Faced with manual manufacturing processes and complex production control, a German manufacturer of construction and agricultural machinery was looking for an intelligent solution to optimize its production. With INTRANAV.RTLS technology, the manufacturer uses real-time tracking of load carriers along the production line and automatic posting of all production cycles to the SAP system.
The challenge of variant production: Mastering manual process steps and high complexity
In many industries, the variety of models is growing and the production process is becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of. A leading German manufacturer of construction and agricultural machinery uses manual processes for the production of large construction machines, as the machines are individually adapted to the customers’ requirements.
The booking and cycle control of the production steps require scanners, which are used intensively on several assembly lines. For quality assurance, it was difficult to master the synchronicity of pre-assembly and main assembly, to keep track of all individual components and load carriers for production, and to ensure all quality standards.
For Smart Manufacturing, the manufacturer needed accurate, real-time location information of all assembly steps, automatic cycle posting, and a record of all manufacturing-related information.
The solution: Real-time asset tracking and automation with RTLS
The Smart Factory system uses INTRANAV.RTLS technology (Real-Time Location System) to provide real-time location and tracking along the production line. INTRANAV, an Inpixon Company, based in Eschborn near Frankfurt am Main, Germany, is a leading German provider of IIoT and real-time location systems (RTLS) and sensor data services. With its technology solution, production status and locations of materials and tools can be accurately tracked and processes automated. The result is improved production monitoring, increased efficiency and quality assurance.
Real-time location with ultra-wideband technology
INTRANAV.RTLS uses ultra-wideband (UWB) radio technology for short-range communications for indoor localization. The method is energy-saving and does not interfere with other radio systems including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It can therefore be set up in parallel with existing radio solutions.
To enable indoor localization, components, load carriers, containers of all kinds and means of transport require small “UWB tags” (radio chips). The individual devices localize each other and are significantly more precise than other radio standards. The position accuracy is 10-30 cm. Thus, the system operates more accurately than, for example, BLE (1-3 meters) or Wi-Fi (5-15 meters). The technology is suitable for indoor navigation on the one hand, but also for server-based positioning for asset tracking on the other.
Digital twin for production: automation, synchronization and real-time monitoring for production
INTRANAV.RTLS replaces manual scanning and booking processes with automated processes at the manufacturer. Dividing the plant building into virtual zones (geofences) enables automatic feedback of production cycles. An important aspect here is the synchronization of pre-assembly and main assembly. If these do not go hand in hand, there is a risk of delays that negatively affect delivery times. An automatic component plausibility check ensures that only matching parts are assembled.
All information goes into the SAP system, creating a digital twin of the production line. This allows production managers to monitor material requirements, production progress and potential delays in real time. In the event of problems, they are notified immediately and can take appropriate action. The twin’s control center is the INTRANAV.IO platform, which can manage and visualize real-time position data. It creates a digital map of all operations and helps make informed decisions as well as optimize processes.
The result: end-to-end process transparency and increased efficiency and quality
The introduction of the digital twin of the production line has significantly improved manufacturing. With precise positional information for each assembly step and all materials, employees can accurately monitor material flow, better coordinate production stages, and quickly respond to potential deviations or delays.
Intelligent production control provides benefits such as real-time information for end-to-end process visibility, automatic cycle feedback, elimination of manual scanning, highly accurate location and data security through cloud, on-premise or hybrid deployments. This increases productivity, reduces errors and optimizes the entire production process.
Overall, the company has made its production processes more efficient and increased product quality. The introduction of INTRANAV.RTLS technology has proven to be a cost-effective solution that leads to increased operational efficiency and reduced operating costs.