A warehouse worker uses the Zebra 3600 Series Ultra-Rugged Scanner to scan the barcode on a picked item
By Matt Petito | October 08, 2021

Here’s Proof You Should Never Underestimate Your Capabilities – Or Technology

We knew the Zebra 3600 Series Ultra-Rugged Scanners were tough. But we found out their tolerance for drops, tumbles, water, and dust is even higher than we thought.

Everything has its limits. However, we must be careful not to limit our expectations – especially when it comes to technology.

Case in point: we have known for years that the Zebra 3600 Series Ultra Rugged Scanners were tougher than other barcode scanners in their class. They are practically indestructible. But we had no idea how much more they could really handle until recently.

A couple months ago, Zebra was challenged to a rough and tumble duel. Well, not directly. But we were dared to push Zebra 3600 Series scanners to new limits. Operations are becoming more intense in real-world manufacturing and warehousing environments, and scanners are enduring new physical challenges as a result. So, we decided to put the whole family through the most rigorous testing of its life using industry-recognized standards.  

Our expectations were high, but perhaps not enough because the Zebra 3600 Series Ultra-Rugged Scanners far exceeded our performance expectations!

Every single one…

  • is now an IP68 device. (In fact, they’re the first and only IP68 scanners in their class today.)
  • can survive 10 ft/3 m drops onto concrete. (That’s two feet higher than the last time we tested them…and onto concrete! Others may say their scanners have been tested for 10 ft drops, but they don’t disclose the surface used. It could be a fluffy pillow for all we know.)
  • will tolerate 50% more tumbles than what was previously on paper. (Then = 5000 tumbles. Now = 7500!)

Did you fall out of your chair like I did the first time I heard this news?

If you did, I get it. This is really big!

Every single Zebra 3600 Series Ultra-Rugged Scanner has the same ultra-rugged body and design as it did the day it entered the market. That means your scanners actually have a higher IP rating, drop rating, and tumble tolerance than they did when you first bought them. So, you got an even better deal than you thought, and the scanners should last you even longer than you probably expected.

(Still in that chair?)

The New Challenge: Help Customers Figure Out Which Zebra Ultra-Rugged Scanner is Right for Them Based on Exclusive Feature Sets

Now that we’ve substantiated the claims on the spec sheets and inadvertently raised the bar – and value – even higher for ultra-rugged scanners, the conversation should shift to scanner configurations. Though every 3600 Series scanner has the same ultra-rugged design, the functional design does vary from model to model. That’s intentional.

As I mentioned in another recent post, things like keypads, color displays, scan range, and software influence productivity and your return on investment (ROI) just as much as durability. Even the most rugged scanner may limit your operational capacity if workers can only scan one barcode per trigger pull or the data isn’t properly parsed, formatted, and sent to your application systems for reporting or further action. Therefore, it is equally important you choose scanners that can be updated to support new applications. Data must be able to reach the right inventory management systems given how much workers and their devices multi-task these days. So, be sure you rank scanners using a holistic set of criteria when deciding which one is best for your business today and considering which one will still be best five years from now.

If you’re looking at Zebra scanners (which I hope you are, considering you’re still reading this), there’s a really cool Scanner Selector tool that can walk you through all the current options and help you find the right device based on your responses to a few questions. You can also set up time with a Zebra representative to talk through your goals, challenges, budget, current applications, worker expectations, and more.

In fact, you might want to take both routes because there are a lot of ultra-rugged 3600 Series scanners to choose, including the DS3600-KD we just launched a couple months ago:

  • DS3600-SR 1D/2D Standard Range Scanner – Great for standard range capture of 1D/2D barcodes, from near contact to nearly 5 ft./1.5 m, this scanner is often used for shipping and receiving on loading docks, small item pick and pack, plus manufacturing work-in-process.
  • DS3600-ER 1D/2D Extended Range Scanner – It’s designed to capture standard and extra-wide 1D/2D barcodes over an industry-leading range — from 3 in./7.6 cm to 70 ft./21.3 m — up to 60% closer than competitive models. This makes it a good choice in warehouses and ports, where workers need to capture small to very wide barcodes on items at close range as well as items on upper warehouse shelves or stacked containers in a rail yard or port.
  • DS3600-HD 1D/2D High Density Scanner – This model is designed to capture high-density 1D/2D barcodes, including tiny dense codes that are barely visible to the naked eye. This makes it perfect for protecting product quality on the electronics and medical equipment production line to help ensure workers use the right product components at the right time, every time.
  • DS3600-HP 1D/2D High Performance Scanner – Uniquely designed for mid-range reading of 1D/2D barcodes 40% farther than the DS3600-SR — up to 7 ft. / 2.1 m away — with the flexibility to capture photos, documents, signatures and OCR. Look at this option if you need fast processing of incoming and outgoing shipments on loading docks, as it can do everything from reading shipment labels for instant reconciliation to capturing signatures for proof of delivery and photos for proof of condition.
  • DS3600-KD 1D/2D Scanner with Keypad and Color Display – If you need to capture 1D/2D barcodes and need the versatility of a keypad and color display for additional inputs, this is your scanner. (You can read about the many benefits and potential uses cases for this new scanner in this blog post.)
  • DS3600-DP 1D/2D Direct Part Marks Scanner – Designed to capture virtually every type of direct part mark (DPM) and 1D/2D barcode, this model is ideal for track and trace, maintenance, warranty service and product authentication on the industrial manufacturing production line
  • DS3600-DPA 1D/2D Direct Part Marks for Industrial Manufacturing Scanner – This is also designed for DPM, 1D/2D and wide 1D barcodes common in factory automation. Though also ideal for track and trace applications, this scanner is great for product quality control specific to automotive, aerospace, farm, fleet and more.
  • LI3600-SR 1D Standard Range Linear Imager – This is great if you just need standard range reading of 1D barcodes, such as for shipping and receiving on the loading docks, small item pick and pack, and manufacturing work-in-process.
  • LI3600-ER 1D Extended Range Linear Imager – Able to capture 1D barcodes both nearer and farther than any scanner in its class, this model is ideal in warehouses and ports, where workers need to capture small to very wide barcodes on items at close range. It captures items on upper warehouse shelves or stacked containers in a rail yard or port.

As you can see, we aren’t kidding when we say we design purpose-built devices. And I know that’s a lot of info to scan through in one sitting, so I’m going to sign off for now. But I do encourage you to check out the Scan Selector tool when you have a few minutes and then call us with any follow up questions.

Related Reads:

Energy and Utilities, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Warehouse and Distribution, Transportation and Logistics, Retail, Field Operations, Hospitality, Public Sector,
Matt Petito
Matt Petito

Matthew Petito is currently a Senior Product Manager at Zebra Technologies where he is responsible for Zebra’s 3600 Series Ultra-Rugged Scanners. Matthew has more than five years of experience within the Industrial Data Capture industry and has launched several products while at Zebra. Matthew holds a BS in Business from The University at Buffalo.

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