Barcode Search Cross Referencing Two Barcodes?

So possibly a unique case here that I haven’t seen anything on yet. Looking at using airtable for welding production tracking on a construction site. The work, in simple terms, is welding a bunch of steel plates together on a wall to make a continuous plate. If you can imagine a series of rectangles lined up on a wall, each seam between rectangles is a weld. We currently have a list of all individual plates on the job, and then have fairly complex ID #s (29M1LGE22 for example, each character defining a certain position).

The way you would identify what WELD you want to pull up would be to search two plates that are adjacent, and the weld ID would be the conjunction of those two plate IDs (is 29M1LGE22-29M1LGE23).

We will be doing many welds per day, so as you can imagine writing down or searching out every individual ID would be very tedious. My thought/hope is to slap a barcode on every single plate and log those barcodes into a database. I would then like to search the two barcodes on either side of the weld to lookup the weld we are working on. So scan the barcode on the left plate (which would have up to 4 welds associated with it, one for each side) and then scan the barcode on the right plate (which would then zero in on which of the 4 options from the first scan we are looking for). This would then pull the record for the weld and we could record progress on it for the day very quickly without typing in all the search characters.

So the question, is this doable? Our field crews have iPads so it seems like a good solution if it can be implemented. The table could be pre-populated with all the details of the weld, so only input would be something like % complete.

Thoughts? Even if not doable right in airtable (preferred), could a (VERY) simple app be drawn up to do this?

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This certainly sounds like an interesting use case, though I’m not sure that I’m clear on the end result. You scan one plate to find its ID, then and adjacent one to find its ID, which would then give you the Weld ID by combining their numbers (Plate 1-Plate2). What exactly do you do with the resulting Weld ID number? You mentioned tracking a percentage of completion, but is that on the weld itself, or on the total number of welds needed for a single plate? Do certain welds require specific instructions?

As far as the technical side of things goes, scanning barcodes into Airtable only populates a barcode field with the scanned code. You could use a formula field to combine two scanned codes to get a weld ID, but without knowing what you want to do ultimately do with that ID, it’s tough to say where to go from there.

Hi @Spencer_Mullaney, as per @Justin_Barrett, not quite sure how you’re going to do this, but it seems to me, you’ve got a table of plate IDs:

(maybe pre-loaded, maybe not) and on site you’re going to be creating a table of welds where the two plates that make up a weld are two linked fields back to the plates table:

If you need to go back to the welds at any point, you can use the search feature on the welds table to search for one plate and, as you say above, you will see all of the welds that this plate features in, then just a case of identifying the second plate to know which of the 4 weld records you need to look at.

I’ve used your plate IDs above, but you could generate barcode labels and stick them to the plates (linking a plate ID and your barcode in the plates table). If you use the phone app you can search by barcode so that would help the process on site.

JB

Thanks for the replies everyone, apologies on the delay I missed a notification email over the holidays it looks like.

You pretty much nailed the general framework, the intent would be a pre-populated list of plates and another of welds. The welds, as correctly shown above, would be a result of two linked fields from the plate table, and the weld ID is a combination of the two plate IDs. We would then pre-populate the weld ID list with all known plate-plate combos that make a weld, and assign a barcode for the plates and scan that all in.

Next, as stated, by scanning two adjacent plates you get the ID of the associated weld that joins those plates. We would want all of this pre-populated in tables and with barcode stickers on the plates. Then in the field while welding is being performed, you scan two adjacent barcodes, pull up the weld, and can either log a status against it %-wise (IE 3rd table with date, % complete, and a link to the weld ID) or just check the box if it is complete or not (or any number of items). We would also use the attachments field to include quality control reports and/or photos.

Let me know if that clarifies where we would “want” to go with it, but I think you guys generally had the right idea with using the scan 1 barcode + scan second barcode as a means of a very fast lookup in a table that will have ~10,000 records (about 10k welds on the job) that have very complicated ID numbers.

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