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Real-time location system helps ensure safe plant distancing

09 July, 2020

Siemens has developed a combination of hardware and software that can monitor where people and items are located in a plant, thus helping to ensure social distancing as well as improving productivity. The Simatic Real-time Locating Systems (RTLS) uses a built-in digital twin to simulate the safety of employees, to test and optimise the set-up of work areas, and to validate safety measures.

The system allows companies to measure, monitor and maintain social distancing between their employees. The personnel wear transponders that interact with infrastructure devices to track their movements.

A software package called SieTrace processes the location data from the transponders and determines the distances between employees. If this distance falls below a preset value, warnings are sent to the people involved via a display on their transponders. As well as implementing social distancing continuously, the system can also be used to identify rapidly any employees who are in risky situations.

Siemens' real-time location system can help to ensure social distancing in factories

The real-time data can be combined with a digital twin of the production environment. If, for example, an employee contracts Covid-19, their employer can then determine any possible interactions they may have had with other workers. Any potentially risky areas can be identified, and safety measures implemented quickly in just those areas, avoiding the need for costly hygiene measures across the entire site.

The location data can also be used in other applications. The intelligence acquired for the digital twin offers an overview of material flows, orders and possible problem areas. Time-consuming searches can be minimised and bottlenecks avoided, while throughput and efficiency can be increased.

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