Handheld Barcode Readers Join the Factory Network
Eric Andersen, 09-16-2014
More and more 1-D and 2-D barcodes are used during the manufacturing process and throughout the supply chain to identify and track specific components, sub-assemblies or products. The process of tracking items through manufacturing and distribution is known as traceability. The majority of these codes are read automatically by fixed-mount barcode readers. However, many applications require the flexibility of handheld barcode readers. These applications require extensive mobility to ensure codes can be read wherever they may be located. The result is that large numbers of handheld ID readers are being deployed in factories and distribution centers around the world.
As the numbers of handheld readers in factory automation have increased, integrators are faced with the challenge of connecting readers with a wide range of local and enterprise-level computing systems. Conventional handheld barcode readers provide little or no communication capabilities with networks or factory automation equipment, such as PLC’s. This shortfall limits the areas where handheld readers can be used and increases the integration complexity.
Cognex® is addressing this challenge with the DataMan® 8000 series, the first handheld readers to offer industrial Ethernet communications. DataMan 8000 series readers can be integrated directly into the factory network for real-time traceability with the Cognex Connect suite of industry protocols. Cognex Connect provides a seamless and reliable link between DataMan 8000 series handheld readers and virtually all factory automation and computing systems, making it possible to transmit results and communicate directly with an integrated process control system. The following lists some of the protocols supported by the new DataMan 8600 handheld readers:
• EtherNet/IP with Rockwell® Add On Profile (AOP)
• PROFINET with Siemens® GSD
The DataMan 8000 series readers are also the first readers with interchangeable communications modules that provide RS-232/USB, Ethernet and wireless connectivity. This flexibility makes it possible to easily modify a handheld reader to meet future requirements or move it to a different application.