Fusion Technologies turns to the DataLogger® 7 for extended battery life and rugged durability in harsh remote conditions

McElroy Manufacturing, Inc. recently released the DataLogger® 7 rugged tablet. Based on the Mesa® 3 Rugged Tablet from Juniper Systems, McElroy’s DataLogger 7 is a custom version of the Mesa 3 running on Android™. One of McElroy’s customers in the fusion industry, Fusion Technologies, Inc. was offered an advanced look at the new DataLogger 7 ahead of its release.

Fusion Technologies is an HDPE fusion service provider for construction projects that are using HDPE pipe in their pipelines. Along with McElroy’s DataLoggers, they are also users of McElroy’s pipeline fusion equipment. The DataLogger 7 acts as an interface for that specialized equipment and collects pipe fusion data and records. The Android 9.0 operating system of the 7-inch rugged tablet allows it to be used for a variety of daily tasks for Fusion employees.

Speaking with Les Klaudt and Casey Britton of Fusion Technologies helped shed additional light on how Fusion is looking to integrate the tablet into its business, how their employees are utilizing the DataLogger 7 in the field, and how the battery life of the devices is allowing employees greater flexibility.

DataLogger 7/Mesa 3 Rugged Tablet on site with McElroy fusion equipment - photo courtesy of Fusion Technologies, Inc.
DataLogger 7/Mesa 3 Rugged Tablet on site with McElroy fusion equipment – photo courtesy of Fusion Technologies, Inc.

All-day battery life

One critical feature Fusion was looking for in a field computer is a device with substantial battery life. Workdays for Fusion employees can last well past 12 hours. A forgotten charger or a device with a short battery life can cause production downtime.

The DataLogger 7 is equipped with a removable 43.2 Whr battery that provides 10 to 12 hours of battery life as well as an internal 21.6 Whr battery. The internal battery allows the devices to have an additional five to six hours of battery life and allows for the larger removable battery to be removed and hot-swapped with a different one.

“Battery life is critically important,” said Klaudt, President of Fusion Technologies. “When you’re using this tablet for everything from the time an employee clocks-in to the time they clock-out you are looking at 12 to 14 hours.”

Even with the DataLogger 7’s outstanding battery life, longer than expected days can continue by easily hot-swapping the device’s removable battery with a freshly charged new one. This feature allows for users to have an extra battery with up to 10-12 of battery life in their bag or in the cab of the truck ready to go for those unexpected long days.

“We are seeing devices running a solid 14-15 hours on a single charge running multiple applications during that time,” said Britton, operations manager at Fusion. “What’s so valuable is that we can hot-swap. We have generators and such on-site but the convenience of hot-swapping batteries coupled with the all-day battery life really stands out.”

See how the Mesa 3 battery performs in this time lapse video

Performance in extreme environments

One of the various pieces of equipment that employees from Fusion operate daily is a pipe-handling vehicle called a mobile fusion track. The pipe fusion equipment inside that vehicle is also produced by McElroy. While operating the vehicle and fusion machine the DataLogger 7 is used for not only controlling the machinery but also recording a log of each fusion made that day. These records are highly important and need to be saved for review later.

The temperature within the fusion vehicle frequently reaches 115 to 120°f (46.1-48.9°c). While hydration and other employee safety precautions are a priority, having a reliable device that can maintain its performance in such conditions is critical.

“One of the problems we ran into with previous devices is they had to be plugged in continuously because of poor battery life due to the heat,” Britton said. “And also, because it’s stupid hot in that equipment anyways and that just compounded the problem with performance. So far the DataLogger 7 has performed well in that equipment in both performance and battery life.”

Mobile fusion track - photo courtesy of Fusion Technologies, Inc.
Mobile fusion track – photo courtesy of Fusion Technologies, Inc.

In terms of harsh environmental conditions, major ongoing projects for Fusion are located in west Texas and across Montana. Temperature variations are pushed to the extremes. The DataLogger 7 is rated for operation between -4° F to 122° F (-20° C to 50° C). These types of temperatures are not uncommon for Fusion employees to see on their projects.

Miles of pipe trenches and desert landscapes generate lots of dust that can be harmful and limit a computer’s performance. The IP68 rating of the DataLogger 7 helps combat the fine, moon-like, dust that is present at Fusion’s job sites from entering the device. Ingress protection allows for a device to be used in these types of conditions without fear of dust or water harming the device while being used.

A Fusion Technologies employee uses the DataLogger 7 with McElroy fusion equipment -photo courtesy of Fusion Technologies, Inc.
A Fusion Technologies employee uses the DataLogger 7 with McElroy fusion equipment -photo courtesy of Fusion Technologies, Inc.

Advanced touchscreen for any conditions

The DataLogger 7 features the ability to adjust the sensitivity of the touchscreen depending on the weather or environment the device is being used in. Using touchscreen controls users can set the touchscreen to one of 5 presets. These include finger and stylus support, finger only, stylus only, wet conditions, or gloves.

“Something that was paid attention to was the sensitivity of the screen and the ability to adjust that,” Klaudt said. “I think this is brilliant. It addresses the realities of the world in which we work. Typically, that reality is gloves. Our guys wear multiple types of gloves. Dust, rain, and snow are also a frequent part of our work. It’s good to have that option to adjust the sensitivity of the screen. This feature has been received very well.”

Allowing employees to do more

Fusion has utilized past field computer platforms from McElroy. Those platforms were precursors to the new DataLogger 7. McElroy’s most recent platform before the DataLogger 7 also ran on Android and helped Fusion see the potential of the OS as a platform beyond just running their equipment. Having a field computer that can do more than just act as an interface and data recorder for fusion work has allowed Fusion to roll-out DataLogger 7s to its employees in the field as an all-in-one employee device.

“We can use so many applications on the device because of the OS,” Britton said. “Our employees use it for logging hours, tracking expenses, submitting field reports and field journals, and conducting virtual company meetings. On the operations side, we can easily communicate employees’ schedules and assignments as well as equipment schedules and assignments. This is a multi-tool device because of the OS.”

DataLogger 7/Mesa 3 Rugged Tablet on site - photo courtesy of Fusion Technologies, Inc.
DataLogger 7/Mesa 3 Rugged Tablet on site – photo courtesy of Fusion Technologies, Inc.

The DataLogger 7 runs on Android 9.0 and offers a full Android experience featuring Google Mobile Services (GMS). GMS allows access to all of Google’s first-party applications and security features on an Android device. The device’s powerful Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ processor and 6GB of system RAM allow for any application found on the Google Play Store to perform well on the device. Android also allows for custom applications to easily be written and deployed.

“To be honest, this device, it is just a genuinely robust product,” Klaudt said. “We’ve had a lot of products in our 20 years. We’ve dropped it, kicked it, covered it in dust, water, and snow and it has performed remarkably well. It’s so easy to use and has great aesthetics. Probably the best one we have had, to be honest.”

To learn more about Fusion Technologies or McElroy please follow the links below. To learn more about Juniper Systems visit our website.

About Fusion Technologies and McElroy

Fusion Technologies, Inc. has over 20 years of fusion service experience. Starting in Western Montana, Fusion now has one of the largest HDPE fusion service fleets in the nation. Employee training is at the heart of Fusion’s efforts to provide the best HDFE fusion services with a crew that brings knowledge, experience, and cutting-edge technology to each project. For additional information, please visit fusiontechnologies.com.

McElroy is the leading manufacturer and innovator in the science of joining thermoplastic pipe. The Tulsa, Okla. -based company offers more than 50 years of experience in the pipe fusion industry. For additional information, please visit McElroy.com.

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