Open and interoperable locating standard for the industry

Employee who operates a tablet © TRUMPF  

Real-time position data forms an important basis for industry 4.0 applications and is a central factor for process optimization in production. The integration of precise real-time position data in industrial applications offers multiple benefits, such as process transparency, potential for higher process efficiency and employee safety. The state of the art in industry are proprietary localization systems that are based on different technologies, come from different manufacturers, and are difficult or impossible to combine due to a lack of interoperability and flexibility. To overcome these problems, WZL is participating in various working groups to specify the open and interoperable standard omlox. omlox allows different industries to use a single infrastructure with different applications from different vendors. Since the same infrastructure is used, the total cost of ownership (TCO) is reduced, allowing easy integration of different applications.

In addition, WZL has experience in using wireless technologies that are otherwise primarily used for data transmission (e.g., 5G, LTE, Bluetooth, WiFi) for localization purposes in the manufacturing industry. Various industry projects have investigated the applicability of such approaches in comparison to standard localization technologies, such as ultra-wideband (UWB). It has been shown that LTE, for example, is a viable localization technology for seamless tracking outdoors and indoors. While its accuracy is not nearly as good as UWB, it has the advantage of being widely available outdoors. This enables accurate tracking of supply chains. Indoor accuracy is sufficient to determine the area of the plant floor where the tracked device is located. When high location update frequency and accuracy are required, the omlox standard enables the combination of different technologies, such as UWB and LTE, to take advantage of the strengths of both. omlox enables interoperability and flexibility for different tracking providers within one or more tracking zones. omlox achieves this through two core components: omlox hub and omlox core zone. The omlox hub enables interoperability and flexibility within multiple tracking zones, while the omlox core zone provides interoperability and flexibility within a single tracking zone.