Indoor positioning system and proximity alarms for cranes

Most of the inquiries we receive for LIPS are related to indoor local positioning in warehouses, either tracking forklifts (or similar assets) or determining employee positions in real-time. Here is an example of one.

The warehouse problem

A really interesting inquiry we received was sent by an American company that was seeking a system that would permit detecting if workers on the ground plane of a factory are too near the crane - basically, an accurate proximity alarm.

You are probably familiar with those large and heavy steel coils. If you are not a regular visitor of steel factories, you have probably seen them lying around the train station or in some industrial area near you.

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Imagine working in a factory where these are regularly transported above your head. How hard is that helmet after all?

You can of course realize what problem needed to be solved here. A factory where such coils are transported near the workers' immediate vicinity should consider implementing a local indoor positioning system such as LIPS. A proximity sensor circuit is, therefore, used to assure worker safety.

The hardware infrastructure

In order to provide a proximity warning alert system based on our RTLS, we need to establish some infrastructure of detectors. Our wireless indoor positioning system consists of “anchors” (devices mounted on ceiling or walls, which only need power supply) and location tracking “tags” (devices given to persons or attached to moving objects, which are battery-powered). The positions of the tags can be read on the tags themselves, or at a central location using an additional device, i.e. "accesspoint". Our indoor positioning system also comes bundled with software - web-based software LIPS Cloud allows managing and storage of real-time locations in an online database (for later review – logs, statistics,…) as well as real-time visualization, configuration of anchors, export for customer-specific environments and more.

The solution

This is how we proposed tracking factory workers should be done using LIPS:

  • we suggested to mount some LIPS anchors in the factory environment where this concept was to be set up in order to make tracking possible, even on the crane itself:

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  • our proposed solution was to mount LIPS tags on workers' helmets in order to be able to track them accurately in real time,

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  • LIPS Cloud could be used to visualize workers' positions, thus we suggested that a tablet could be mounted in the crane cabin and alarms could be issued if proximity is detected:

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With such proposed solution, LIPS can be used to issue proximity alarms to the crane operator. If internet connectivity is an issue (and it may be, since this is a critical application), you can of course develop your own offline application without using LIPS Cloud and just obtain LIPS data from its APIs for this purpose instead.

Would you like to find out more about LIPS?

see LIPS webpage