Friday, June 18, 2010

Travel Pens

Travel Pens, originally uploaded by retro traveler.
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Railroad field technicians typically move from project to project. BNSF wanted a lightweight, portable device that would travel well with each technician. In addition, technicians were familiar with the traditional "clipboard and pen" for writing work orders and information relating to repair projects. A computer keyboard mode of entry presented a challenge, particularly in a yard environment, where typing on a keyboard while making an inspection may be inconvenient, if not difficult. Working in an outdoor environment, where weather can be extreme, also required a rugged device that could withstand the elements. Communication within BNSF's existing 802.11 network environment was another requirement.

Buckeye Mountain Wireless Solutions partnered with General Dynamics Itronix to develop a rugged mobile computing solution that addressed BNSF's requirements. Several features, such as size and weight, as well as integrated wireless capabilities, made Itronix's Duo-Touch tablet PC ideally suited to BNSF. Designed to support mobile professionals in a variety of industries, the mid-sized DuoTouch weighs 3.7 pounds, making it one of the the most compact and lightweight tablet PCs in the rugged category. It also supports up to three wireless networks concurrently, including 802.11.

The tablet's stylus offers a user-friendly method of data entry for those accustomed to using paper and pen. In addition, the dual-mode screen allows the user to switch from active stylus to touch screen for rapid data input. Once a freight car has been inspected, the technician will generate a work order if a repair is required. When the repair is complete, the details are added to the work order, which is wirelessly sent to the main office, where a BNSF invoice is generated and submitted to the freight car owner, which significantly reduces time-to- invoice.

The Duo-Touch tablet PC is said to withstand any situation a technician may encounter, including rain, snow, wind, dust, shock, vibration, and chemical exposure. Designed to exceed Mil Spec 810F rugged test standards, the Duo-Touch has a die-cast magnesium casing and sealed I/O ports, and can operate in temperatures ranging from -4 to +140 degrees F.

So far, more than 900 Duo-Touch and Duo-Touch II tablet PCs have been deployed to BNSF field technicians. Contact Buckeye Mountain Wireless Solutions; (303) 652-1568;

Source Citation
"This tablet PC can take it." Railway Age 209.11 (2008): 41. InfoTrac Vocation, Careers & Technical Education eCollection. Web. 18 June 2010.
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Gale Document Number:A190462129
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