FactoryForce Industrial Mobile
Acuiti Labs is building a new mobile application called FactoryForce which has been designed to work ‘with and for’ the industrial worker. This new approach takes advantage of external devices such as RFID and gas sensors to drive screens with relevant content. The applications have been built to run on ruggedised Android hand-helds and wearables such as the new Head-Mounted Tablet from RealWear.
FactoryForce will eventually consist of several applications which are accessible via a common user interface, UI. The UI can be tailored for the individual and contain useful information for that user for that day, for example if he is working outdoors the weather forecast will be an applet. But the main part of the display will be the work tasks prioritised for the signed-in worker.
The first FactoryForce application will be ‘Rounds’ which will manage any routine or scheduled set of work steps, which need to be audited or ‘signed-off’ as completed. These routines or Rounds could be a simple security or operator rounds, where a pre-defined route needs to be followed and includes a set of weigh-points or ‘must visit’ points on the route. The application will track the route and via a QR or RFID tag, record that a weigh-point was visited. The tag data will drive the UI and prompt the user on what to do next. The ‘Round’ can be imported from a third-party system or hand built via a graphical UI on a pc.
We will follow-up on Rounds with a Maintenance Work Order (W.O.) tracking application. This will have a feature where the individual worker or tradesperson will be kept up-to-date with the status of a given W.O. in the plant. However, a W.O. may require different trades people to complete the work. FactoryForce understands the work steps and as one tradesperson completes and signs-off his task the system automatically changes the status of the W.O. task on the next tradespersons device. This feature greatly improves work efficiency and maintenance planners get up-to-the-minute feedback on work status.
FactoryForce has been built to be usable in an industrial setting where communications back to the network may not always be available or patchy at best. The worker device will update and synchronise as and when connection to the network is made. If there are good communications on-site other features of FactoryForce are available. The worker can make a mobile video call or access the internet for content from the OEM of a specific piece of equipment.
FactoryForce - ‘Looking Out for the Worker’
In many industrial work places, such as O&G facilities the worker must wear full Personal Protection Equipment PPE. But he must also wear gas detection sensors and potentially personal life signs sensors. Where these sensors are Bluetooth enabled FactoryForce will collect the data and display it in a meaningful way to the wearer via the UI. If a limit is reached i.e. noise limit or the atmosphere becomes dangerous the FactoryForce application will alert the worker and instruct him what to do.