Whether you call it the fourth industrial revolution or the industrial internet, Industry 4.0 is a vision that promises to transform manufacturing with the help of sensors and smart connected devices. Eliko and GlobalReader, a company offering intelligent production analytics, are teaming up to show how real time locating systems (RTLS) can bring additional value to the bottom line of manufacturing.

Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) or Industrie 4.0, as the Germans like to call it, is a concept where the physical and virtual worlds merge in the factory of the future. Enhanced productivity will come from analysing an increasing amount of data about the manufacturing processes. More data equals better decisions and a more fine-tuned production processes where resources are utilised to the maximum and quality is ensured by constant monitoring. Mc Kinsey research suggest that the impact on manufacturing will be even higher than predicted, a massive 1.11 trillion by 2025.

RTLS is considered an essential part of the Industry 4.0, since locating and tracking objects and people is important in getting real-time feedback about process performance. Whether a person really is performing a task or whether a machine is entering a restricted area can trigger events making sure that quality isn’t compromised and workers are safe. RTLS systems differ in the baseline technology used for positioning, and each comes with their specific advantages and flaws. Ultra wideband based RTLS is suitable for industrial applications due to optimal range and location precision.

Eliko and Global Reader will be working with a prefab house manufacturer that produces over 15 000 houses every year. With over 300 designs in their standard range alone, the production needs to be honed to perfection to be able to effectively deliver different models on the same factory floor. With a mix of 50 machines, 40 forklifts as well as power tools, the hand-over between different production processes becomes critical. GlobalReader has equipped each machine with a range of sensors measuring the real-time utilisation and unexpected downtime of production machines.

The recent upgrade to GlobalReader’s intelligent manufacturing system has revealed that the house manufacturer is having problems with unscheduled machine downtime. More detailed investigation found that both process handover between machines and raw material supply is uneven. As a result, the workbench and operator are left waiting, costing the company and hurting their bottom line.

In the new cooperation agreement, Eliko will equip all the 40 forklifts on the shop floor with the KIO RTLS to monitor why exactly are there delays in the production process. The data will be integrated into GlobalReader’s smart manufacturing system to provide feedback to shift managers and head of production. The complete picture of the manufacturing floor in real-time will enable to improve processes, reduce downtime and eventually increase the factory output.

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