Siemens workplace distancing solutions help manage new norm for manufacturing
June 8, 2020
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June 8, 2020 – Combining hardware and software, Siemens says it has created a solution that enables manufacturers to model how employees interact with each other, the production line and plant design. This solution also enables organizations to build an end-to-end digital twin to “simulate worker safety, iterate on and optimize workspace layouts, and validate safety and efficiency measures to help future-proof production lines”.
“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,” said Tony Hemmelgarn, president & CEO of Siemens Digital Industries Software.
With Siemens’ Simatic real-time locating systems (RTLS), companies can continuously measure distances between workers, provide visual feedback to employees regarding their spacing from others, and create a log of all movements and interactions over time.
Combining Siemens’ Simatic RTLS with a digital twin of the actual manufacturing environment permits companies to model and simulate how employees interact with the equipment and each other, enabling them to iterate and optimize safety and productivity in the short term, and validate a redesign of the entire operation before any physical changes are made.
To implement the solution, Simatic RTLS transponders are embedded in badges worn by all employees. RTLS receivers placed throughout the operation can then continuously track and record workforce movement. When two employees are in a risk scenario (e.g. fewer than 6 feet apart), their badges will display a warning, alerting them to the situation. The data collected over time can be analyzed to identify these hot spots.
Such situations become actionable via the digital twin, which is facilitated by Tecnomatix Process Simulate and Plant Simulation software. Utilizing the collected data, new manufacturing layouts or workflows can be simulated until one is determined to provide the desired outcomes, which can then be implemented in the physical operation.
Beyond this, manufacturers can add traceability to the solution through Siemens’ on-premise solutions or an application such as Siemens’ Trusted Traceability Application on MindSphere, the cloud-based, open IoT operating system from Siemens, which helps enable contact analysis in the unfortunate event of an actual workplace illness. All movement and contact with the affected employee can be visualized, enabling rapid notification of those who came into close contact and selective (rather than site-wide) deep cleaning of exposed physical environments.