Mobilize production. Maximize flexibility.

SIMATIC RTLS, the locating platform for your digital enterprise

Many innovative companies are thinking about how to make their traditional workflows in production and logistics more dynamic. This allows to respond more swiftly to market changes, optimize capacity utilization or manufacture smaller batches. The key are flexible, self-organizing production and logistics concepts based on our SIMATIC RTLS locating platform.   What does that exactly mean? You can use SIMATIC RTLS to navigate material flows, control mobile robots, monitor component use, and fully document the final product assembly. Welcome to the Digital Enterprise.

If you have any specific questions, talk to our locating experts.

Information

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Technology

Real-Time Locating System SIMATIC RTLS

Seamless locating of all relevant objects anywhere on the company premises

SIMATIC RTLS (Real-Time Locating System) is a key component in the digital infrastructure of the factory of the future. For intelligent systems like mobile robots, self-navigating transport systems and state-of-the-art automation software to be able to focus and respond autonomously, they need to know what’s where, and when. The SIMATIC RTLS locating platform achieves this accurately and reliably. It locates objects with accuracy measured in centimeters and makes the positioning details available to higher-level systems in real time.

A precise digital twin

SIMATIC RTLS thus makes a precise digital twin of all processes possible – from delivery to further processing and final assembly. The relevant objects, e.g. workpieces, tools, automated guided vehicles or robots, are fitted with a transponder. The transponder signals are picked up by a higher-level system, which calculates their position and provides the information to the intelligent automation systems and manufacturing units. In real time. Dynamic. With precision.

Positioning

3D locating accurate down to centimeters

UWB technology for maximum precision and reliability

SIMATIC RTLS draws on the benefits of ultra-wideband technology (UWB). For local wireless communication an extremely wide frequency range (3-7 GHz) with a bandwidth of at least 500 MHz is used, to transmit weak wireless signals. This prevents the risk of interference with other systems. The result is extremely precise object location with accuracy down to centimeters.

Easy installation

And: SIMATIC RTLS is extremely easy to install, and capable of adapting in stages to increasing demands. Extra units can be added to the individual components at any time – right up to a company-wide infrastructure. With no additional configuration cost at all. This aspect makes the technology attractive for companies too that are taking their first steps toward a Digital Enterprise. The following elements cover the entire locating infrastructure.

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Significance for the digital factory

Important information for higher-level systems

An essential milestone on the path to smart production

In the smart factories of the future, various production materials like Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) and mobile robots will work together with humans, machines and systems. The location of a machine or robot will be a relevant variable in this regard. Knowing where they are in the factory is therefore essential for a self-directed, highly efficient workflow.

SIMATIC RTLS will become a key component in the digital infrastructure of future factories

Nandini Bhattacharya, Industry Analyst at the Frost & Sullivan Best Practice Awards ceremony in London

Localization in precision. For a digital enterprise in motion.

SIMATIC RTLS makes sure that information on the precise location of the production resources is available to all higher-level intelligent systems. That is the only way that Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) or Cloud-based applications, e.g. in MindSphere, the open IoT operating system, will be able to trigger dynamic commands for target systems like mobile robots, programmable logic controllers (PLC) or AGVs for example. There can be no doubt: SIMATIC RTLS is the locating platform for dynamic, self-organizing processes.

Overview of the solution

What you can count on

The wireless-based SIMATIC RTLS locating platform offers real added value
  • Flexible solution for localization applications thanks to industrial scalability
  • High future proof thanks to expandability to new applications or operating areas
  • Smooth solution implementation thanks to comprehensive Siemens expertise
  • Flexible integration into various IT systems and even Cloud-based applications
  • Accuracy and reliability in industrial environments thanks to robust design
Examples of application

SIMATIC RTLS in practical use

We have already implemented locating projects in about 120 locations around the world. There is a huge range of potential applications for SIMATIC RTLS.

Using SIMATIC RTLS, you can:

  • Automatically document the quality of manual work processes in order to improve efficiency
  • Control your tools and monitor power tools, to avoid errors and optimize product quality
  • Monitor tool status to ensure servicing tasks are performed exactly as required

Document tool-related activities

Tools are fitted with transponders, or already come with an integrated transponder at the time of delivery. As a result, you can record and document all associated movements and activities.

Control tools

Controlling a tool, e.g. its torque, depends on the position of the tool relative to the workpiece to be processed. Sensor and positional data is automatically transmitted to higher-level distributed control systems, which control and document the tool activities. The information from the measuring units on the transponder also helps pinpoint the location more accurately and reliably.

Monitor tools

By documenting tool utilization, you can also use the data for tool management, e.g. to observe service intervals for calibration or monitor tool life.

Using SIMATIC RTLS, you can:

  • Monitor freely moving material and thus implement flexible production plans
  • Structure material flows more transparently, control processes more efficiently, and respond more quickly to short-term influences
  • Identify causes of errors in production and retrospectively trace associated product defects
  • Locate materials in the factory premises without spending time looking for them
  • Dynamically organize production plans based on actual material availability
  • Observe all regulations on automatically documenting the product creation process

Locate workpieces and components

All workpieces, components, and containers are fitted with transponders. This ensures all relevant objects can be located in real time.

Control production stages

SIMATIC RTLS automatically transmits all movement data to a higher-level distributed control system or MES system. Depending on the position of the various objects, you can use this data to control production stages and automatically allocate material according to needs and availability.

Using SIMATIC RTLS, you can:

  • Fully document and accurately control processing and manufacturing stages
  • Directly locate transferred or stored workpieces without time-consuming searching processes
  • Respond quickly and directly in the event of production disturbances
     

Document production stages

Transponders are fitted to the products or workpiece carriers. These let you seamlessly document the progress of production.

Using SIMATIC RTLS, you can:

  • Monitor and control your forklifts in all warehouse and production locations
  • Optimize forklift routes, so you can make more efficient use of human and material resources
  • Minimize construction work, save time, and curb costs
  • Automatically document stock placements and thus reduce searching activities
  • Optimize travel routes and material flows based on movement data and downtimes, and create space-optimized warehouse structures

Locate forklifts

Forklifts are fitted with transponders, so you can constantly monitor their location, availability, and status. All the data thus gathered is transmitted to a central distributed control system.

Document goods movements

All goods movements using the forklifts are comprehensively documented. The vehicle is optimally directed, based on its position and the action to be performed.


Control access

Control accessAutomatic access control at relevant positions lets you determine the areas in which the forklift is permitted to move.

Add location details

You can supplement all the location details with identification technology, e.g. 2D codes or RFID.

Using SIMATIC RTLS, you can:

  • Dynamically utilize, efficiently locate, and control Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) systems and tugger trains
  • Optimize routes, so you can make more efficient use of human and material resources
  • Locate objects that need to be moved and autonomously direct transport systems to where they will be used
  • Automatically document stock movements and thus reduce searching activities
  • Retrospectively improve travel routes and material flows
  • Undertake simple adjustments in the case of changes to manufacturing organization or hall layout, for example
  • Utilize AGVs for transport between production areas to make greater use of machine fleets and structure your manufacturing more flexibly


Record absolute position

Trace the absolute position of AGVs and tugger trains at all times to navigate them. You can also determine the position of items that have to be moved.

Calculate paths

You can calculate the ideal path based on the position of the object and the AGV. The AGVs and tugger trains will be directed from the central distributed control system.

Using SIMATIC RTLS, you can:

  • Control the deployment times for your service teams and thus optimize service intervals and repair work
  • Increase service quality appreciably
  • Automatically document all service activities and check when or whether an employee was on-site

Locate employees

You can accurately locate your service employees directly, or via a Tablet, for example.

Guide employees

Depending on their current position and the location of the activities to be performed, you can guide service employees to the machine or plant via the most appropriate route.

Use Augmented Reality

The wireless-based SIMATIC RTLS locating platform offers real added value, which makes it an ideal tool for Augmented Reality solutions, for example.

Using SIMATIC RTLS, you can:

  • Automatically plan all vehicle movements, at depots and airports, for example
  • Reduce labor-intensive search processes at the freight depot, and comprehensively trace all movements there
  • Automatically post processes like goods receipt and retrieval, and appreciably reduce the risk of error
  • Shorten throughput times and structure processes at the freight depot more efficiently

Locate assets

All assets that need to be located, e.g. delivery transportation, vehicles manufactured, or in-house fleets, are fitted out with transponders for this purpose. This enables you to track their movements on the premises with complete accuracy.

Direct transport vehicles

Based on their availability and position, all transport vehicles are automatically directed to their destination.

Plan vehicles

You can save time by efficiently planning all your vehicle movements based on your production management or depot management.

Maintain time records

All vehicle departure and arrival times are comprehensively documented. Other relevant data, e.g. payload and fuel consumption, is also transmitted via the transponder.

H4 Headline

Using SIMATIC RTLS, you can:

  • Transparently structure and assure all container flows, to ensure all containers of all kinds are in the right place at the right time
  • Respond rapidly to any potential losses in the supply chain, and thus optimize production sequences
  • Record and document standing times and turnaround times of containers with sensitive content
  • Save time by eliminating search times
  • Draw up a container history to assure and potentially optimize service processes

Locate containers

All containers are fitted with transponders. This makes three-dimensional location possible, with accuracy down to the centimeter level. You can also check all receipts and retrievals without difficulty.

Display information

All relevant information, e.g. for communication with employees, can be displayed on the transponder’s e-ink screen, based on the container’s location or contents.

Initialize pick-by-light

The LEDs or the OK button on the transponder can serve as a feedback channel for a pick-by-light system or for basic interactions with employees. This makes the order picking process easier and faster.

Using SIMATIC RTLS, you can:

  • Have humans and robots work in the same space with no need for structural protection or separation
  • Create the basis for novel, highly dynamic production strategies
  • Increase the level of automation for manual activities like final vehicle assembly or tasks in aircraft production

Locate robots

Real-time location lets you have mobile robots and human employees move in the same area at the same time without risk. They are located in parallel and in real time.

Avoid hazards

If a potentially hazardous situation arises, the smart SIMATIC RTLS system automatically switches the machines off.

Direct robots

The mobile robots can be directed as required. This means they can be positioned close to the material that has to be processed.

Contact

Our comprehensive expertise

Siemens is your trusted partner, when it comes to end-to-end solutions for your Digital Enterprise. We have many years of expertise with innovative technologies for industrial applications in production and logistics. SIMATIC RTLS from Siemens includes all components and services for customized locating solutions. We are looking forward to design a customized locating solution that will perfectly suit your requirements. Contact us.