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Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons have become a valuable technology for adding location tracking capabilities to your hazardous areas. With the right planning and configuration, BLE beacons can provide accurate indoor and outdoor location. This allows organisations to cost-effectively add location tracking of personnel and assets whilst reducing the total cost of ownership.  This article provides practical guidance on deploying BLE beacons to achieve optimal tracking performance. It covers indoor and outdoor setup considerations, best practices for beacon placement, and configuration tips for maximizing location accuracy.  What is the difference between a beacon and anchor?  For trilateration purposes it is recommended to use beacons. A beacon is simply a term used to describe a fixed beacon that is contributing to a tag’s position. An anchor is typically the term used when discussing Wirepas Mesh networks.   […]

Assets, such as equipment and vehicles, are the pillar of many businesses, and tracking asset-specific metrics is a crucial element of efficiency, productivity, and cost management. Asset tracking systems can help you gain better visibility of equipment in general, as well as ensuring that they are being used effectively. Traditionally, asset tracking systems were manually logged on spreadsheets. This left room for human error and meant spreadsheets needed to be constantly updated. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of asset tracking systems that are fully automated and how they work, and how they can seamlessly integrate into your workflow. What is an Asset Tracking System? An asset tracking system is placed on high-value assets such as tools, mobile equipment, portable storage racks, and vehicles. These tags offer asset visibility by sending short bursts […]

Ultra-high radiofrequency identification – often abbreviated to UHF RFID – is an increasingly popular technology for asset management applications. UHF is one of the fastest growing RFID technologies and operates in the frequency band from 300 MHz to 3 GHz. This subsequently poses a range of choices to prospective end users including active versus passive UHF RFID, fixed or portable tag readers, conventional PDAs versus modern smart devices, and so on. This post is designed to provide some clarity for those considering a new, fully integrated asset management solution suitable for the age of process digitalization. Here we will explore how a handheld UHF RFID tag reader coupled with passive RFID tags can help you streamline critical business processes. Fixed Vs. Portable UHF Tag Readers The obvious and most pertinent difference between a fixed and […]

Born of a need for automatic product reading at the point of sale in retail environments, barcodes have become an integral means of rapid asset identification across a wide industrial spectrum. Process engineers in oil and gas industries use barcoding to effectively manage inventory equipment. Chemical inventory barcodes allow users to identify container contents without risk of human error. Barcoding is even being used in conjunction with blockchain to combat ethical and traceability issues in the mining industry. Mobile barcoding can help companies in each of these segments improve efficiencies and maintain a competitive edge in increasingly digitized marketplaces. Unlocking the full potential of this technological transition requires workforces to be equipped with high-efficiency mobility solutions like Bluetooth barcode scanners. What is a Bluetooth Barcode Scanner? A Bluetooth barcode scanner is a mobile barcoding solution […]

Radiofrequency identification (RFID) is a powerful tool for asset tracking and inventory management. It is extremely efficient and fairly simple to implement, making it one of the go-to solutions for automatic identification and data capture (Auto-ID) systems. You simply tag assets with small radio transponders which are encoded with identifying inventory numbers, and read these digital fingerprints using dedicated RFID tag readers. Whitepaper Download: Do Passive RFID Tags need Hazardous Area Certification? Introducing UHF RFID Tag Readers RFID tags are typically classified as either active or passive, referring to whether or not they contain an on-board power source. They can also be distinguished by their operating frequencies. Low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF), and ultra-high frequency (UHF) radio signals can all be utilised by RFID systems, covering a nominal range from around 125 kilohertz (KHz) […]

The safety of workers, whilst always important, is moving higher up the list of priorities for investment. Workers in process industry environments face a variety of risks over and above their counterparts in other industries. ‘Hazards of the job’ are that much more serious, with a higher potential risk. Falling objects, exposure to dangerous substances, fire, and explosion of flammable gas and dust are potential threats and whilst large-scale disasters are thankfully rare, they still occur. It is unlikely that any one location technology ticks all of your boxes, and there is no silver bullet. Hybrid location technology is the only practical solution to the complexities of the use cases in the process industries. It involves using two or more location technologies as part of the same solution: To deliver wider coverage with reduced infrastructure […]

This article aims to show the advantages of using RFID tags for asset management or in hazardous process industry settings compared to more traditional barcode solutions. Uses of RFID Tags and Barcodes in Hazardous Areas Radio signals are potential causes of explosions in hazardous areas. As such, the use of Radio Frequency Identification, known as RFID, needs to be carefully considered. Versatile and low cost, passive RFID systems can improve efficiency, reduce downtime, and aid productivity. These systems have proven valuable to industrial companies, helping with asset and personnel tracking, inventory management, maintenance planning, and more. As such, they are becoming more and more commonly found in hazardous areas. This rise in popularity is reflected in the updated IEC 60079-14 standard. In June 2014, a new clause concerning RFID tags was added and has potential […]

Received signal strength indication (RSSI) location principle uses received signal strength to determine the location of the transmitting device. A wireless device sends a signal out and that signal is received by a gateway or access point. Multiple access points will pick up the signal and from that a received signal strength is determined by each access point. The further away the access point to the transmitting device the weaker the signal. In comparison, the closer the transmitting device is to an access point the stronger the received signal strength. Location is determined by receiving the signal from multiple access points and taking the different measurements to make an approximation of location by trilateration. The approximate location can then be positioned on a map. For example, an asset or a worker wearing a Wi-Fi RTLS […]

John Hartley, CEO of Extronics, talks about the next generation of site wide Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) using hybrid technology for improved worker safety and asset tracking. Why is location tracking important for worker safety? The safety of workers, whilst always important, is moving higher up the list of priorities for investment. Companies operating within the process industries are always looking to ensure their workers are safe whilst making sure they are getting the biggest ROI possible. Back in 2005, when the first intrinsically safe Active RFID Wi-Fi RTLS tags were made, the goal of the oil and gas industry was to use technology to improve worker safety. This is still true today, though adoption has been slow for various reasons, such as the maturity of available technology and concerns over costs and benefits. […]

Turnarounds on refineries and other process facilities can be a huge logistical headache. They typically cost significant sums of operational expense and can result in lost opportunity because of reduced production capacity while the facility is shut down. It is essential that turnarounds are managed efficiently to safeguard workers and ensure costs are tracked. If poorly executed, turnarounds can cause significant disruption after startup. This article describes an RTLS case study for a large petrochemical company turnaround project. Background A large petrochemical company were working with a management consultancy to ensure efficiency and profitability during their turnaround. Turnaround Requirements During the turnaround, the client had thousands of additional contractors on site – as well as their own workers. They wanted to locate everyone on the site to ensure safety, but also to monitor contractor invoicing […]

When considering a Real Time Location System (RTLS), it is important to address some of the most common business challenges. An RTLS monitors the location and status information of personnel and assets in real time, providing the latest business intelligence to inform everything from crisis decision-making to route planning and work schedules. It can often also integrate with existing solutions, such as access control and PAGA systems, as part of a site-wide IIoT connectivity program. This article aims to highlight some of the most important questions you should ask yourself when considering a RTLS for your harsh or hazardous environment. RTLS Business Challenges The business challenges associated with a RTLS can be divided into three main categories: Planning your RTLS Adoption Maintenance Planning your RTLS Choosing your technology or technologies is a big step and […]