Misplaced inventory, idle fork trucks and scheduling interruptions all contribute to overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). Smooth production and distribution requires a carefully managed choreography of the people, equipment and materials that make up industrial processes.
The continued scaling of industrial operations, including the expanding range of critical assets, means that it’s vital to manage equipment allocation and accurately track assets in real time. Industrial asset management using a real time locating system (RTLS) is an excellent way to gain oversight of all critical assets and ensure their efficient use to optimize operations.
The Importance of Accurate Industrial Asset Tracking and Management
Industrial equipment management is the cornerstone of cohesive manufacturing processes. Having the right tools and equipment in the right place at the right time will reduce lead times and increase operational efficiency. This is a challenge for many companies due to the increasing number of assets and expansive nature of warehouse and factory settings. It’s common for industrial equipment to be underutilized and misplaced when a solid structure of asset management isn’t in place.
Many of the assets used in industrial settings are also in need of regular maintenance and repair. Keeping on top of the necessary inspections, predictive maintenance and repairs of powered and non-powered assets can be a timely and challenging task. Not only does every asset need to be managed, but their maintenance must be logistically planned to avoid disruption to operations.
With an RTLS solution, you can centralize all tracked items and integrate with existing asset inventory management system. This allows you to establish real time asset distribution and location tracking to identify the most important areas of use for various pieces of equipment. You can also plan and implement preventive maintenance schedules that optimize use of equipment while minimizing the impact on productivity due to equipment failure.
What are the Benefits of RTLS Asset Tracking
in the Manufacturing Industry?
Example Case: Returning a Missing Chassis to the Production Line
Several times a day, an auto manufacturer pulls white bodies from the production line (a white body is a car chassis before it’s painted). These white bodies are set aside for quality assurance (QA) or rework. When holding areas are overrun, the chassises are rolled to other areas to get them out of the way, often to low traffic areas where the chassis can be forgotten. When the paint shop calls up a particular chassis, they need to find it quickly and return it to the line. If not recovered, the chassis is eventually scrapped, representing a write down of several thousands of dollars per instance.
Placing a Wi-Fi tag (with additional BLE radio for other use cases) on the white body, allows production to locate the specific missing chassis instantaneously for reinsertion before paint. It also allows an alert to be triggered if the chassis sits idle for an extended period, thanks to a motion sensor in the tag, encouraging proactive retrieval.
Industrial RTLS Asset Tracking Solutions with Airista
AiRISTA takes a technology agnostic approach to industrial asset management, matching the right technology to the use case at a cost that provides a definable return on investment (ROI). We combine passive RFID with active RTLS solutions like Wi-Fi and BLE with integrated tags, finding the right balance to achieve process efficiency at a price that makes sense for your business.
Our solutions can leverage the Wi-Fi already in place, making infrastructure establishment quicker and simpler. For localized areas requiring higher levels of accuracy, BLE and passive RFID can be used to complement Wi-Fi. We also offer solutions that use GPS asset tracking for real time locations while outdoors. Location can be displayed on a variety of smart mobile devices to enable proactive IoT asset tracking and bring response to the production floor.
Example Case: Automating Inventory Accounting in Laydown Yard
Power utility maintains line equipment in laydown yards. Traditionally, paper-based systems have been used, but this approach led to errors. Line workers arrive to find material misplaced or missing. Using combination BLE and GPS tags coupled with BLE5.0 readers mounted to the side of the building, GPS coordinates are relayed over BLE. This gives an instantaneous accounting of inventory and location. With motion sensing, the tags sleep until motion is detected — saving battery life or alerting to possible theft if off hours.
AiRISTA’s RTLS Buyer’s Guide
To help you get a clear understanding of RTLS systems and what they’re capable of, we’ve created a comprehensive buyer’s guide.