Kronos Adds New Ring to Its Timeclock

Nobody can argue with the connectivity power offered by a Token-Ring architecture, which IBM continues to aggressively push. Now, a new tool enables sites to link data-collection devices out on the shop floor or office directly to an AS/400-based Token-Ring network.

Kronos Inc. (Waltham, Mass.) has begun shipping a Token-Ring-enabled communications option that links data-collection devices -- such as bar-code scanners or PCs -- to its Timekeeper time and attendance system on the AS/400. With the release of this Token-Ring interface, Kronos now offers all connectivity options native on the AS/400 platform, including Twinax, Ethernet and RS485. "The Token-Ring interface allows us to attach our data collection devices directly to the Token-Ring," says Barry Moore, VP and manager of Kronos' AS/400 division. "This enhanced connectivity also enables sites to facilitate real-time communications, providing frontline managers with access to labor data as it is available."

The Token-Ring architecture is especially popular among manufacturing, retail, healthcare, government and education organizations, Moore says. One of Kronos' first Token-Ring installations is in a retail site, where the product supports 500 data collection devices, he notes.

The Kronos Series 400 with a Token-Ring interface option works with the AS/400 host application software Timekeeper Version 8.0, as well as with all future versions of Timekeeper/AS, which runs on other platforms. Kronos is working toward a Token-Ring interface option for its Series 500 Datakeeper, as well as for the Windows and client/server versions of Timekeeper.

Kronos also recently announced a new front-end environment built around the Java-based JWalk tool from SEAGULL (Atlanta). However, the company is still assessing whether to build all-Java versions of its products, Moore says.

The company is planning to release a Java-based PC-like device this year.