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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Siemens buys Agilion for IIoT real time location

By Nick Flaherty

Siemens is continuing to drive consolidation in technology for the Industrial Internet of Things with the acquisition of German Real-Time Locating Systems (RTLS) specialist Agilion.

Agilion, based in Chemnitz, has 60 people and 150 installations in 20 countries. It develops and supplies industrial RTLS systems for production, logistics and maintenance using Ultra Wide Band (UWB) technology. This enables highly precise localization within a range of just a few centimeters, tracking of a large number of different assets with easy commissioning. The precise real-time localization of assets such as tools or vehicles will enable manufacturers to optimize their production and logistics processes and so improve their quality, productivity and flexibility.

"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," said Herbert Wegmann, Head of the Industrial Communication and Identification business segment. "RTLS is an essential key technology and a new step on the road towards flexible automation in production, for instance by providing dynamic self-organizing production concepts in the assembly of large-scale products. Real-time locating also enables the safe, efficient use of collaborative mobile robots."

"For Agilion, this takeover is the ideal step towards the rollout of efficient and high-precision RTLS solutions on a large scale," said Andreas Werner, one of Agilion's Directors. "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."

Uses for RTLS include a wide range of applications in complex environments. 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 – drives dynamic optimization of production and logistics processes. 

RTLS also provides the foundation for new workflows in production, material flow control and logisticsusng Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs) or mobile robots which has already been demonstrated with reference projects around the world.

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