Wipelot, one of the leading providers of Real-time location systems (RTLS), explain why RTLS technology is essential for industrial digitalization. The company confirms that RTLS is a fast-growing area which allow companies to gain access to these benefits and more.
There is a host of benefits that businesses can leverage from knowing exactly where their assets and personnel are located at all times. Some of these benefits are pretty obvious, such as not having to waste time looking for inventory or spending money replacing it if it can’t be found. But there are also many value added benefits that maybe not so instantly apparent, for example keeping employees safe.
What is RTLS Technology
How RTLS operates is fairly easy to understand. RTLS use RFID readers situated around the premises to gather a variety of measurements wirelessly from a RFID tag. The captured information is sent to a central device for processing. An algorithm is then used to determine the location of the tag with centimetre-level precision.
Different wireless protocols can also be used for RTLS installations. The protocol used depends on the requirements of the application. Ultra-wideband (UWB), WiFi and Bluetooth communications have been used by different RTLS suppliers. Wipelot mainly focusses on UWB in its systems as the technology avoids the crowded 2.4GHz frequency band and provides the best combination of accuracy and security.
Applications and benefits
Every business can become more efficient just by knowing the location of inventory, equipment and staff, but advanced RTLS can be used to do much more than providing precise locations. The wireless networks used to deliver the location measurements to the reader have enough spare bandwidth to deliver other measurements that are usually provided by sensors within the tag. If required, control signals can then be sent back over the communications network to perform actions, such as activating alarms.
RTLS can also be used in other ways to enhance the safety of the workforce. For example, in some RFID tags intended for personnel, Wipelot integrates fall sensors that can alert the company to an injured member of staff. Software can easily be programmed to designate areas as safe and unsafe, for example, to allow humans to safely work beside robots. When the operator moves into a space designated for robots, an alarm will sound. Distances can also be specified between tags. This ability has been used successfully by businesses during the current COVID-19 outbreak to impose proper social distancing. Alarms will sound if two members of staff get closer than the company’s preventative rules allow.
In a manufacturing environment, RTLS can track products as they move through the line to provide the traceability necessary for quality control to improve customer confidence. The tags can also monitor the production environment and equipment as part of an Industry 4.0 installation.
Having become the dominant RTLS provider in the Turkish domestic market, Wipelot is now looking further afield. Rifat Ok, Wipelot CEO said, “We are now making a major push to bring the benefits of RTLS technology to international markets.” He then expanded further on the benefits by explaining, “RTLS offers a faster way to recoup an initial investment than almost any other initiative that I know, and that is only counting defined financial benefits. There are many more intangible benefits, such as safeguarding staff and providing a more reliable service and better quality products to customers which can’t be measured so easily.”
RTLS can be used in any size of company and in any type of business that has stock or staff. Current Wipelot customers include manufacturers, utilities, airports, mines and automotive businesses, from smaller companies to the largest multinationals, such as Mondi, P&G, Bosch, ABB and Unilever. The company offers a wide selection of products that suit any application, including WIPELOT RTLS location tracking solutions and the WIPELOT ISG work safety family of products.