Fire truck maker Morita deploys BLE-based IoT solution to track production in Japan
Japanese fire truck manufacturer Morita Group has deployed a Bluetooth-based IoT solution at a 57,000-square metre factory in Osaka, in Japan, to track the location and status of trucks as they are being built.
The solution, by Japanese firm Kokusai Kogyo, utilises Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) tags and locators from Finnish outfit Quuppa. These are fitted to the vehicles and the inside of the factory, respectively, to monitor location and progress as the trucks make their way between production bays.
The challenge for Morita Group is to manage the simultaneous production and flow several hundreds of customised fire trucks between manufacturing zones at the site, in Sanda City, in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture, north of Osaka. The plant produces 700 fire trucks each year, and has around 300 in production at any time.
“It is time-consuming to find how many trucks are in each area and identify and track each truck through the production phase… The system generates real-time data that can be monitored continuously. The employees are now able see how many trucks there are in a certain area and where they are,” said Quuppa.
The BLE solution gives the location of the fire trucks to within about one metre – “even in challenging environments with high ceilings and metal structures”.
Kokusai Kogyo installed around 70 BLE antennas (‘locators’) at the plant, suspended inside from ceilings and mounted outside on walls. A BLE beacon is fixed to the dashboard of each truck at the start of production. A traffic light system shows the progress of each vehicle against schedule on display screens in the facility.
“The solution has exceeded Morita’s expectations and helped their fire truck production run much more efficiently. The employees can now locate fire trucks easily as well as monitor and follow them from station to station. This allows them to predict potential delays in production,” said Quuppa.
Morita, which sells its fire trucks to customers in Asia, Europe, and North America, is looking to integrate on-site tracking for workers, as well as between its factories, and even with suppliers.