Protecting the health and safety of workforce is key to getting production management back. As supply chains restart and work from home rules ease, smart industries are starting to reopen. But production lines and manufacturing shop floors look very different from before the pandemic.
Now, production management must give the workforce enough space to prevent the spread of harmful particles, and Indoor Air Quality monitoring plays an important part.
Operations should also limit movement of the workforce inside the manufacturing unit to reduce the likelihood of a super spread situation. These new operational safety an health practices require training, focus, and tools to reinforce new work habits in production area.
Smart industry solutions
Factories are trying low tech and high tech solutions to the physical distancing problem. Many have adjusted to one or two production shifts to more shifts with fewer people per shift.
Some industries have installed clear wall partitions on production lines, like those now protecting airline staff. Few have has tested Bluetooth mesh solutions, while wristband and other technologies are in place to give alerts when colleagues get close to each other. Wirepas indoor positioning kit is an example of such a solutions which can be deployed without the need for any external wiring.
Virtual zones in production shop floor
It is obvious that coronavirus can spread quickly indoors, especially in production areas where many people move around. That is why another new best practice for industrial production management is facility zoning.
For example, some electronic equipment makers have detailed plans for how workers should move through their plants. Their objective is to easily isolate & trace any cases of COVID-19 among workers.
In a virtual zoned facility, the workforce stays in the areas where they are authorised to be. That is usually going to be their workstations and the nearest restrooms. Equipment should stay in its zone, too, because the virus can live so long on surfaces.
Human detection sensors can alert operational managers when workers are in restricted zones. Wearable bluetooth devices can be deployed to ensure proper zoning in the production shop floor.
Industrial IOT sensors can help as well. For example, door, human detection and Air Quality devices can send alerts when new people enter an occupied work zone. If there is no room, they are redirected quickly to another location.
These type of alerts can help shop floor workers follow the best practice of ensuring extra space around key personnel. Some smart factory systems provide extra protection for workers like “boiler operator, bio medical engineer, wastewater treatment engineer, lead electricians, maintenance.”
Giving the workforce space to stay safe on the production shop floor is crucial to restarting smart factories and keeping it on track. Physical distancing is one of many new practices that smart factories must adopt to stay viable and competitive.
Call us to know more about our solutions for smart industry and shop floor monitoring in the new normal