Green with Envy: A Battery Free Future in Sight
In the age of environmental conservation, extensive research into alternative power sources has made way for the creation of the first battery-free yet wireless handheld barcode scanner.
Through the elimination of the traditional lithium ion batteries that prevails within existing scanning equipment, organisations are now able to simultaneously reduce costs and satisfy an environmental ethos.
The allure of a battery-free scanner is great, with the promise of an end to the traditional battery maintenance required with lithium batteries.
An elimination of the frequent purchasing and replacement of a traditional battery, as well as the downtime required to charge a battery, has meant that scanners are now able to perform at standards retailers require.
Introducing supercapacitors as a viable, sustainable power source
Technological advancements and innovation have meant that the once overtly large power sources have been scaled down to suit practical, logistical needs that in turn add value for the retailer.
Supercapacitors were initially developed for military usage in the 1950s to power tanks and submarines. In more current times, supercapacitors are being developed by the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) for more everyday uses such as in hybrid vehicles, and small appliances and electronic devices.
Supercapacitor development is set to rise exponentially due to the extensive research and funding allocated to its commercialisation. Through such research, retailers and industry alike can commit and prioritise environmental conservation and awareness while simultaneously utilising smarter solutions for their businesses.
As lithium batteries get older, they gradually lose the ability to hold charge due to the nature of the chemical reaction inside. This limited life-span usually means a replacement of the battery after 500 discharge/recharge cycles, which is approximately 500 days or 17 months.
Contrastingly, supercapacitors have been recorded to have at least 500,000 discharge/recharge cycles, which equates to an ability to last at least eight years of constant discharge/recharge cycles.
It is in this regard that supercapacitors are environmentally superior. Due to the nature in which they conduct and store power, without the use of a finite chemical reaction, supercapacitors can last six times longer than the standard batteries once used in scanners.
Through the innovation of commercial-grade supercapacitors, a more permanent, environmentally friendly power source has prevailed.
Supercapacitors at retail point of sale
A breakthrough in battery and power technology by Honeywell now means that supercapacitors can seamlessly replace batteries in retail scanners. Easily integrating with existing scanner design, supercapacitors have no effect on the weight, ergonomics or barcode reading performance. Instead, they provide a vast improvement on the environmental attributes of current scanning technology.
At present, the technology of current supercapacitors means that they have short charge cycles and recharging times. This means that a scanner will hold charge for a few minutes before needing to be recharged for a mere 15 seconds.
In terms of usage, this means that supercapacitors have specific uses that lean themselves to use at retail points of sale (POS).
Due to the nature of POS scanning to be erratic and fast, there is an equal, short-term cycle that scanners spend in hand and in cradle. As the scanner can be placed in its cradle when it isn’t used, such as between transactions, the requirement for supercapacitors to be charged periodically fits perfectly into the existing nature of retail workplaces.
Honeywell’s new battery free technology is the first of its kind, and provides retailers a cost-effective and environmentally sound solution to their scanning needs.
Scanners powered by supercapacitors plug and play with existing host systems and software applications just like their traditional battery-powered counterparts. What these new scanners provide is a visible commitment to environmental conservation, as well as labour and cost saving on traditional battery maintenance.
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