Hardware For The IoT WIP Tracking (BLE Beacon Tags And Optional BLE Gateways)
You need the following components for the IoT WIP tracking using Bluetooth technology:
- Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons.
- A way to transfer BLE beacons data to the cloud. You can use either smartphones or dedicated Bluetooth IoT gateways.
- A cloud software that accepts and processes BLE beacons data and produces WIP tracking reports.
Using a smartphone for WIP tracking requires some involvement of the shop floor employees. They will need to use a WIP tracking mobile application
to scan BLE beacons, enter additional information if required, and submit data to the cloud. Depending on the specific function, a mobile application
will either scan all nearby BLE beacons (when you need to bulk move inventory between locations), or find a closest BLE beacon when you need to
access inventory, sub-assembly or assembly information or fill out a form.
With the dedicated Bluetooth gateways WIP tracking is done automatically without any human participation. However if / when you need to collect
additional data on the process or fill out mobile forms, a shop floor employee will need to get involved and do this using a smartphone.
Physically BLE beacon is a small lightweight plastic tag. It is round, square, or rectangular,
an inch or two in width and length, and around half an inch or less thick.
Bluetooth beacon tags do not require a line of sight to be scanned. You can put them inside boxes or containers, attach to the pallets,
or attach them directly to the components and assemblies.
QR Inventory software will work with the Bluetooth low energy beacon tags purchased from us
as well as with the Bluetooth tags purchased from the other vendors.
If you want to use Bluetooth gateways for the automatic tracking of the WIP inventory and manufacturing orders, you will need to install a
Bluetooth IoT gateway at each process station and in the
inventory staging areas. Bluetooth gateways will automatically pick up a signal from the BLE beacons that are coming in the range, and transmit
these data to the backend WIP tracking software for processing.