The larger the company premises, the easier it is to lose something. This applies not only to consumables but also to movable assets. Depending on the company, these can be simple systems such as transport boxes, lift trucks or forklifts. Mobile processing centers or medical equipment such as respirators or similar can also be affected. In contrast to consumables, these items usually do not disappear completely from the site, but simply cannot be found directly.
One possible consequence is that equipment is purchased in larger quantities than would be necessary so that a device is always at hand when needed. However, this reduces the average machine utilization and ties up capital unnecessarily. However, the much more commonly used approach is that employees spend a noticeable amount of their time searching for items. This is not only unproductive but also has a long-term negative effect on motivation.
By using the Indoor Positioning System (IPS) from metraTec, such search times can be almost completely avoided. For this purpose, the individual assets are equipped with active transponders, so-called "beacons", which send out an individual identifier at a fixed time interval. By using state-of-the-art radio technology in the 2.4 GHz frequency range, the power consumption of these transmitters could be greatly reduced, so that the beacons can work with two batteries for up to eight years and therefore hardly require any additional maintenance.
The signals from these transmitters are received by the appropriate IPS receivers. These are mounted at strategic positions in the factory halls or business premises, e.g. at entrances and exits or the transitions between halls. The beacons have a range of up to 50 m so that even large areas can be covered with just a few devices and thus low infrastructure costs. If a more precise location is required, a few additional receivers can simply be installed in the affected area to achieve a better location resolution.
The signals received in this way are forwarded via the normal company network to software, which then calculates the positions of the individual objects and makes them available to the operator via a modern web interface. If a device is now being searched for, all you have to do is enter it in the search mask and its position on the company premises is immediately displayed on a map. At the same time, changes in movement can also be monitored automatically. A conceivable scenario would be that an alarm would be triggered if a device left a hall or if two objects were in the same area that could interfere with each other.