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  • Two Way Radios for the Manufacturing Industry

    It is no secret that two way radios are essential tools in the manufacturing industry. Whether you have a small warehouse or a huge manufacturing plant, two way radio communication will help your company operate more efficiently.

    Two way radios will give your employees a direct line of communication with other co-workers and/or supervisors. This will eliminate the need to leave a station unmanned to go find a fellow employee when something is needed. Studies have shown that two way radios typically pay for themselves with time savings in just a matter of months. In a manufacturing or assembly plant where an employee leaving a station could stop production, these savings are realized even more quickly.

    Recommended Radios
    We almost exclusively recommend UHF radios to manufacturers. UHF radios will tend to work better in most situations, as the radios will typically be used indoors. UHF frequencies penetrate thru solid objects such as steel and concrete better than VHF frequencies.

    Here are a couple of basic UHF business radios that would be ideal in smaller warehouses or plants:

    Motorola RDX RDU2020 (UHF) - One of our most popular models, the RDU2020 is a 2 watt, 2 channel UHF radio. It is built tough and is very durable. Comes standard with a lithium-ion battery, belt clip, and has a fixed antenna. As with all Motorola products, the RDU2020 has outstanding voice clarity. Also has the capability for accessories such as earpieces or speaker microphones for hands-free use. 1 year warranty from Motorola included.

    Kenwood TK-3300-U4P (UHF) - Another one of our popular business radios. As with the Motorola model, the TK3300 delivers 2 watts of output power, but with 4 channels. This would be the better choice, say, if you had multiple departments and wanted each department on a specific channel. Also comes with lithium-ion battery and belt clip. The antenna for this model will be quite a bit longer than the Motorola model, but since it is removable, you can switch it over to a stubby antenna if you prefer (this would reduce range). Also earpiece/speaker microphone capable. 2 year warranty from Kenwood included.

    For bigger warehouses or plants, you may want to go with a radio that has a little more "juice". Here are some more powerful radios:

    Motorola RDX RDU4100 (UHF) - This radio is in the same family as the RDX RDU2020, but will offer 4 watts of output power and 10 different channel selections. This model has a removable antenna and lithium-ion battery that come standard. Very tough, durable radio but still offers exceptional sound quality. The RDU4100 can be programmed to work with a repeater if even more range is needed. A 1 year warranty from Motorola is included.

    Vertex VX-351-AG (UHF) - The VX-351 will get you the maximum business radio output power of 5 watts with 16 channels. For exceptionally large buildings, this model would be a good choice. It is built to military standards for water, dust, and shock resistance and comes standard with a long lasting lithium-ion battery. An industry leading 3 year warranty from Vertex is included.

    Callboxes and Intercoms
    We also carry call boxes and intercom systems that will definitely come in handy for large warehouses that do a lot of shipping and receiving. These call boxes will mount on the outside of your building and are programmed to match the frequencies of your handheld radios, allowing the driver for any incoming shipments to press a button to alert someone inside the warehouse that they have arrived.

    This type of communication is necessary for many manufacturing facilities, but could also come in handy during those cold winter months and hot summer months when it may not be ideal to leave the warehouse bay doors open. Some Ritron callboxes even have options to automatically open a gate or activate other devices! Here are a couple of the call boxes that we suggest:

    Ritron RQX-451-XT Outpost 1 Series Callbox (UHF) - The 1 Series XT Callbox is built in a fiberglass and stainless steel case that is built to withstand outdoor conditions. Comes with tamper-resistant fasteners to ensure that no one will be able to access the callbox when your business is closed. Has the capability to run wirelessly with D batteries, or you can hook up an external wired AC power source. Ideal for most situations.

    Ritron RQX-451 Outpost 1 Series Basic Callbox (UHF) - This is the RQX-451-XT's little brother. Built in a weather resistant housing, this model can also run off of D batteries wirelessly or be connected to an AC power source. Can't be used exclusively outdoors in the weather without additional weatherproofing of the antenna.

    Intrinsically Safe Two Way Radios
    With manufacturing, we understand that sometimes there are special needs for two way radios. We run across quite a few facilities that work with chemicals or explosive gasses and need a radio that will never produce a spark that could ignite them. In these cases, an intrinsically-safe radio will be key. Intrinsically safe (IS) is a protection technique for safe operation of electronic equipment in explosive atmospheres. These radios will limit energy to prevent fire or explosions in areas with hazardous chemicals or gases. Here are a couple of intrinsically safe radios that we stock:

    Vertex VX-427 Intrinsically Safe (UHF) - The VX-427 delivers the full 5 watts of power, and would be ideal in large chemical plants or any other environment where intrinsically safe radios are needed. Also comes standard with an intrinsically safe lithium-ion battery, belt clip, removable antenna and rapid charger. As with all Vertex radios, it is built to military standards and is very durable. Also comes with the industry leading 3 year Vertex warranty.

    Icom IC-F60-81-DTC Intrinsically Safe (UHF) - Small but heavy duty radio that offers 4 watts of output power. Intrinsically safe radio as well as intrinsically safe lithium-ion battery. Comes with belt clip, removable whip antenna and direct trickle charger. Built to military standards and comes with the 2 year Icom warranty.

    No matter what your manufacturing plant produces, two way radios are excellent communication tools that can be used to help your company run more smoothly. If you have any questions about the radios listed above or any of our other products, please do not hesitate to contact us!

  • What is an Intrinsically Safe Radio?

    If you spend a lot of time shopping around for two way radios, at some point you may have come across the term "intrinsically safe". If you're somewhat new to the world of walkie-talkies, you probably have a few questions. What is an intrinsically safe radio? What does it do? What makes an "intrinsically safe" radio different from any other radio? Why would I want one? Why would I need one? Why would I even care?

    The word intrinsic refers to the essential or real nature or value of something. In electronics it refers to the very nature of an electronic device as being electrical; an item that operates using electricity. Any electronic device, by its very nature, carries and electrical current or charge, therefore the chance of an electrical spark or heat eminating from the device is inherently present or a possibility at all times.

    Intrinsically Safe means the device is safe to use in hazardous environments where the presence of a potential spark, heat or flame could potentially create a safety hazard. In the case of two way radios, this is especially important. Since radios are electrical, they do have the potential to generate sparks and heat, and there are many situations in which a radio may need to be used in potentially hazardous or explosive environments.

    Such environments include oil rigs and refineries, gas mains, coal mines, engine rooms of seafaring vessels, chemical plants, factories, emergency scenes involving First Responders, and other environments where there are potentially explosive or hazardous materials.

    Hazardous environments fall into different divisions and classifications. The details are outside the scope of this discussion, but essentially they fall into three basic classifications:

    • Class 1: flammable vapors and gases
    • Class 2: flammable dust
    • Class 3: flammable fibers

    In such environments, two way radio communication can be very important and even critical to operations, yet standard two way radios should not be used because they can make a potentially hazardous situation even more dangerous.

    These situations require the use of Intrinsically Safe radios.

    In order to be designated Intrinsically Safe, radios must be designed and housed in such a way as to prevent or eliminate the possibility of generating even the tiniest little spark. They must also limit the amount of heat produced by the radio. The batteries used in the radios must also be specially designed to prevent sparks and eliminate short circuiting. Even the radio housing itself must be designed and constructed of materials to prevent or eliminate friction, which can create static electricity and generate sparks.

    In addition to the radios, any accessories used, such as microphones and headsets, need to be intrinsically safe.

    Intrinsically safe two way radios are manufactured according to strict codes and regulations set by the National Fire Protection Association. The manufacturing facilities and processes are supervised by Factory Mutual, an insurance and loss prevention company approved by the US government to oversee enforcement of the NFPA codes.

    Due to these more stringent manufacturing requirements, Intrinsically Safe radios are considerably more expensive than their standard counterparts. However, the safety considerations built into these radios are worth far more than that. After all, you can't put a price on safety.

    Radios manufactured as Intrinsically Safe carry the FM (Factory Mutual) Approved certification mark. Icom, Motorola, and Vertex are major brands with one or more models of intrinsically safe two way radios.

    This chart lists popular makes and models of intrinsically safe radios currently available from Buy Two Way Radios.

    Intrinsically Safe Radios
    Manufacturer Model Band Mode
    Icom F4161/F3161 UHF or VHF Analog or Digital
    Kenwood TK-2360IS/3360IS UHF or VHF Analog
    Motorola VX-451 UHF or VHF Analog
    Motorola VX-454 UHF or VHF Analog
    Motorola VX-459 UHF or VHF Analog

    Questions? Leave us a comment below. You can also give us a call, e-mail us or enter our live chat from 8 AM to 6 PM Monday through Friday!

  • TWRS-18 - Intrinsically Safe Radios

    In this episode we discuss the use of intrinsically safe two way radios. We also review the Icom IC-F60 UHF Radio.

    Intro :00
    Billboard 1:15

    Topic Discussion 1:29
    We talk about intrinsically safe two way radios. We learn what the term means, when and how these radios are used, and the requirements for two way radios to be designated or certified as Intrinsically Safe. For information on intrinsically safe radios visit National Fire Protection Association, review the List of NFPA codes & standards. You can also visit FM Global Standards and Certification.

    Commercial Break 9:18
    buytwowayradios.com 1:00

    Product Review 10:16
    Today we review the Icom IC-F60 UHF Radio.

    Questions and Answers 16:39
    Questions from readers of our Two Way Radio Blog and members of the Two Way Radio Forum.

    Wrap up and Close 25:03
    Send in your comments and questions for Danny, Anthony and Rick to show(at)buytwowayradios.com. Feedback on this and other topics will be read by the hosts and included in future episodes of the show. Visit us at www.twowayradioshow.com!

    © 2011 Cricket Ventures, LLC. All rights reserved.

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