The kanban system is a well-known and proven method in industrial companies for easier control and supply of the material production flow. How to change the traditional process to a modern, more efficient and more reliable one? Via electronic Kanban.

e-Kanban replaces traditional paper cards and, thanks to RTLS, enables a wide scalability of tools: tracing of monitored objects, overview of their status and setting of alerts.

The technical structure of the system connects several functional blocks, which together monitor industrial buildings in accordance with the Industry 4.0 standards. The advantage is also the possibility of connection with the existing corporate ERP/MES system.

Advantages of e-Kanban vs. Kanban

  • Reduction of stock and lead time by up to 25%
  • Redirecting human resources to more speciality-oriented tasks
  • Better overview and full control over the production process in real time
  • Faster decisions, better planning and continuous process optimization
  • Increased product quality

Searching for production orders

Monitoring equipment using RTLS UWB technology is also used for following material flow in the production hall. Having clear material flows and respecting the lead time for orders are essential factors in successfully keeping to the production plan in every production plant. What is the actual reality? Do you spend too much time looking for material or part of a production order needed to complete an order? Does it ever happen that some material or an order is forgotten in WIP, thus extending the lead time?
The solution is an intelligent, smart system based on RTLS UWB technology which monitors in real time the status of any material, production order or individual pallet. The system follows automatically and continually the position of the monitored item and manages the further parameters needed to meet the necessary requirements for completing the given task. At the beginning of the process, the monitored items are defined (pallet, order, material), followed by the method (scanning a QR code, barcode, NFC, manual record) which allocates a unique localisation tag to the specific physical objects. This creates a unique connection in the system, ensuring complete control over the whole material flow online. The system can control the monitored equipment, and once connected to the production and information system, it can also enable further operations using the data.

The solution’s basic properties include functions implemented in the digital twin environment:

  • Monitoring the followed items in real time,
  • Searching for the monitored equipment in a 2D/3D layout,
  • Showing all active equipment in the layout,
  • Filtering of equipment in the search field according to predefined parameters (name, number, item etc.),
  • Addition, removal or transfer of equipment.
The mobile application serves to pair localisation tags using various imaging technologies. The application also enables you to work directly with the material, or with the virtual connection created between the tag and the chosen object. For example, the user can thus give instructions directly on the manual scanner with a screen concerning the handling (shift, deletion, new pairing) of items or the materials themselves without the need for access to a PC workstation. The applicable is modular and runs on certain versions of OS Apple and Android operating systems.

Some of the application’s advanced functions for searching for production orders include:

  • Monitoring the order’s lead time from the beginning of the pairing process until its physical or virtual removal,
  • Online notifications on whether the monitored item spends a longer time in the defined zones than the time defined by the user,
  • Warning if the localisation tag has a low battery before a new pairing,
  • Connection with third party control systems, allowing access to order numbers and their pairing with the localisation tag without the need to enter the number manually,
  • Routes of monitored items,
  • Support for virtual zones: each zone can have its own predefined properties such as maximum time, number of pieces of equipment in the zone etc.,
  • Control of the presence of localisation tags in certain zones, for example during the manual removal of localisation tags,
  • Fully automatic email reports and notifications,
  • Authentication and authorisation of access to the application.
The solution is fully modular and scalable, which means the RTLS system can be used to cover only those areas where the given item needs to be monitored, for example warehouses, workstations or work-in-progress stocks. The localisation tags can also be fixed to pallets or other transport objects, and the tags can be placed on the given object manually before the beginning of the process, and removed again at the end of the process.
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