Monthly Archives: March 2014

Electronic Keyboards At Chuteside

A basic premise for Fusion is to capture as much information with as little data entry as possible. We think it does a pretty good job of this, but there are still times when user input is necessary. For example, if you are inducting a group of cattle with mixed colors or breeds there isn’t an automatic way to capture this information for each animal. You can still enter it pretty fast using the touch interface in Fusion, but there is an even faster way—an electronic keyboard.

Since Fusion 2.6, we have supported electronic keyboards for certain kinds of input during a chuteside job. This picture shows what one can look like:

Electronic Keyboard

There are four things about these keyboards that make them especially useful during a chuteside job:

  1. They can be mounted directly to the squeeze which means they are a little closer to the action than the computer usually is.
  2. Someone can be entering information on one subjob in Fusion while someone else is using the keyboard to enter information for a completely different subjob at the same time.
  3. You can have multiple keyboards (ex. one on each side of the squeeze), each being used at the same time to input information. The keyboards can be the same or different from each other.
  4. They are made for a very punishing environment and use special sensors to detect your fingers. This means they are quite safe in your barns, should last for years, and can be used with or without gloves. They also beep loudly when they sense a key press so you know when the key was pressed.

These keyboards are sold by Electronic Keyboards, Inc. There is a specific model which has been programmed for Fusion users (90 PKB-FMTH-C2-SSG1). The neat thing about the keyboards is that each one is customized for your feedlot. While the help files in Fusion give more information, the basic process to create and use one of these keyboards is:

  1. Create a new keyboard profile (Open the Job Definitions window and choose Edit Keyboard Profiles from the Options menu).
  2. Use this window (example shown below) to design your keyboard. You can decide what each button does as well as change the coloring and fonts for each button.
  3. Have Fusion email this information to Electronic Keyboards. They will reply with the information you need to purchase your customized keyboard. (Make sure you also save the Keyboard Profile for later use!)
  4. Once you keyboard has arrived and is mounted, use the Physical Computer Management window to let Fusion know the port it is connected to and which profile should be associated with the keyboard. (Remember you can have more than one keyboard connected to the computer at the same time.)

Electronic Keyboard Profile Creation

This is just a summary of what the keyboard can do. If you are interested in learning more, please check out the help buttons associated with the keyboard related windows in Fusion. We think that for the few things that occasionally need human input like breed, color, and source, using an electronic keyboard will speed your jobs up.