Get with the code
QR (Quick Response) codes are the 2d matrix codes we see in advertisements, on billboards, menus, movie screens and...? They seem to be everywhere we turn. Except, oddly enough, on the plant floor. It's time to change that.

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Your technicians, operators, managers and others are often expected to carry information in their head which is inefficient and prone to error. Or they may be expected to go find the manual somewhere. This can waste time. In some plants they can look it up in a terminal or even a tablet on the floor. Much better but it can still be hard to find the specific information needed.

QR codes can solve this problem. Here's how:

You probably already have your internal work documents such as SOPs/Standard Work Instructions, checklists etc. in digital form on your plant intranet.

This needs to be extended to all machine manuals as well. If you do not have digitized manuals, request them from the builders. If they don't have them, scan the paper manuals. Put them all on the network.

Next generate QR code labels for each piece of equipment. This QR code will contain a link to the network file folder where all documentation for the equipment is stored and linked. The QR code can link directly to the machine manual or it may link to a home page with links to multiple documents and manuals.

QR codes can be generated for free online at a number of sites.  The code above was generated at but I've used others with good results.

Print the code on a label and place the label in some obvious and consistent location such as on or near the control panel.

Now anyone going to the machine can scan the code with their phone or tablet and have immediate access to all the information they could need.

I recommend that every technician carry a tablet at all times. This puts a galaxy of information in their pockets. Objections to personal tablets include size, cost and fragility. These are valid objections but should not be deal breakers. Cost, even at several hundred dollars is low compared to the benefit. Fragility can be addressed with good protective cases.

I looked for years for a good solution and found a number that were OK. Then Amazon introduced their Fire 7". It is small enough to fit in a pants pocket yet large enough for good readability and has an excellent video/still camera. The price is $50 (less in quantity) so if even if it does get damaged there is no great loss. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Put the information in people's hands, not in their heads.

Need help or want to learn more? Call John Henry at 787-550-9650 or email

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