As we begin to see the world re-opening from the Covid-19 pandemic, we should also expect to see a surge in the number of industrial, medical and retail scanners being deployed with wireless charging. Now that wireless charging technology has been adopted as a standard feature in most high-end smartphones and has become cost-optimized, we will see the technology migrate beyond smartphones to more industrial applications. Employees and recipients will expect to see the introduction of smart industrial computers and scanning devices that can work wirelessly and without contact at a safe distance and be easily sterilized. Without exposed charging ports, equipment will be ruggedized with increased moisture-resistance and waterproofing.
Handheld computing and scanning devices are already prevalent in a number of common applications, such as point-of-sale (POS) readers for outdoor dining – ordering and bill pay; inventory stock checking readers and delivery systems; medical health scanning equipment increasingly used at airports, office buildings and public venues. Charging these devices wirelessly allows the user an additional degree of mobility and allows the device to become a truly wireless scanner.
One of the major issues with contact or ‘wired’ connection charging is that the contacts or connection pins wear out or break due to the weight of the scanner constantly slamming into the docking station. A wireless or contactless interface not only eliminates this issue but makes the device more robust and durable in harsh industrial environments. The industrial design of the equipment can also be styled to be completely sealed to be dustproof and waterproof.
The scanning devices can be loaded into wireless charging racks at the end of the day or shift. Rack systems provide safe storage of costly scanning devices and ensures they are ready and fully charged for the next shift.
There have been a few very interesting examples of new scanning products that are being introduced to the market, including:
- Honeywell’s Dolphin CN80 mobile computer with wireless charging capability
The device promises to mobilize the workforce and targets inventory and stock management, as well as delivery of goods. The Dolphin range of products can be wirelessly charged in a rack system or wirelessly charged in a single docking station used throughout the day in warehouses and delivery trucks.
- Datalogic’s new range of Gryphon handheld computing and scanning devices
These employ wireless charging for added robustness and longevity by removing the contact charging points. Many of these devices are used in supermarkets or food warehouses and contamination of the contacts was a significant issue that lead to intermittent failures and added service time. The contact contaminant issue is eliminated and devices can be easily sterilized due to the increased moisture-proofing provided by wireless charging. In fact, the healthcare version of the Gryphon 4500 also features disinfectant-ready and anti-microbial enclosures to withstand harsh daily cleaning procedures.
The P9415-R wireless power receiver with Renesas’ exclusive WattShare™ technology is the newest addition to the wireless power solutions portfolio and targets industrial, medical and retail scanners. P9415-R features up to 5W of transmit power capability in transmitter/receiver (TRx) mode, as well as up to 15W receive on transmitters, enabling quick and convenient charging.
The P9415-R also has the ability to do bi-directional communication with P9243-GB transmitter. Using this feature, scanners can authenticate the transmitter pads and provide a safe, fast charging experience on genuinely certified accessories, avoiding counterfeits. Bi-directional communication also brings contextual awareness to scanners to allow custom actions such as displaying location specific menus or updating the system software.