01 June 2015
What is a Real-Time Location System (RTLS)?
An RTLS is a technology solution that tracks and monitors objects and interactions as they happen. This could be products, parts or tools as they move through a factory, vehicles in a yard or a warehouse.
The key thing about RTLS is that it monitors things in real-time, capturing data and knowledge about events exactly as they occur. This information can then be used to drive all kinds of neat things, such as controlling tools and helping people to make the best decisions about situations they would otherwise be unable to judge.
How does RTLS work?
RTLS works by adding ID tags to the items, assets, products or devices that are involved in a given environment that emit a radio signal. Sensors are installed in the area that can pick-up the location of these items, and their movements. All of this spatial data is stored, and software can be used to interpret it – turning RTLS data into a virtual representation of the environment. Not only does this give people powerful insight into exactly what’s going on in their area of interest, but it can actually be used to control what is happening in real life. Amazing!
What’s special about the Ubisense system?
Ubisense RTLS is the most consistently accurate system available. This means that it still delivers reliable results even when there are high levels of complexity, such as objects blocking the tags and sensors from direct line of sight.
Our RTLS is also the only one capable of delivering real-time tool control that’s reliable and flexible… no mean feat in a crowded factory where quality assurance is paramount.
It is also certified as a production-critical RTLS system having met the stringent requirements set by global automotive OEMs.
What benefits can RTLS deliver?
For manufacturers, implementing an RTLS solution can deliver these benefits:
- Measurable cost reduction, with lean, optimized procedures throughout the assembly process
- Guaranteed productivity gains, as errors and wasted time are reduced or eliminated
- Reduced cost of quality, by maximizing right-first-time and reducing the cost of rework
- Manage product customization, through error-proofing and guidance in increasingly variable manual processes
Who is using Ubisense RTLS solutions?
- More than 50% of the top global auto-manufacturers
- An internationally renowned aerospace manufacturer
- Multiple global agricultural equipment companies
Will an RTLS solution help my business?
If you are a manufacturer facing these challenges, then the short answer is ‘yes’!
- Costs of complexity
- Cost and waste incurred by using and maintaining traditional vehicle identification solutions
- High cost of quality as a result of error prone manual processes
- Lack of operational insight and process visibility
- Little or no location awareness of assets and products
- Limited ability to refine and improve manufacturing processes
- Inability to consolidate and exploit existing enterprise data and systems
An RTLS can deliver immediate return and palpable solution to these issues, in many cases completely eliminating associated cost and waste. The Ubisense RTLS solution is called Smart Factory, and you can read about it here.
RTLS, the IoT and I4.0..?
So; Real-Time Location Systems are a means to identify objects, and help them interact and communicate with other items, systems and devices – using radio frequencies and the Internet. Sounds a lot like the concept of ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) doesn’t it? Well they are definitely part of the same story, in the future of which devices and sensors are networked globally to create a whole new class of applications.
Most people would agree that this is an inevitable migration, based on our current technology capabilities and behaviours.
Applied to manufacturing, Ubisense’s area of expertise, the Industrial Internet of Things is an important foundation for Industry 4.0 - the next industrial revolution. Industry 4.0 describes a future of flexible, intelligent processes which leverage RTLS data from sensors connected across the entire value chain. These cyber-physical systems leverage Big Data analytics to translate full operational visibility into unprecedented agility and efficiency.