Aviation Business News

The promise of data-driven intelligence

computer screens
photo_camera UWB RTLS data, combined with sensors, allows operators to monitor real-time equipment conditions, even in motion

Cris Masselle, Wiser Systems’ chief marketing officer, says only UWB RTLS intelligent tracking and positioning systems are capable of providing the accuracy and reliability needed in today’s hi-tech MRO sector

Ultrawide-band (UWB) Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) provide accurate and timely positioning and tracking data continuously, unlike last-known-scan solutions.

With UWB RTLS, even industries with cluttered, metal-filled environments can more accurately and reliably monitor assets and manage inventory and workflows with 100 per cent visibility.

The reliability and accuracy of the data generated is essential if the MRO industry is to benefit from the data-driven intelligence analytics and valuable insights promised by Industry 4.0. For this reason, identifying which RTLS system can best meet the accuracy and reliability data requirements for a facility or operation is of critical importance.

There are many kinds of RTLS systems on the market today, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, BLE, and RFID that operate well enough in settings like homes, offices, retail stores and health care facilities, but only UWB RTLS can deliver the data that consistently locates accurately and reliably in heavy industrial environments like MRO, even where there is often no direct line-of-sight to thousands of assets.

The significance of high-quality data in UWB RTLS extends to several areas, including process optimisation and data-driven decision-making. Process optimisation involves critical aspects such as production planning, capacity planning, identification of production bottlenecks, workforce optimisation and efficiency improvements.

On the other hand, data-driven decision-making relies on reliable data to assess rework history, determine total production costs, access real-time insights, drive production processes and ensure accurate parts location and assembly. These factors underscore the importance of good data quality in maximising operational performance and informed decision-making within the context of RTLS.

The combination of UWB RTLS and data analytics empowers MRO organisations to make informed decisions regarding resource allocation, equipment investments, maintenance planning and other critical areas. For instance, UWB RTLS data provides visibility into rework processes by tracking the number of times each lot must be reworked and the time taken for each process. This information aids in identifying areas for quality improvement, reducing rework and optimising production processes.

Additionally, having a comprehensive view of the time taken for each step, product type or lot allows organisations to calculate production costs. This facilitates better planning, pricing and investment decisions, optimising labour and capital costs. Continuous data collection by UWB RTLS systems also ensures there are no gaps in the data, even if a product goes off the production line or there are pauses in the process.

This uninterrupted data collection provides a holistic view of the production process, enabling organisations to make accurate and reliable decisions.

UWB RTLS data can be used to drive production transactions, such as delivering items to the production line or initiating inventory orders. Access to precise location information of parts minimises the chances of assembling the wrong components. It also aids in locating missing parts, catching errors in real-time and speeding up production.

Impact on Predictive Analytics and Machine Learning

Accurate and reliable data from UWB RTLS, combined with sensors and IoT (Internet of Things) devices enables real-time monitoring of equipment conditions, even in motion. By collecting data on variables such as vibration, temperature and performance metrics, organisations can benefit from proactive equipment failure prediction, optimise maintenance scheduling and process optimisation, enabling cost reduction, downtime optimisation and implementation of tailored maintenance strategies.

It is crucial to consider the implications of inaccurate location data in organisations. Erroneous real-time positioning and tracking data can lead to misleading analysis, resulting in flawed decision-making processes. This can have far-reaching impacts on productivity, profitability and customer satisfaction. Inaccuracy in location data can exacerbate errors and inefficiencies in operational processes, leading to reduced productivity and increased costs.

For example, one customer used UWB to prevent the waste associated with mis-channelled materials. Materials that were incorrectly channelled and processed in the wrong order were typically thrown away. Catching a part before it could be processed in the wrong order not only saved it but saved the cost of making its replacement as well as reducing material waste.

In addition, digital twin scenarios powered by RTLS data can seamlessly integrate location data information, sensor readings and operational data, giving operators the ability to visualise the facility and its assets and model alternative optimised workflow scenarios.

Obtaining precise UWB RTLS data for process improvements can be challenging due to variations in RTLS technologies and their performance under different conditions. It is essential for managers to thoroughly evaluate and test the accuracy and reliability of any RTLS system before making a purchasing decision.

For instance, consider the case of a customer who used active RFID to track machinery throughout the manufacturing process. Once the equipment left the production floor and was parked outdoors awaiting shipment, it could no longer be tracked. Consequently, it became lost among a multitude of other pieces of equipment in that area. Had the customer installed a seamless indoor-outdoor UWB mesh solution, they could have achieved 100 per cent coverage even in areas with too-high ceilings or no ceiling at all.

In another example, a customer who implemented a UWB system that required line-of-sight found that even the slightest reorganisation of the floorplan (moving a potted plant, for example) was detrimental to the point where the system was no longer reliable enough.

In summary, UWB RTLS offers high-quality real-time location data that serves as a crucial first step in enabling valuable insights, actionable intelligence and data-driven decision-making in industries such as MRO.

This feature was first published in MRO Management – June 2023. To read the magazine in full, click here.

Cris Masselle
Cris Masselle is chief marketing officer of Wiser Systems. For more information on real-time location and tracking systems, visit wisersystems.com

Sign In

Lost your password?