Actualising Hybrid RTLS
The Synergy of Multiple Radio Technologies in Modern Material, Product, and Asset Tracking
In the ever-evolving landscape of logistics and manufacturing, the demand for precision, speed, and efficiency has led to the integration of cutting-edge technologies. One such transformative solution is the seamless and successful implementation of a Hybrid Real-Time Location System (RTLS). This system utilizes a combination of radio technologies such as Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), Ultra-Wideband (UWB), and Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies, creating a comprehensive approach to asset tracking both indoors and outdoors.
Each technology outshines in the respective environments they were designed. While GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) delivers precise outdoor tracking for monitoring large-scale asset movements in expansive outdoor environments, GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) complements GNSS providing connectivity in areas with weak or obstructed satellite signals—ideal for tracking assets in urban settings. UWB (Ultra-Wideband) technology excels in indoor tracking, offering pinpoint accuracy within confined spaces, making it suitable for monitoring assets, products, and materials in warehouses and manufacturing plants. RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) tags are employed for granular tracking of individual products and materials throughout production and order fulfillment processes.
The integration of GNSS and GSM technologies enables real-time tracking of fleets and vehicles across vast outdoor areas, optimizing route planning, ensuring timely deliveries, and improving security. In case the vehicles are out of data transfer coverage, the trackers store the positioning data and forward once the vehicle gets back in the grid. The assets, products, and materials transported by the vehicles have the option to auto-check in and check out the vehicle using the same tracking radio used indoors. This data will also be coupled with the vehicle’s position data transmitted, changing the location information from the vehicle to what it carries.
Ultra-wide Band (UWB) comes into play when assets, products, and materials move indoors. It provides precise location data within confined spaces, enabling efficient inventory management, timely customer order management, and reducing the risk of misplaced items. As part of the seamless transfer of positioning technologies between indoors and outdoors, Noccela UWB anchors will also use BLE positioning outside the range of UWB. The mechanism also substantiates the hybrid system to be power- and cost-efficient.
Additionally, hybrid RTLS sometimes incorporates RFID technology for labeling tens of thousands of bales or pallets stacked in large warehouses or manufacturing plants. Forklifts equipped with high-precision UWB technology utilize RFID readers to scan the RFID labels on the carried bales and pallets, enabling indirect real-time tracking with UWB’s high accuracy.
Seamless Data Integration
The true power of this hybrid RTLS system lies in its ability to seamlessly integrate data from diverse sources into reporting systems. As assets move through the order process, the system automatically generates data on material movements. This includes the real-time location of fleets, assets, materials, and products with detailed information on their statuses, and operational progress. The integration of these technologies ensures that the order process becomes a well-oiled machine. Operators can access real-time data on the status and location of assets, leading to more informed decision-making. This not only enhances operational efficiency but also minimizes delays and errors throughout the supply chain.
This holistic hybrid RTLS approach to tracking, both indoors and outdoors, revolutionizes the way we manage assets, streamline processes, and ensure the smooth flow of materials from production to delivery. As industries continue to embrace these advancements, the future of logistics and manufacturing looks increasingly seamless and interconnected.
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