Smart industry 4.0 Objects communicate accurate 3D position data in real time
How do you control a production without knowing where each individual production order is now, where the appropriate tools, means of transport and materials are?
“Like a pilot flying blind! You can’t see anything and you have to rely on your instrument displays.”
If aircrafts were controlled like most of today’s production processes, many people would rather prefer to walk. Even in the automotive industry, it is by no means always guaranteed whether and which components are available at the right moment at the assembly line. Estimates suggest that 22% to 28% waste is caused by shrinkage, search times and inappropriately sized fleets of forklifts, transport containers and equipment.
The ZIGPOS GmbH, a Start-Up from Dresden, has after several years of development brought the first mass market ready real-time tracking system (RTLS ) into series production worldwide. The former university spin-off with its dynamic position data tagged objects provides the foundation for today’s “digital factory”.
We have become accustomed to tracking transports outside buildings using GPS and GSM. But this only works up to the loading ramp at the factory door. If the arrival at the goods receiving area is still registered semi-automatically by means of a manual barcode scan or RFID reading, “the goods disappear from the radar screens of the production management” at the latest with the commissioning of the individual parts for the respective production order. Once the ingredients have been taken from the warehouse, they are in the “blind spot” for MES and ERP until the next reading point. If you want to know what happens between two reading points, you have to send staff to search and literally cause idle power!
“We believe that the objects surrounding us should be smarter, revealing their positions and intentions like fireflies at night.” says Erik Mademann, Managing Director of ZIGPOS.
By using tiny radio sensors (TAGs), things identify themselves, report their position up to 30cm accurately and communicate their processing status. “Our customers are just thrilled to see what’s actually happening in their production line in real time.” But this is only the beginning. Once the most important objects such as transport containers, industrial trucks, tools, individual parts and modules have been marked with an active locating module, bookings can even be generated automatically. Inventory in real time becomes reality. “Blind spots” in global logistics chains turn into a completely transparent value-added chain down to the component level.
The ZIPGOS real-time localization can be installed by the user himself without the need for electricians or IT specialists. Two days are enough for a system setup for a 3,000 m² production hall. From the Far East to America, very large companies have recognized that decisions are made more effectively when they are based on real time spatial data and rely on the high-tech producers from Saxony. They have found renowned partners for the production of their hardware and can thus secure business-critical applications with thousands of smart objects by high quality standards.
For the machine-readable identification of individual objects such as individual parts and containers, paper labels are attached to these today, and even several times depending on the production stage. This not only requires printers for the various barcode, QR code or data matrix labels as well as the correspondingly expensive reading devices, but also the work involved in applying stickers and scanning by handheld reader. These non-value-adding activities can be saved.
The ZIGPOS badge with energy-saving e-paper display can not only display any text, graphics and optical machine code for identification, but also the production status of the next step or spatial information can be displayed automatically. Once tagged objects identify themselves automatically and update their display automatically controlled by a production control system (MES) or the inventory management system (ERP). Sources of error during pasting and manual scanning are eliminated. The processes become more secure and every event (movement, shocks, status, etc.) is automatically documented by database entry. This ensures quality and the customer is pleased.