Industrial Asset Tracking with RTLS

As the largest contributor to a manufacture’s balance sheet, capital equipment and material offer the largest return for utilization efficiency. 

Misplaced inventory, idle fork trucks and scheduling interruptions all contribute to overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). Smooth production and distribution requires a carefully managed choreography of the people, equipment and materials that make up industrial processes.


The continued scaling of industrial operations, including the expanding range of critical assets, means that it’s vital to manage equipment allocation and accurately track assets in real time. Industrial asset management using a real time locating system (RTLS) is an excellent way to gain oversight of all critical assets and ensure their efficient use to optimize operations.

The importance of accurate industrial asset tracking and management

Industrial equipment management is the cornerstone of cohesive manufacturing processes. Having the right tools and equipment in the right place at the right time will reduce lead times and increase operational efficiency. This is a challenge for many companies due to the increasing number of assets and expansive nature of warehouse and factory settings. It’s common for industrial equipment to be underutilized and misplaced when a solid structure of asset management isn’t in place.


Many of the assets used in industrial settings are also in need of regular maintenance and repair. Keeping on top of the necessary inspections, predictive maintenance and repairs of powered and non-powered assets can be a timely and challenging task. Not only does every asset need to be managed, but their maintenance must be logistically planned to avoid disruption to operations.

AiRISTA asset tags

With an RTLS solution, you can centralize all tracked items using a critical asset inventory management system. This allows you to establish real time asset distribution and location tracking to identify the most important areas of use for various pieces of equipment. You can also plan and implement preventive maintenance schedules that optimize use of equipment while minimizing the impact on productivity due to equipment failure.

Example case: Efficient utilization of expensive test harnesses

An aircraft engine manufacturer overbuys test equipment to ensure test harnesses are on hand when needed. By installing RTLS tags under the foam padding in the equipment case, the path of the case is traced over time. Analysis of the paths and utilization rates allowed process improvements and reduction of excess equipment. Misplaced equipment could be located and called up at a moment’s notice. Motion sensors detect equipment in use and provide insight into utilization rates. Associating calibration dates with each piece of equipment helps drive maintenance schedules and align calibration with utilization rather than calendar dates.

Benefits of RTLS Asset Tracking

What are the benefits of RFID asset tracking in the manufacturing industry?

Critical asset inventory management is made much simpler with the implementation of RFID tag tracking solutions. An RFID asset tracking system allows you to digitally label each individual item in your asset inventory using a unique identifier. This means that workers don’t simply use “a forklift” — they use “forklift J”. And let’s not forget, the same technology can also be used to manage stock inventory.

The advantages of specific digital identification for each industrial asset or stock item stretch beyond simply their inventory, maintenance and allocation, though. Using tags that combine RFID with Wi-Fi or BLE results in an accurate location tracking system that prevents the loss or misplacement of a valuable asset. Each tag can be called up from the centralized system to provide an accurate real time location within one meter.

An image of an automobile assembly plant
Example case: Returning a missing chassis to the production line

Several times a day, an auto manufacturer pulls white bodies from the production line (a white body is a car chassis before it’s painted). These white bodies are set aside for quality assurance (QA) or rework. When holding areas are overrun, the chassises are rolled to other areas to get them out of the way, often to low traffic areas where the chassis can be forgotten. When the paint shop calls up a particular chassis, they need to find it quickly and return it to the line. If not recovered, the chassis is eventually scrapped, representing a write down of several thousands of dollars per instance. 

Placing a Wi-Fi tag (with additional BLE radio for other use cases) on the white body, allows production to locate the specific missing chassis instantaneously for reinsertion before paint. It also allows an alert to be triggered if the chassis sits idle for an extended period, thanks to a motion sensor in the tag, encouraging proactive retrieval.

AiRISTA - RTLS Experts in Industrial Asset Tracking

Industrial RTLS asset tracking solutions with AiRISTA
AiRISTA wireless infrastructure

AiRISTA takes a technology agnostic approach to industrial asset management, matching the right technology to the use case at a cost that provides a definable return on investment (ROI). We combine passive RFID with active RTLS solutions like Wi-Fi and BLE with integrated tags, finding the right balance to achieve process efficiency at a price that makes sense for your business.

Our solutions can leverage the Wi-Fi already in place, making infrastructure establishment quicker and simpler. For localized areas requiring higher levels of accuracy, BLE and passive RFID can be used to complement Wi-Fi. We also offer solutions that use GPS asset tracking for real time locations while outdoors. Location can be displayed on a variety of smart mobile devices to enable proactive IoT asset tracking and bring response to the production floor.

Example case: Automating inventory accounting in laydown yard

Power utility maintains line equipment in laydown yards. Traditionally, paper-based systems have been used, but this approach led to errors. Line workers arrive to find material misplaced or missing. Using combination BLE and GPS tags coupled with BLE5.0 readers mounted to the side of the building, GPS coordinates are relayed over BLE. This gives an instantaneous accounting of inventory and location. With motion sensing, the tags sleep until motion is detected — saving battery life or alerting to possible theft if off hours.

See what AiRISTA can do for you

AiRISTA offers RTLS solutions that can be tailored to accommodate any budget or industrial facility. Our specially designed system for RTLS solution management is adaptable to fulfill the specific needs and requirements of your industrial operations. We pride ourselves on ensuring that our services will tackle your challenges and pain points through a flexible, creative approach to problem solving, which all starts with a discovery session to help us understand exactly what you’re aiming to achieve.

Learn more about what AiRISTA can do for you by booking a no-obligation, free demo of our solution today.