Indoor Positioning Advances the Smart Factory in the New Era

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The smart factory, expressing the end goal of digitization in manufacturing, is a high digitized shop floor that continuously collects and shares data through connected machines, devices, and production systems. The data can be used for optimizing the operations and production processes, enhancing productivity, and improving responsive speed and system, to accelerate the progress of industry 4.0 as being affected at the same time.

There is an unexpected interruption, the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to an unprecedented obstacle of full operation in the smart factory while keeping the worker safe and healthy. At present, the unmanned workshop is not as common as we expect, and there are still many workshops need human to participate in and even lead the production process.

In the process of constructing smart factories, the primary issue is about personnel safety, especially in those enterprises which produce dangerous goods such as chemical, electric power products, and petrochemicals within large areas and complex plant structures. In order to avoid accidents, it is necessary to precisely locate personnel and restrict the action area for different groups of people. And, with the significant impact of the epidemic on life and production, the smart factory also puts forward higher requirements for the management of personnel positioning and contact tracing.

Technologies in Smart Factory

Various technologies such as AI, Big Data Analytics, Cloud Computing, and Industrial IoT (Internet of Things) have been used for the smart factory to be more responsive, adaptive, and connected. Among these technologies, IoT-related technologies have been successfully used worldwide. Minew, as one of the global leading manufacturers and providers of IoT products and services, offers smart factory or solution companies on smart factory the beacon products for effectively personnel location.

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BLuetooth LE Beacons for Personnel Location

Leveraging the advanced Bluetooth Low Energy and AoA technologies, Minew develops and innovates several series of beacon products to be used in a variety of vertical industries, the smart factory included, of course. Based on the signal sent by beacons in real-time, the managers of the smart factory can use the data which is collected by a Bluetooth signal receiver (like Gateway) and uploaded to the Cloud Platform, to optimize the whole processes in the factory.

  • Wristband Beacon

The wristband beacons provided by Minew can pinpoint the location of the wearer indoors and in real-time. The most recommended one is the B10 Multi-use wristband, with excellent functions and a stylish outlook.

With the SOS button, B10 helps workers who are working in dangerous plants to call for help if accidentally enter the hazardous areas or getting an injury from the operation.

Another useful gadget is the B8 series (B8/B8 Plus) wristbands. The real-time location is the primary function of the B8 series wristbands, and they featured with more suitable highlights for instant background, that is the social distancing alert and contact tracing. With them, the smart factory can ensure the health and safety of their workers by knowing their location and trace.

More wristband beacons such as B7 are also available from Minew.

  • Card Beacon

As the smart card or badge is commonly used in various working places, the card beacon plays an important and substitution role in renovating the personnel management.

The card beacons advance the smart factory in an unobtrusive way. The worker wears the card beacon, to give their real-time location for enhanced management. C10 and C7 card beacons from Minew are ideal choices for factories that prefer card shape beacons.   

C10 & C7 can perform more functions by configuring the hidden button inside them. For example, social distancing alert and daily check-in (NFC).

  • Keychain Beacon

The smaller size of beacons can be selected to realize the smart factory, just like a keychain. Minew’s D15N and C6 are belonging to this kind of beacon. They are compact and lightweight when sending out the real-time location signal.

By being fastened through the hole with a keychain or neck string or others, the D15N or C6 beacon also provides the real-time location of the wearer and allows tracking of the wearers for smart management.        

  • Location Beacon in other shapes

Some location beacons, maybe only can be carried by double-sided adhesive tape, glue, or directly being placed in the workers’ pocket, cardholder, safety helmet, or something like that. Minew also offers you these kinds of beacons, such as E5 (E5 AoA version also available), E8 (E8S with accelerometer), i9, T2, etc.

Except they are not so portable, these location beacons in other shapes, such as round, square, rectangle, or other irregular shapes, still provide highly accurate positioning data.

Real-time Personnel Location Advances the Smart Factory in:  

  • Real-time & High accurate positioning

Accelerated by the BLE 5.1 AoA-based indoor positioning technology, Minew makes a longer and preciser indoor positioning happen. For huge factories, the AoA-based BLE devices enabling sub-meter accuracy in a faster way. And more beacons can be tracked at the same time by the AoA compatible Gateway

  • Ensure workerssafety and health

With the SOS button, Minew’s beacons help the smart factory ensure worker’s safety by monitoring their location to avoid entering hazardous areas, and quickly provide assistance if the workers are in danger or in injury. And what has been mentioned above, the B8 series wristbands enable workers to maintain social distancing under such an epidemic. And some beacons from Minew also can be developed to achieve the same performance.

  • Contact recording & tracing

If two wearers with Minew’s specific beacons come into contact, the contact data will be recorded and stored on the Cloud. The manager of the factory can trace the contact information if someone is infected by the virus.

  • Geo-fence setup

Use the beacon products and signal receivers to set up different Geo-fences for different workers for improved personnel-space management. When a worker steps into an area to which he or she has no permission, the alarm will be triggered for further action.

  • Optimize workflow

As the real-time location of the workers is collected for analysis, the workflow of the factory can be optimized as enhancements could be made based on the personnel trajectory, spatial distribution, and duration of stay.  

  • Attendance Management

Also, the NFC available allows Minew’s beacons to manage the attendance of every worker, so as to get to know the arriving and leaving time of the worker for personnel management.

To ensure the health and safety of employees and visitors, the demand for safe return-to-work solutions is rapidly increasing in enterprises and government agencies around the world. Minew provides the BLE beacons to empower the relevant solutions, joins, and even leads the IoT trend of the smart factory in industry 4.0. After having assisted our partners to get through the COVID-19, Minew continues to explore more possibilities for personnel management with future proof.

Editor: Sheila
Reviewer: Rosa