12/20/2004 - Intermec Technologies Corp., a pioneer in automatic data collection, introduced a revolutionary new bar code laser scanning technology that is more compact and reliable and offers longer product life than current bar code laser scan engines. The new EXCELerateTM bar code laser scan engine, based on a technology known as Micro Electro Mechanical System or MEMS, is the result of five years of development collaboration with a leading European research institution.
MEMS devices are manufactured using silicon semiconductor batch fabrication techniques similar to those used for integrated circuits, resulting in new levels of functionality, reliability and sophistication that can be placed on a small silicon chip. MEMS technology produces a laser scan engine with entirely new capabilities, including faster scan rates, miniaturization, improved durability and frictionless mechanical parts for longer-lasting performance. Initial scan rates are five times faster than current mechanical motor-based laser scanners, with the capability to increase in future product generations to thousands of scans per second. This speed will allow precise high-speed scanning in two dimensions and will provide omni-directional reading of 1D and stacked bar-codes, as well as 2D raster scanning for matrix codes.
This optical MEMS technology was developed by Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) in Dresden, Germany. Fraunhofer Society is Europe's largest organization for applied research and development. Fraunhofer IPMS is focused on research, development and fabrication of Photonic Microsystems, such as optical sensors, actuators for light deflection and modulation, readout and control ASICs for MOEMS (Micro Opto Electro Mechanical Systems), as well as complete imaging systems, including image capturing, data handling, and data transmission and displays. Intermec, in collaboration with Fraunhofer, has developed the use of MEMS in bar code scanning applications.
“This approach to laser bar code scanning launches a new era in laser scanning capabilities,” said Intermec Chief Technology Officer Arvin Danielson. “By combining the proven technical capabilities of MEMS technology with Intermec’s expertise in automatic data collection, our researchers have developed a high performance and reliable option to currently available laser scanners.”
“With the addition of this new laser scanning technology, the range of Intermec’s ADC innovations, capabilities and expertise truly is unprecedented,” said Intermec Chief Operating Officer Steve Winter. “They allow companies to accelerate automatic data collection and, by extension, enterprise supply chain processes. They help companies excel in critical categories of business success: efficiency, productivity and, ultimately, profitability. Intermec helps you EXCELerate your business success.”
The MEMS-based laser scan engines expand Intermec’s broad selection of bar code scanning and 1D and 2D imaging capabilities. The first in the MEMS family of Intermec laser scan engines, the EXCELerate EL10, will be offered as the integrated laser scanner in a number of Intermec handheld computer and scanner products that will be available in Latin America, Southeast Asia, portions of Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the first half of 2005. Worldwide availability is scheduled for the second half of 2005.
MEMS technology has been proven reliable in some of the world’s most difficult environments, including use in sensors for automobile air-bag systems and anti-lock brakes and in optical switches for fiber optic communication. The rugged EL10 is designed to industry-standard shock specifications for bar code systems. During its years of development, it has been tested in live customer applications in multiple product configurations on three continents.
The EXCELerate EL10 can be programmed to read a wide variety of bar code symbologies, including 1D, and PDF 417. Future versions of the family will be able to precisely scan in multiple directions to read 2D bar-codes.
Intermec has a long history of innovation, including development of Code 39, still the world’s most widely used bar code symbology; the type of smart battery management systems used in most of today’s laptop computers; UHF RFID (radio frequency identification) technology; the use of micro fuel cells in automatic data collection equipment; CCD linear imaging; and patented decode technology.
Bar code laser scanners are used across the world in almost every industry to read and compile the information contained in bar codes. That information then is used throughout supply chains to track the movement of goods and products from raw supplies through to end user customers.
“MEMS technology already is used in mission-critical applications around the world,” said Fraunhofer IPMS Deputy Director Dr. Harald Schenk. “Now, as a result of our work with Intermec, we are able to extend the benefits of MEMS to bar code applications.”
Intermec Technologies Corp., a UNOVA Inc. (NYSE:UNA) company, is a leader in global supply chain solutions and in the development, manufacture and integration of wired and wireless automated data collection, Intellitag® RFID (radio frequency identification), mobile computing systems, bar code printers and label media. The company’s products and services are used by customers in many industries to improve productivity, quality and responsiveness of business operations, from supply chain management and enterprise resource planning to field sales and service.
About Fraunhofer IPMS
Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) is one of 58 independent Institutes of the Fraunhofer Society, Europe’s largest organization for applied research and development. Fraunhofer IPMS carries out customer and application specific research, development and fabrication of highly innovative photonic microsystems, such as light modulating devices (scanners, micro mirror arrays), light emitting devices (Organic Light-Emitting Diodes) and optical detectors (photodiodes, integrated optoelectronics), as well as system development based on proprietary sensors and actuators or commercially available components. Fraunhofer IPMS maintains a 1000 m2 class 10 clean room focused on MEMS/MOEMS technologies and CMOS compatible special processes. For further information, visit www.ipms.fraunhofer.de.
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