In order to quickly respond to what is happening in a warehouse or a production hall, it is necessary to identify the problem first. A real time location system (RTLS) is a location-based technology that works with wireless tags. It shows the actual flow of goods, semi-products, and personnel.
The efficiency of RTLS is checked in the so-called choke points, i.e. entry and exit points. The system allows you to specify the direction of movement of goods and people and determine whether they are outside or inside a given area. There is also the possibility of locating „by association.” When using this solution, the location of the tag is determined by indicating its proximity to another object.
RTLS is essentially a set of elements among which crucial are active tags: sensors mounted on fixed components indoors. Their task is to collect location data, carry out analyzes and present it to the user by properly prepared information systems.
The application area is huge, among others, in production, warehousing and logistics, and trade”- says Piotr Bogucki (Lean Technology).
In order for the system to work reliably, one must first determine the most important parameters: the geometry of the observed area and the presence of tracked objects (each object receives a tag that will allow the system to record its movement). With this data, the system records the actions and interactions between an object and others elements existing in a given area. The use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is of great benefit. Tthe use of barcode or RFID technology makes it possible to track practically unlimited quantities of even the smallest products.
RTLS tags have a built-in, configurable memory. Thanks to the information collected automatically, you can create a three-dimensional visualization that allows you to track the movement of selected elements, or inform about a possible collision with other devices using appropriate alarm systems.
How does it work in logistics?
For example, internal transport means are equipped with location sensors. To identify them, elements locating the sensors are mounted on on the walls and posts. The data can be displayed on the monitor, tablet or smartphone.
Thanks to the RTLS system, safety can be significantly improved by slowing down the means of transport even to a complete stop in the event of a pedestrian or other object appearing on its path. You can also easily navigate the vehicle to reach its destination as soon as possible. The starter kit enables the RTLS system to be implemented in virtually any environment. Then, you can expand the infrastructure – both increasing the coverage area of the network and the monitoring system that can be combined with the systems operating in a given company” – emphasizes Bogucki.
One of the biggest forwarding companies created their system of locating transport means on the basis of RTLS. The system supported a distribution center totaling 13.5 thousand square meters and serving about 3 thousand loads daily. The RTLS system was integrated with video surveillance of about 160 cameras, nearly 20 forklift trucks and 140 supervised entry gates. Barcode scanners were also equipped with RTSL tags, so they could be quickly localized. Knowing the position of the reader at the time of reading the code is very important because it tracks a given parcel, improving the operation of video monitoring.