How Indoor Positioning Technology Can Improve Efficiency in Manufacturing?

Increasing efficiency remains one of the main challenges for the manufacturing industry. It is a complex system with intertwined machines, people, and processes, where things often deviate from the planned. Ultra Wideband indoor positioning systems (IPS) can bring efficiency gains to the shop floor. Here are some ways how I see that manufacturing will benefit from this technology.


Keeping Track of Asset Utilization


IPS enables to give a real-time overview of how assets such as tools or machinery are used. This is critical for improving efficiency as managers can use this information to determine the optimal fleet size at specific output levels. By knowing where things are when they are needed, engineers can cut waste by removing search times.


Streamlining the production process


We recently wrote about how IPS can be used to streamline the production process. Processes in real life often deviate from how it was originally planned. IPS is the backbone of the real-time digital twin of manufacturing. Thus, it plays a critical role in preventing delays and production standstills. UWB accurate location data is key to eliminating bottlenecks and ensuring smooth operation at every stage of the production process.


Building Quality Control Systems


Manufacturing quality control relies heavily on the routine testing of end-products, checklists for operators, and having an overall quality assurance system in place. Even if faulty products are discovered before reaching the customer, these internal failure costs can be considerable. Human error is especially difficult to prevent. By utilizing IPS, quality control can be taken to new levels by building systems that determine, whether operators performed the right activities, in the right order, using the right inventory.


Indoor positioning systems present a range of new opportunities for increasing manufacturing efficiency. The technology is maturing quickly, and I expect to see more and more case studies in 2017, outlining real gains for companies that have deployed IPS.