cold areas is extraordinarily hard on just about every part of the device, even if it's ruggedized. In the short term, LCD screens fog up, batteries won't release enough energy, and processors may not perform as intended. This all equates to reduced user productivity. Long-term use of non-optimized equipment in cold conditions causes screens and housings to become brittle, and repeated condensation can cause internal components to corrode, short-circuit and fail.

Workers shouldn't have to work hard to keep their mobile computers functioning. Fortunately, low temperatures don't have to mean reduced reliability and productivity. There are mobile computers, wireless networking gear and data-collection peripherals available that are specifically made for prolonged use in cold, moist and freezing conditions. This white paper describes the conditions where cold environment computers are necessary, the warning signs that indicate when devices aren't up to their environmental requirements, and explains the key differences between standard and coldenvironment rugged data-collection computers.

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