Time is not just critical in industry, but it forms the fine line between maximized profitability, throwing money away on ineffective processes and bottlenecks, and risks to the safety of personnel.
Find out how big league players Volkswagen, Budweiser and ENEL overcame this by introducing a real-time location system into their plants to increase the visibility of their production and logistic processes, remove costly bottlenecks, and boost their productivity and the safety of staff dramatically.
At Volkswagen Slovakia, producing five brands of car at their plant means that pinpointing the exact location, status of their fleet of forklifts and their trajectories is essential to ensuring that their fleet is fully utilized and their movement highly efficient.
By introducing Sewio’s ultra-wideband real-time location system (RTLS), Volkswagen Slovakia not only gained complete visibility of the current status and historical trajectories including spaghetti diagrams, heatmaps and the metrics of their forklift and AGV fleet but they were able to help drivers follow the optimum path and avoid bottlenecks, which helped to decrease the complete distance traveled among the fleet by 10%. Knowing where forklifts are and aren’t driving, loaded and unloaded, also revealed underutilized warehouse space. Using the following optimization, the warehouse area “has been expanded” by 20% without any construction, just through its improved utilization.
With the digitization of their hall, they have reached their goal to make their industry processes more effective through digital innovation, and by using an exact virtual model of the entire production area, they can also simulate process updates beforehand to visualize and avoid any potential pitfalls in the future.
The Beer Essentials
The name of Budweiser is synonymous with beer. In their brewery, they have 20,000 pallets of beer of two sizes in 360 variations serving 76 countries worldwide and 50 lorries leaving the plant daily. In order to fulfill orders globally, Budweiser needed a new real-time positioning system that minimized human error when working with such high levels of products and variations, while at the same time with low maintenance costs.
Equipping the 15 forklifts that serve the 15,000 m² warehouse with ultra-wideband (UWB) tags, using 70 receivers (anchors), Budweiser can now track the 20,000 pallets in real time with 30-cm accuracy. This means they can check that each driver collects the correct pallet, offloads it in the correct place, and can be redirected if they make a mistake. Replacing the RFID system with Sewio’s UWB-powered RTLS has led to a 24% increase of system uptime (now 99%) and a 19% increase in warehouse utilization. Plus, logistics managers now also have full metrics of daily attendance, distance covered and utilization of each forklift.
Industrial safety is a key criterion for companies these days, no more so than with Enel, a producer of green energy in 30 countries. At their San Giacomo hydroelectric plant, they need to know the number of people and vehicles present at all times. But with two kilometers of tunnels and additional internal areas, having the ability to facilitate emergency assistance quickly and accurately saves lives, averts further danger and avoids unauthorized access to restricted areas. Due to the size and frequently damp environment, as well as an average speed of moving vehicles of 30 km/h, this needed the areas and transit zones to be divided into micro-areas. Using a combination of UWB RTLS tags and RGB cameras, Enel can now identify the people and vehicles and their location in real time, and use the cameras to count the number of persons present, even if they are not wearing tags. This has resulted in an 81% reduction in unauthorized access to zones, easier and less error-prone attendance reporting and faster access to injured persons in case of an emergency.
Time Is on Your Side
Digitalization brings with it the reassurance that you have true visibility of your facilitates and the people, assets and vehicles within it. With highly accurate positioning, improved streamlining and staff safety at the forefront of your processes, the advantages of leveraging these technologies are great and the money saved is significant. Time need no longer be your enemy but your ally.