Exploring the Added-Value of Integrating Real-Time Location Systems for Tracking Critical Maintenance Tools

Peter Chemweno*, Brendan P. Sullivan, Georgios Bermperidis, Sebastian Thiede

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleAcademicpeer-review

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Searching and optimally locating maintenance tools is an important undertaking that influences productivity. The efficiency lost can be high for intensive maintenance processes, particularly in instances where technicians share critical (and expensive) tooling. Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) can serve as a feasible solution for minimizing travel and search times, by tagging tools, thereby dynamically tracking their spatial location real-time. Moreover, RTLS can be deployed alongside Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV's) thereby supporting smart material handling. In this paper, we propose a model for exploring the added value of implementing RTLS with AGV to better support maintenance processes in high-demand manufacturing and maintenance shop floors. The NetLogo (multi-agent programmable environment) simulation model mimics interactions of maintenance technicians, tasks, and critical tooling within an aircraft maintenance facility. To evaluate the added value of tagging critical tooling to better enhance efficiency locating tools, we define three use-cases. The first case mimics a current scenario in which critical tools are untagged, hence assuming significant search and travel times are incurred by technicians. The second case explores scenarios where tools are tagged, and trackable within the spatial environment of the hangar. The third case integrates both RTLS and AGVs to support both locating tools, and minimising travel times by technicians. Initial simulations results show significant added value for the second and third experiments, verifying suitability of implementing RTLS for complex maintenance and manufacturing processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)902-907
Number of pages6
JournalProcedia CIRP
Early online date26 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event55th CIRP Conference on Manufacturing Systems, CIRP CMS 2022 - Canton of Ticino, Lugano, Switzerland
Duration: 29 Jun 20221 Jul 2022
Conference number: 55


  • Agent-based simulation
  • Aircraft hangar
  • Maintenance
  • Real-time location systems
  • Tool location


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