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Liv Tec: Positioning Also Works Under Extreme Circumstances

Articles | By LIV tec | 01 June 2015
How various positioning technologies can form a complete solution How various positioning technologies can form a complete solution Photo: Liv Tec

Even in harsh industrial environments positioning tasks can be solved with accuracy

“For industrial companies, precise positioning in production processes is still, in the main, an unknown area,” says Peer Kohlstetter, LIV Tec. In order to optimise processes, however, the exact position recognition of industrial trucks, pallet cages, assets and expensive tools or equipment is crucial in large industrial buildings or grounds. “What technologies are used largely depends on the solution. It is not wise to decide a priori for WLAN, Wifi or active RFID in all situations. In extreme environments where these technologies may reach their limits, technological alternatives are required.”

Peer Kohlstetter, Managing Director, LIV Tec, in interview with “RFID im Blick”

Finding Objects? Often There’s no Way of Knowing

A classic application for RFID positioning is asset management. This means the ability to locate economic goods moving on containers, pallets or trolleys equipped with active RFID tags through the entire production process in the production hall. “Many industrial companies often don’t know in precisely what processing section an object is used. For example, have pallets been moved automatically over the period of a week or two within a production section without anybody knowing their exact whereabouts? However, knowing the position is crucial for managing, evaluating and optimising the current production status or work stage for each work area,” explains Peer Kohlstetter. The effective monitoring, including alarm signalling of expensive tools and equipment in large industry buildings and grounds, is a further application field. These scenarios could be combined with passive technology or outdoor WLAN positioning.

Peer KohlstetterPeer Kohlstetter “Many industrial companies often don’t know where exactly equipment is within the production process. However, this is crucial in order to evaluate and optimise the current production status or work stage of each production section.”

Extreme Case: Position Detection in Lead Production with Sprinkler

There are also applications where alternatives are needed, especially for industrial buildings where extreme conditions prevail. A current LIV Tec project is positioning in a lead factory. Because of the highly toxic lead dust, a sprinkler system has to be in operation while a wheel loader is loading the lead in the industrial building. “An RFID solution is not feasible because of the reflective lead on the ground. Therefore, a new positioning solution has been developed together with the Fraunhofer Institute,” says Kohlstetter. The LIV DMS system activates the positioning system in the zone in which a vehicle is working. Tags are installed at the loaders. Anchors on the ceiling measure the distance to the object and determine the position by triangulation. The information collected by DMS is then transferred via the LIV integration platform to the company’s control system. “Basically, the system can be combined with RFID. LIV Tec has developed a housing for the anchors using 3D printing, in which an RFID tag can also be integrated. The housing is still small enough to be mounted on a wheel loader or fork lift truck,” adds Kohlstetter.

New Positioning Technology for Industrial Buildings

The new system allows positioning in industrial buildings and difficult environments with an accuracy of one metre, depending on the number of anchors, as the CEO explains. “Technologies such as GPS or Wi-Fi provide very poor accuracy in large open industrial buildings. DMS is a precise positioning technology designed for free open spaces to optimise processes and integrate applications that might have previously failed using other technologies or because of their costs.”

The Choice of Technology is Solution not Technology-Driven

Basically, each individual case has to be analysed, in order to decide on the right technology: “Particularly in the context of Industry 4.0, industrial companies are looking for improvements and solutions that can be flexibly adapted. Our approach is therefore always driven by the solution rather than the technology,” explains Kohlstetter. Different technologies can be integrated on the LIV platform. “We first define the requirements and then test the technology before we implement the solution. It is important for us to understand the needs of the user. Therefore, we are also looking for partners who understand the customers’ problems in detail. We can recommend the right technology to software partners, who then install the solution with the end user,” says the Managing Director.

Last modified on Tuesday, 30 June 2015 11:48
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