Siemens buys firm to make collaborative mobile robots safer

Posted on 5 Apr 2018 by Jonny Williamson

Siemens has taken over ownership of the leading supplier of industrial Real-Time Locating Systems (RTLS) focusing on applications in production and enabling efficient use of collaborative mobile robots.

Siemens has taken over ownership of a supplier of industrial RTLS focusing on applications enabling efficient use of mobile robots – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

The German company Agilion, based in Chemnitz, is recognised as a pioneer in the field of RTLS in the Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) frequency spectrum.

This technology enables highly precise localisation within a range of just a few centimetres, tracking of many different assets, and exceptionally easy commissioning.

The precise real-time localisation of assets such as tools or vehicles will enable manufacturers to optimise their production and logistics processes and so improve their quality, productivity and flexibility.

Herbert Wegeman, head of the Industrial Communication and Identification business segment, said: “By acquiring Agilion, we’ll be in a position to also offer real-time locating solutions straight away.

“This represents a significant addition to our extensive offering in the field of industrial identification and so to our Digital Enterprise portfolio.

“RTLS is an essential key technology and a new step on the road towards flexible automation in production, for instance by providing dynamic self-organising production concepts in the assembly of large-scale products. Real-time locating also enables the safe, efficient use of collaborative mobile robots.”

Andreas Werner, one of Agilion’s directors, said: “For Agilion, this takeover is the ideal step towards the rollout of efficient and highprecision RTLS solutions on a large scale.

“Together we’ll be able to assume a leading position in the market for flexible automation solutions, by linking the RTLS expertise developed by Agilion with the strengths of Siemens in the field of digitalization and automation.”

Precise monitoring of the production process

Uses for RTLS include a wide range of applications in complex environments, used in a manufacturing scenario, for instance, it enables precise monitoring of the production process and a transparent material flow.

Real-time data made available using RTLS about the location and status of assets forms the basis for networking involved players and logistical processes along the value chain.

This allows users to continuously and automatically compare the position of every production asset with the 3D model of the product or production environment.

Evaluation and combination of this ‘digital twin’ with other information – for instance using apps in the open IoT operating system MindSphere – permit dynamic optimization of production and logistics processes.

Reduction of risk errors

As a result, processes can be more efficiently controlled, downtimes minimised and the risk of errors reduced. RTLS also provides the foundation for totally new workflows in production, material flow control and logistics, for instance in conjunction with Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs) or mobile robots.

Reference projects completed for renowned industrial clients around the world testify to the efficiency and maturity of the Agilion locating system.

With its workforce of around 60, Agilion is a global technology leader in the field of enterprise wireless location solutions for industry and public transport networks in the application fields Industrial Supply Chain Tracking, Vehicle Tracking and People Tracking.

With about 150 installations in more than 20 countries, Agilion has been providing support to all sectors of industry for over 10 years with process optimization and efficient enterprise control based on RTLS real-time locating solutions.

Agilion will be integrated into the Process Industries and Drives Division’s industrial communication and identification business.

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