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RTLS in Aerospace Manufacturing
 

RTLS in Aerospace Manufacturing

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Presentation on RTLS (Real Time Location Systems) in Aerospace Manufacturing, which I gave at the RFID Journal Live show, in Orlando in April 2010.

Presentation on RTLS (Real Time Location Systems) in Aerospace Manufacturing, which I gave at the RFID Journal Live show, in Orlando in April 2010.

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  • Final assembly
  • Wing manufacturing
  • May or may not have good infrastructure (power and network) in all locations
  • Tools often expensiveLast known location often good enoughBasic requirement is to find a toolSets of tools may need to be kept togetherAlso requirements that certain tools should be restricted to/from certain areas (e.g. right wing)Potentially indoor, outdoor, storage containers, in transit
  • Often location implies stage in processWant ability to define areas with entry and exit eventsAction may depend on more than just location (could pass through same location multiple times, action depends on previous steps)Sometimes track associated paperworkPotentially indoor, outdoor, in transit
  • Major value in this in coordinating distributing manufacturingVisibility across multiple plantsProduction integration“VIP” – visible industrial process (do we use this term?)
  • Automated setting of tool configuration (e.g. torque settings) based on location of tool and assemblyConfirmation that correct tool operations carried outMore common in auto but applicable to aero
  • Inside wings or other assembliesIn outdoor test areas – stray items likely to be stored in nearby containers
  • Less flexibility to change workflowsOften limitations on location of infrastructure on the building floorLess applicable to applications like tool tracking
  • Good balance of high accuracy with relatively low infrastructureVery flexible for granular workflow trackingSame infrastructure applicable for tool tracking, control, etcTypical accuracy ~1ft, depends on environment
  • TDOA only versus AOA optionSeparate communications channel (for tool control and feedback, varying tag update rates, etc)Characteristics of tags – form factor, battery life, etcIntrinsically safe required?Integration with other technologies – presence, GPS, etcSoftware platform and applications
  • Useful for areas where low precision location is acceptableGood for FOD within wings and other assemblies (other RF e.g. 2.4GHz better than UWB for penetration through metal)Good for storage containers
  • All options already discussed apply in various casesGPS is a useful addition for some use cases, especially for larger areas (don’t need infrastructure)Need last known location for GPS (aircraft shadow, metal containers etc)
  • Common tag with UWB, presence, GPS very useful for full cycle of applicationsCommon infrastructure / software platformControl channel important for switching modes

RTLS in Aerospace Manufacturing RTLS in Aerospace Manufacturing Presentation Transcript

  • RTLS in Aerospace Manufacturing
    Peter Batty and Russ Chandler
  • Overview
    Environments
    Use cases
    Technology challenges and approaches
    All images are from public Internet sites and are intended to be general indications of typical aerospace environments: they are not showing or implying any specific projects or customers.
  • Environments
  • Photo by jeffmcneill - http://flic.kr/p/6Fw3cd
    Manufacturing / Assembly
  • Manufacturing / Assembly
    Photo provided by Boeing, via blog.seattlepi.com
  • Outdoors
    Image from Bing Maps
  • Storage containers
  • In transit
    Photo by yui.kubo - http://flic.kr/p/DkT7w
  • Use cases
  • Tracking tools
    Find tools
    Keep sets together
    Restrict to areas
    Photo provided by Boeing, via blog.seattlepi.com
  • Tracking assemblies / components
    Location often implies process stage
    Track assets or paperwork
    Photo provided by Boeing, via blog.seattlepi.com
  • Tracking across multiple locations
    Distributed manufacturing
    Process visibility
  • Tool configuration
    Configure tool settings based on location
    Confirm operations carried out
    Image showing Atlas Copco tools from directindustry.com
  • FOD detection
    Foreign Object Debris / DamageInside wings or other assemblies
    Photo provided by Boeing, via blog.seattlepi.com
  • Technology challenges and approaches
  • Indoor location - RFID
    Suitable for some use cases
    Entrance and exit of assets
  • Indoor location - RFID
    Suitable for some use cases
    Entrance and exit of assets
    Applies to some process flows,
    but some limitations
    Less applicable to tool tracking
  • Indoor Location - RTLS
    Continuous location tracking
    Sparse infrastructure
    Very flexible
    Common infrastructure for multiple applications
    Ultra Wideband (UWB) most common approach
  • UWB considerations
    TDOA versus AOA
    Communications channel
    Tag density, range, update rate
    Tag form factors, battery life
    Intrinsic safety
    Presence
    GPS integration
    Software platform and applications
  • Indoor location - presence
    Low infrastructure, low location accuracy
    Fixed or mobile receivers
    FOD within wings etc
    Storage containers
  • Outdoor location
    Previous options applicable
    GPS a useful addition
    Need last known location
    More costly, power hungry
    Intrinsic safety
  • Multi-mode solutions
    Common tag with UWB, presence, GPS
    Common infrastructure / software platform
    Control channel important for switching modes
  • Summary
    Environments
    Applications
    Technology
    Indoor
    Outdoor
    Storage
    Transit
    Assets
    Tools
    Process
    Visibility
    RFID
    UWB
    Presence
    GPS
    Photo by jeffmcneill - http://flic.kr/p/6Fw3cd