K-RTLS from Kathrein Solutions presents innovative features!
Kathrein Solutions has developed an RTLS with high performance and numerous features for partners and customers. The RTLS, consisting of three components, enables users to achieve unprecedented transparency of business processes.
Martin Dobler and Patrick Hartmann from Kathrein Solutions explain to RFID & Wireless IoT Global how users benefit from granular object information.
“If customers want to use new infrastructures such as LPWAN or 5G in their applications, this implementation is possible. Our long-term vision is to be able to offer a transponder that can cover all use cases in this environment.”
K-RTLS consists of three components
With a localisation accuracy of less than 30 centimeters and a robust and compact housing, the transponders can be used even in environments with strong reflections. An innovative mounting concept allows dynamic changes between flexible and fixed mounting.
The compact nodes can easily be supplied with power and a network connection via PoE. Thanks to an internal 2.4 GHz radio network for data transfer, only about 25 percent of the installed nodes need to be connected via cable.
The CrossTalk IoT Suite can be used for the extensive configuration and operation of K-RTLS. Preconfigured tracking scenarios allow easy and effective transfer of tracking events to existing IT systems.
Mr. Dobler, what distinguishes the new K-RTLS from Kathrein Solutions?
In addition to the decision to use UWB as wireless technology, Kathrein Solutions has decided to develop and manufacture the transponders and nodes for the K-RTLS completely in-house. For example, we had our own injection moulding tool manufactured. The transponder is IP67- rated for use in harsh industrial environments.
Our development makes it possible to use different adapter plates which the transponder snaps into. This gives the customer complete freedom when marking objects. If the user has their own capacities for additive production, they can also easily manufacture the required adapter plates in-house. We provide CAD files of the basic module for this purpose.
What are the technological features of the transponders?
A UHF and NFC tag are integrated directly onto the transponder board and connected to the microcontroller. The RFID interfaces can perform various functions in an RTLS application. If required, the transponder can be put into sleep mode via UHF.
This increases battery life when the transponder is not in use or during temporary storage. This function is of interest for the management of large fleets, where complete UWB illumination is not required on the premises.
Even without the energysaving option, the battery can have a service life of five years at 1,000 localisation events per day.
What do the in-house developed nodes contribute to the K-RTLS?
Despite a slim installation, they can deliver the best possible acquisition results. The nodes can communicate with each other in their own radio backbone network. The advantage for the user is that only about 25 percent of the nodes in the field must have a connection to the corporate LAN.
For indoor solutions, a node should be installed at least every 40 meters in order to achieve optimum localisation accuracy.
In industrial environments with metal, reinforced concrete, and other massive obstacles in the vicinity, we were able to carry out measurements with our test customers and achieve localisation accuracies of up to ten centimeters.
Mr. Hartmann, what are the advantages of using Crosstalk as a software infrastructure for K-RTLS?
There are two variants for the use of Crosstalk. Firstly, the IoT suite acts exclusively as a device management platform. Then Crosstalk takes over the configuration of the hardware used, enables mapping together with a hall layout, and transfers tracking events to downstream systems such as SAP.
As a second variant, it is possible to implement a tracking application based on Device Management with Crosstalk.
If the customer does not have a control process for monitoring specific processes, this gap can be closed with Crosstalk. Of course, it is also possible to use your own software applications. The hardware interfaces of K-RTLS are open for this.
What further developments are planned for the K-RTLS in the future?
Several temperature sensors are already installed in the transponder, as are a 3D accelerometer and a sensor for detecting vibrations. We are curious to see what ideas partners and customers will come up with to integrate further sensor features.
Since the transponders are developed and produced 100% in-house by Kathrein, we are able to react very quickly to specific customer requirements and produce individualised transponders.