Real Time Location Systems Experiencing Accelerated Growth

By Naresh Kumar Surepelly

Industry Trends

Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) use the location information of assets/equipment to improve utilization and efficiency.  Tags are attached to mobile equipment, readers receive signals from the tags and use them to determine the tag location.  Depending on the technology, location accuracy varies from about 10cm to 30m or beyond.

Real Time Location Real%20Time%20Tracking.JPGTracking of inventory, spare parts, maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) supplies, expensive equipment, and indoor vehicles in production areas: understanding where these assets are and minimizing unplanned activities are primary goals of all industrial users, be it on the shop floor or in a warehouse.  Time spent searching for these assets can lead to expensive delays and results in down time and misuse of the workforce.

Locating, tracking, and optimizing assets and manufacturing processes is a key challenge for most industrial users.  Also, sharing reliable and accurate location data of assets with the right people at the right time has become an essential need in recent years, thanks to the benefits offered by digitalization, Industrial IoT and analytics solutions.  With RTLS asset tracking technologies, like RFID, UWB, BLE, Wi-Fi, and such, users have a lot of flexibility on what, where, and how to track.  Users can set up policies to specifically track items sent into and out of an inventory location, locating assets in real time to within one-meter accuracy.

Users employing RTLS are optimizing industrial asset availability, utilization, and performance, resulting in an improved return on assets and contributing to operational excellence.  End users are utilizing previously stranded asset data from the tags built with low-cost internet-connected sensors, mounted directly onto mobile equipment and machines.  In conjunction, advanced analytics software is capable of detecting, identifying, and avoiding performance degradation or asset failures.

RTLS applications have become more popular as they delivered positive results in the recent past.  Some of the key applications of RTLS include container management in production areas, and process optimization in manufacturing areas or assembly workstations, tracking of pallets, goods, floor conveyors, tools and toolboxes for better tool management, indoor navigation and tracking of tugger trains, and positioning of overhead cranes, etc.

Changes in manufacturing, such as automatization, digitalization or Industrial Internet of Things (IoT), as well as analytics solutions to optimize processes and efficiency, are contributing to the growth of the RTLS market.  Although the manufacturing sector in generally cautious and slow in investing in new technologies, the benefits of RTLS are compelling: advanced collection of accurate location data and improving the efficiency of manufacturing processes.

ARC’s recently completed global market analysis report “Real-time Location Systems” provides an overview of the technology, market, and leading suppliers, a current market analysis plus a five-year market and technology forecast.  For more information, readers can click here.


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