Mounting a tablet to a forklift can increase productivity by leaps and bounds, but forklifts are rough machines used in rugged environments that often fight back against such technology. While a mounted tablet can be of great benefit, if you don’t choose the right tablet, it can cause you problems and cost you money. Here are some things to consider before purchasing a tablet.
Forklifts vibrate…they vibrate a lot. A machine with a motor and hydraulics operating in the conditions they do, of course they are going to vibrate. Most tablets are not designed to handle the punishment dealt out by such vibrations, but there some that are. Make sure to check the specifications of the tablets you are considering to ensure it will be able to withstand the vibrations of a forklift.
Forklifts are operated in many environments, including outdoors in the weather, warehouses, and freezers. It can be hot and humid, or frigid and dry. Any of these settings can be challenging for your tablet to operate correctly. There are work places that a forklift may be used in temperatures from below zero to a scorching heat above 100°. If the tablet you choose isn’t designed to handle the correct temperature, it won’t last long.
Warehouses are dusty places, and if your forklift is used outside there is a chance that you could be rained on. Both water and dust can be detrimental to the functionality of a tablet if it isn’t designed to resist them. Make sure your tablet is sealed accordingly for how you plan to use it. Ingress Protection (IP) rating is the system most commonly used to define the levels of sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures against intrusion from foreign bodies such as dirt and water. In rugged environments, IP65 is the minimum rating you should consider. A tablet that is rated IP65 is sealed against dust and water, but not submersible. Unless you plan on jumping in a lake with your tablet, IP65 should be sufficient for your needs.
Many forklift docks are powered. They supply power directly to your tablet by being hardwired to the forklift’s battery, but this can be complicated. Because forklifts can be powered by propane, batteries, or even larger batteries, it’s important to know how much power your tablet will draw when it is hooked up to the battery so you can get the proper converter. The last thing anyone wants is to watch their brand-new tablet burn up because of high electrical currents.
You don’t want a tablet that’s too small to see while operating a forklift. You also don’t want a tablet that takes a long time to open even the most basic of applications. You should carefully consider these things and review specifications of the tablets you are considering, because it will ensure you get a tablet that fits your needs and maximizes your productivity.
The subject of peripherals runs parallel to size/computing power – you need to get a tablet that supports any peripherals that you might run. Barcode scanners, keyboards, scales…all these things are commonly used with forklift-mounted tablets; you need a tablet that is capable of operating them. Another thing to consider is external antenna capabilities. Many warehouses use external antennas to assist with the connection to WIFI and ensure a strong signal. If you use an external antenna, your tablet will need to support it. You should also make sure all cords are secured with proper strain relief.
There you are – six things to consider before you purchase a tablet for your forklift. Combining the proper tablet and accessories with a forklift can increase productivity exponentially, but if you choose the wrong tablet, it can lead to challenges and potentially wasted money. Make sure you do your research and pick the right tablet. Or contact a Rugged Tablet Expert at MobileDemand – Sales@MobileDemand.com or 319.363.4121. We know a thing or two and will steer you in the right direction to make sure you find the right tool for the job.