What is RTLS and how the system works?
RTLS stands for Real-Time Location System. In other words, it is an Indoor Positioning System that locates and tracks anything, anyone within a defined zone that is covered by radiofrequency.
Companies looking for a better way to monitor their employees and equipment can have it with the utilization of a real-time location system (RTLS). This unique and innovative technology is rapidly being implemented by many industries around the world. With the ability to track asset and worker movement in real-time using location monitoring equipment and software, companies are able to minimize production slowdowns, identify areas to improve and provide workers with added safety features.
If you don’t want to be left behind by this latest technological revolution, Litum’s skilled team can quickly upgrade your production lines and distribution centers to meet any tracking and monitoring need.
What is RTLS?
The real-time location system is this generation’s answer to monitoring the status and movement of assets on the ground. Whether you run a production facility or need to track down forklifts and equipment in a warehouse, it’s likely that an RTLS system can help you a great deal. Just what is RTLS – how does it work?
How RTLS Works?
Every RTLS system incorporates a combination of hardware and software to create an enclosed indoor positioning network. This meshed system uses several active Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) readers placed throughout the area to receive the radio signals sent by active RFID tags that are attached to equipment, merchandise, or worn by personnel. The signal contains vital information about the location and status of each object or person inside the network, which is sent to your servers to be processed by RTLS software.
What Can RTLS Software Do for Me?
The RTLS software is a vital part of any RTLS system. It processes the information provided by the RFID anchors to calculate the location and displays it in an easy-to-understand manner. RTLS software can show a map of the work area with a live display of personnel and equipment location. It can even alert designated personnel when an RFID tag leaves the area or is tampered with, which could indicate a potential theft.
Additionally, Litum RTLS software can provide you with a selection of organized reports using key data received by the RFID readers. These reports can:
● Show any employee tardiness or absences
● Show whether employees move around or remain at their workstation
● Track how many loads each piece of heavy mining equipment moved
● Display completed maintenance on vehicles and equipment
● Display how fast vehicles move and their routes
These are just a few of the many tailored reports comprehensive RTLS software can produce for companies.
RTLS System Hardware
Since most RTLS hardware is placed within industrial environments, it must offer longevity and complete durability against damage. The RFID tags, in particular, are built to resist everyday damage from falls and impacts of any sort. A durable shell keeps the electronic components safe, along with very secure fittings and connections within. Some RFID tags are IP 67 rated specifically for outdoor use or use in hazardous environments. These devices have nearly airtight and watertight cases that keep out dust, sand, general dirt, and water. Some can even be submerged in water for a short period without damage. This is the same for the RTLS anchors, also known as active RFID readers, that are posted throughout a work area. Anchors must also be weather-resistant for outdoor work areas that see wind, rain, and snow.
Depending on how much you are willing to invest in your active RTLS RFID tags, they can come with a range of features that improve personnel safety, prevent damage to equipment, and can provide important data for your employees. RTLS systems that utilize state-of-the-art UWB technology provide sub-meter location accuracy when tracking assets, equipment, and employees. UWB RTLS systems also form their own mesh networks and don’t require network connectivity, which reduces the investment of network infrastructure and cabling.
Some of the features of RTLS RFID tags and readers include:
● Monitoring environment temperature and humidity.
● Gas level detection for CO, H2S, NO, O2, and CO2.
● Alert you when assets are overdue for maintenance, repair, or calibration.
● Monitoring the current temperature of motors and other equipment components.
● Alert you if an employee falls down or stops moving for a specific length of time.
● Panic buttons for personnel to press if they need help.
● Track the speed and fuel usage of equipment or vehicles.
● Keep track of inventory levels in a warehouse, facility, or store.
If there is some other parameter that you would like to monitor in the environment, on your equipment, or regarding your personnel, Litum can usually assist in making it possible with our RTLS hardware.
RTLS for Companies
Sometimes, it is difficult for a company to fully realize the capabilities of RTLS solutions and just how these systems can solve the everyday challenges that come with operating a business. This technology has applications in many areas of business and industry.
At the Busy Warehouse
Warehouses are constantly moving inventory in and out of a facility, not to mention dealing with the delivery vehicles that can arrive every few minutes. Litum’s expert technicians can install an indoor positioning network within the warehouse and at the gates to your shipping and receiving areas. We’ll also provide durable RFID tags that can be attached to cherry pickers, forklifts, and even delivery trucks. All of which provide real-time updates as to where the equipment is and what it’s doing.
The RTLS software displays this information at the touch of a button and can send a text alert to designated personnel when equipment overheats, the operator drives too fast, or if there is an accident.
If you would like to track inventory movement, Litum can help too. In that case, printable passive RFID tags can be affixed to pallets and product packaging that pings off of readers as they are moved to and from the shipping and receiving areas. This provides information that our software uses to update the inventory levels within your warehouse, provide dates and times for when items arrived or left, and even provides location instructions to forklift operators for drop-off or pick-up.
RTLS & RFID On the Production Line
Thanks to the development of Industry 4.0 technology, you can use RTLS systems and RFID technology in conjunction to decentralize your production line. We’ll also provide easy to apply passive RFID tags that can be attached to components in your final product. As each component moves down the line an RFID reader within your equipment scans this tag, which directs the machine or prompts the operator to complete the next step in the item’s construction.
The RFID software is designed to monitor production speed, inventory, and alert you to any slowdowns to help you keep an eye on the entire process. Facility managers are even able to estimate completion times for production quotas and deal with slowdowns or maintenance when alerted.
In the Mines – Underground and Open
Working deep below the Earth or in a stone quarry where dynamite blasts occur makes mining a very hazardous process. With an RTLS in place, you can improve personnel safety and production at the same time. Litum active RFID tags provide real-time updates as to the speed and location of each vehicle or piece of equipment in operation. The system can also track how much raw material is moved based on the number of loads that pass by readers at specific points.
RFID tags worn by personnel can also provide real-time updates of their location, movement, and even feature a man-down system in case a worker is injured and stops moving. In this case, the system would alert designated personnel that a worker has not moved within a certain length of time. You can then look up where that worker’s RFID tag is on the computer display and dispatch help.
Our RTLS software is adaptable and can monitor and reduce vehicle speed to safe levels, stop vehicles if they are about to collide and restrict the usage of certain equipment to trained personnel.
Real-Time Location Services for Industry
When you need to streamline your production process, improve on-the-job safety, and minimize inventory losses, an RTLS is an answer. With our experienced technicians and a vast selection of RFID hardware, Litum is the company that can meet your location monitoring needs in all areas of industry and business. We work with airports, warehouses, mining concerns, factories, and even offices and hospitals looking to improve security.
If you are having a difficult time visualizing the benefits of real-time location monitoring, one of Litum’s experts can help you with creating a tailored service plan that makes your company more efficient.
Contact us now to request your free consultation today!