Manage “next normal” in manufacturing plants with Siemens

SIMATIC Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS) and Xcelerator portfolio can simulate employee exposure risks and optimize workplace layouts for safety and productivity in a plant.

(Source: Siemens)

COVID-19 pandemic is still haunting the world. During this crisis, manufacturers, who have restarted operations or looking for resilience, are facing new challenges that have surfaced as ‘new normal’ work practices are being set up at the plants. These challenges include employee safety, modeling their interaction with each other, establishing production environments, and workflows that address physical distancing requirements.

Siemens is offering a software and hardware combo to work under these unaccustomed circumstances. Siemens’ SIMATIC Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS) and Xcelerator portfolio help organizations build end-to-end digital twin, simulate worker safety, iterate on and optimize workspace layouts and validate safety and efficiency measures to create a safe work environment. RTLS is like a missing piece of a digital twin that tells real time location of assets, tools, people, and in-process inventory in a plant.

Tony Hemmelgarn, President and CEO of Siemens Digital Industries Software, says, “The combination of real time distancing management and digital simulations will help companies maintain safe work environments today and make educated decisions about ongoing and long-term optimization.”

Siemens’ SIMATIC RTLS transponders are embedded in badges that are worn as personal protective equipment by all employees of the facility. RTLS receivers placed throughout the facility can then continuously track and record workforce movement. High accuracy ultra-wide-band (UWB) radio signals can map the location of the transponders at any given moment. When two employees are in a risk scenario (e.g., less than six feet apart), their badges will display a warning, alerting them to maintain a safe distance. The data collected over time can be analyzed to identify “hot spots” where risk scenarios occur frequently. Siemens’ Tecnomatix Process Simulate and Plant Simulation software help in creating a digital twin of the facility. The collected data helps in further simulation and the results can be implemented in the physical operation.

If an unfortunate condition occurs at the facility and an employee gets infected, then an application like Siemens’ Trusted Traceability Application on MindSphere helps in contact tracing. All movement and contact with the affected employee can be visualized, then notifying those who came into close contact and enabling selective (rather than site-wide) deep cleaning of exposed physical environments.

Raj Batra, President of Digital Industries for Siemens USA, said, “Siemens is providing a powerful, rapidly deployable solution that helps manufacturers take control of their operations and achieve better safety, productivity and cost outcomes today and in the post-COVID era. Our solution consists of proven technologies that can begin delivering results for most manufacturers in one to two weeks.”