World's first positioning & locating standard for industry, omlox

16 June 2020

Omlox can also serve to locate & navigate driverless transport systems, forklifts & drones with one and the same infrastructure_580x280 [Photo: TRUMPF]

An industry consortium, including manufacturing solutions provider, TRUMPF & dozens of partners, presents omlox, the world’s first locating standard for industry.

This uniform positioning standard for industrial products from different vendors was due to be presented at the postponed Hannover Messe, but is now available to all. The PROFIBUS user organization will handle worldwide coordination of the open standard.

High-tech manufacturing solutions company, TRUMPF and some 60 partners are introducing a standard for locating and positioning technologies. Called omlox, this new industry standard provides the means to integrate all existing technologies, such as UWB, BLE, RFID, 5G or GPS, and deliver positioning data via a uniform interface. “Despite the current coronavirus situation, companies should keep their sights fixed firmly on the future and expand their digital applications. A common standard for positioning solutions simplifies logistics enormously and ensures efficiency gains in digital manufacturing,” says Thomas Schneider, Managing Director of Development at TRUMPF Werkzeugmaschinen. Omlox may now be used worldwide. Industry partners from all over Europe, Asia and the USA have committed to supporting it. The initiators’ goal is to make it easier for industrial customers to use hardware and software from different vendors.

A global language for industry

The consortium has since handed the project over to the PROFIBUS user organization, which is set to advance the omlox standard globally. PROFIBUS has been supporting various industry standards for 30 years now. It operates worldwide with 1,500 members and 27 national subsidiaries. “The PROFIBUS user organization has all the processes and a great deal of experience to bring open and easy-to-use standards to the world. As an independent organisation, we can continue to make sure that all partners will be able to contribute on an equal footing,” says PROFIBUS CEO, Karsten Schneider. Interfaces to connect all products have already been defined for omlox. “Like USB, which has become indispensable in the office, we are now enabling different positioning solutions to communicate for the entire industry worldwide,” adds Schneider. Both hardware and software solutions will be able to access the standard. A logo afffixed to products will guarantee that they connect to omlox.

A quick, affordable way of connecting solutions from different vendors

Products may be tracked across the board by incorporating various positioning technologies. Omlox serves to pinpoint the location of forklifts, drones, driverless transport systems or tools from different manufacturers with one and the same infrastructure. It enables position data to be used far more widely across the factory. Users can even locate devices inside buildings with accuracy down to the millimetre range, much like what GPS can serve to do outdoors. “The combined use of ultra-precise, robust positioning via ultra-wideband with other tracking technologies is the key to industry positioning technologies. Industrial companies can already start transferring existing standalone solutions into this future-proof, open system,” says Matthias Jöst, who is coordinating the project within the PROFIBUS user organization.

Industry partners from Europe, the USA & Asia

An employee uses omlox to find a workpiece on a pallet. Positioning technologies & products from different vendors can be combined via this uniform standard_580x280 [Photo: TRUMPF]

The initiators of omlox include the software and IT service providers, GFT, T-Systems and AWS, the sensor manufacturers SICK and Pepperl+Fuchs, the research institute CEA Leti, the software vendor Heidelberg Mobil and the tracking solutions provider BeSpoon. Around 60 companies are already supporting the project.

A selection of participating companies:

•    TRUMPF (machine tools, laser technology)

•    BeSpoon (UWB tracking)

•    GFT (IT services & software)

•    AWS (global cloud computing provider)

•    T-Systems (vendor-agnostic digital services)

•    SICK AG (sensor-based solutions)

•    Pepperl+Fuchs AG (explosion protection technology & industrial sensors)

•    CEA Leti (research institute)

Omlox can even locate components. This enables manufacturers to track components all along the supply chain_580x280 [Photo: TRUMPF]

•    Heidelberg Mobil (software for indoor location-based services)

•    WZL Aachen GmbH, Automation business division (development & application support)

•    bridgingIT (technology & management consulting)

•    Squadrone System (industrial drones)

•    XETICS (smart factory software)

•    Zigpos (location tracking applications)

•    Swan (SAP logistics projects)

•    NAiSE (indoor navigation for automated guided vehicles)

•    Cleanfix (cleaning machines)

•    Weptech (systems engineering, with a focus on wireless connectivity)

•    Siemens AG (Digital Industries)

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