RTLS in manufacturing and Industrial IoT
Indoor positioning systems are typically based on radio-frequency communication. A radio beacon is attached to the object to be tracked and several RTLS reference points are placed throughout the building. The reference points can be receivers or transmitters but provide the coverage network for the RTLS network. Information from the trackers are passed back to a processor, along with an algorithm to calculate the position of the beacon, and this can be viewed as a location on a computer terminal or other device.1
The advantage of RTLS is that it acts like an indoor GPS but is not reliant on satellite communication. Even in a GPS-denied area where GPS signals cannot reach, RTLS systems can be used for location tracking and an entire factory can have reliable signal coverage.
Mobile robots or automated guided vehicles (AGVs) have become a key part of the factory environment for innovative manufacturers in areas such as automotive engineering, logistics, and construction. They can be used for the automation of many tasks, including assembly and goods loading and transport. Many existing mobile robotics systems required pre-programmed fixed patterns or routes to follow, whereas with RTLS the robots can move much more freely around the factory site and the robot can be navigated as needed.2, 3
An advantage of free-to-roam robots is that they can detect and avoid danger zones or potential collisions. This might be simply by going around a stationary object, or recognizing another robot’s presence through an IoT network and modifying a route accordingly. This gives greater flexibility to factory design and operations as RTLS can give very precise absolute location information.
Operation analytics and optimization
Greater independence for robots and the need for less human intervention in their operation is one way to reduce operating and infrastructure costs.4 The ability of robots to detect objects and change routes on-the-fly means there is no need for pre-built infrastructure, and routes can even be optimized with time to increase operational efficiency. Data gathered by the robots can also be analyzed for additional levels of optimization and process refinement in an analytics system.
Terabee Robot Positioning System innovation
Terabee Robot Positioning System is based on Ultra wideband (UWB) radio-frequency technology that can be used to precisely measure the time-of-flight of the radio waves and determine the distance between objects. The UWB technology works in GPS-denied areas for location pinpointing and represents one of the most precise technologies on offer for such purposes.5
Terabee Robot Positioning System allows you to collect positioning data and gather valuable insights into process efficiency and status. When combined with software development, Terabee Robot Positioning System can transform your manufacturing space or warehouse into smarter facilities to improve productivity and safety when navigating and positioning mobile robots or AGVs.5
Our proprietary implementation of an auto anchor positioning system feature allows for a fast deployment and validation of the optimal anchor position, reducing the trial and error involved with setting up the RTLS network.
Terabee Robot Positioning System is a key technology for helping manufacturers and Industry 4.0 to become more efficient. Potential applications that could benefit from such technologies include ground vehicle localization or research and development.
The key specifications that make Terabee Robot Positioning System ideal for such applications include the fact that position data is always available in the tracker and the 2D or 3D (x,y,z) positions can be sampled up to 10 times per second. This ensures that all monitoring and data systems are completely up-to-date, even with sudden changes in the operating environment.
The whole system is scalable to up to 32 anchors, with 15 trackers as an optimum number, so even the most complex manufacturing areas can have good coverage. A range up to 40 m between tracker and anchor also makes the technology suitable for large sites.
The radio technology operates at 6.5 GHz, and there are several interface options for integration into analytics streams. The devices are also small (66 mm x 62.5 mm and 45 g) with a rugged IP65-standard enclosure when back-panel mounted.
Contact us for our solutions and to learn more about Terabee Robot Positioning System and how it can make your facility smarter.