Tenaris has implemented a location-tracking technology inside its coupling manufacturing facility in Colombia that enhances safety and the logistics of crate movements.
The solution is a combination of existing technologies, Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), further engineered by Tenaris for a full integration with its existing system. UWB, used by major airlines and car companies, can track the location of an object with high precision, and in real-time, while the RFID technology uses radio waves to identify objects carrying encoded microchips.
The technologies work in sync with UWB tracking the movements of forklifts inside the plant, and RFID detecting the identification of the metal crates loaded with products ready to be processed.
The application, also equipped with a voice assistant, offers superior accuracy in indoor location tracking, detecting distances of increments of less than one-meter, outperforming GPS or Bluetooth.
Tenaris can track the product on a screen by name or order, and direct the forklift to the specified location. The use of the software also makes the operation safer, reducing the number of forklift trips, which can range up to 500 moves on a day with high loads, lessening the risk for accidents.
“We are continuously looking for ways to work more efficiently and integrating digital tools in our manufacturing facilities gives us the ability to optimize on many fronts,” said Alejandro Lammertyn, Tenaris Chief Digital & Information Officer. “This is a smart solution with incredible precision and clear benefits – improved safety, increased productivity and streamlined logistics.”
The implementation was a global effort with the engineering and technology developed in the US, the company’s team in Mexico developing its application, collaboration with the UWB vendor from the UK, and its execution carried out by Tenaris’s IT, operations, maintenance and automation experts in Colombia.