Siemens aids 'new normal' workplace distancing

July 6, 2020
Simatic Real Time Locating System with a digital twin can optimize workflows and employee movements with proper social distancing

To help manufacturers maintain employee safety in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Siemens has developed a unique workplace distancing solution that helps manufacturers simulate and manage employee exposure risks, while enabling productivity throughout their facilities. By integrating the company’s Simatic Real Time Locating System (RLTS) with a digital twin of the actual manufacturing environment, companies can optimize workflows and employee movements with proper social distancing as a constraint. Further, they can continuously measure distances between workers, provide real-time visual feedback to employees regarding their spacing from others, and create a log of all movements and interactions over time.

“We're helping our customers create a safe work environment, which is extremely important as they look to produce efficiently and reliably under unprecedented circumstances,” said Tony Hemmelgarn, president and CEO of Siemens Digital Industries Software. “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.”

To implement this solution, Siemens’ Simatic RTLS transponders are embedded in badges worn as personal protective equipment 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., less than six feet apart), their badges will display a warning, alerting them to the situation. The data collected over time can be analyzed to identify hot spots where risk scenarios occur frequently. Such situations become easily actionable via the digital twin, which is provided by Siemens’ 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.

“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,” said Raj Batra, president of Digital Industries for Siemens USA. “Our solution consists of proven technologies that can begin delivering results for most manufacturers in one to two weeks.”