| Written by Christian Aadal

Implementing RTLS into your manufacturing process can be highly complex and needs to be thoroughly researched. Simplifying the decision making process will lead to a successful implementation.

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Automotive manufacturers seem to be at the forefront of implementing Industry 4.0 and ‘Industrial Internet of Things’-initiatives. The aim is to track and measure goods throughout the whole manufacturing process from goods inwards through to final dispatch. This makes the complete production process more visible, efficient, and ultimately more profitable. In many manufacturing plants, the development of making the workflow more visible is already implemented or in progress.

There are, however, some areas in the process, where assets, materials and even finished vehicles are not visible in the digital world. This applies especially to the production process of vehicles, where assets do not follow a predetermined path. For example, once a vehicle leaves the manufacturing line and enters the finishing area, it can be moved freely around the production site. The challenge is to know the location of each vehicle at any given time and subsequently avoid production delays. To meet these challenges, Real Time Location Systems can help you make unguided processes highly visible and integrate them into the digital landscape. The system enables your company to more effectively monitor, track, and localise assets, such as vehicles, and helps improve processes your organisation is currently struggling with.  

Integrating an RTLS into your manufacturing landscape can be highly complex and investment in this area should be thoroughly researched. Like any other investment in your company, the implementation of an RTLS system must be justified. To make a reasonable decision, your company must be clear on the benefits and the technology behind the system. This awareness creates the foundation for a successful implementation of hardware and software. We have provided a list of questions for you to simplify the decision-making process when wanting to employ an RTLS.

  1. What is our manufacturing process and what am I trying to improve?
  2. Is RTLS enough or do we need to combine the system with active RFID?
  3. What does my shop floor environment look like?
  4. What kind of software is provided and how does it interface with my current IT infrastructure?
  5. Can the system operate indoors and outdoors?
  6. How long will the transponder battery last and can it be replaced?
  7. How can the transponders be attached to the asset?
  8. How can I visually identify individual transponders?
  9. Are the transponders equipped with a push button interface?
  10. Is the system scalable?
  11. Is the system easy to install?
  12. Is the system integrator reputable?
  13. Will the RTLS be a standalone solution or be integrated into your ERP system?
  14. What are the benefits of introducing RTLS?
  15. While this list is by no means comprehensive, it will support your decision-making process and point you in the right direction. Learn more about the implementation of RTLS and the answers to the guideline questions.

 

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