Technology can oftentimes be seen as a distraction on the manufacturing shop floor. Smartphones, tablets, electronic displays all have a tendency to take an individual’s eyes and attention off of their immediate surroundings which can pose a danger in an industrial setting. Manufacturers are beginning to embrace digital technology in nearly all of its forms but these are primarily focused on improving productivity and efficiency. Now with technology shrinking and becoming more accessible and capable, there is a new opportunity to utilize digital technologies to keep the individual employee safe on the shop floor.
Amazons’ New Warehouse Wristband Patent
Recently Amazon patented designs for a new wearable that will precisely tack where warehouse employees are placing their hands and, through a series of vibrations, guide them in a different direction if needed. The design is intended to streamline the fulfillment of orders and increase employee surveillance but the concept could play a different role in an industrial setting. These lightweight wristbands may even be able to prevent employee injuries on the shop floor in the future.
Amazons new concept isn’t designed for the modern manufacturing environment, however, the technology they intend to utilize, ultrasonic tracking, is a precise means of locating a worker’s hands as they move products. Repurposing thing technology to track the location of industrial workers could help avoid severe collisions with heavy equipment. Being able to track individuals with such precision could lead to a breakthrough in wearable safety devices for the modern manufacturer.
Mobile, Wearables and The IIoT
The Industrial Internet of Things has facilitated a way for manufacturers to keep track of all their operations in real-time. There’s no reason why the natural progression of this technology wouldn’t lead to innovative breakthroughs in safety technology for the modern industrial worker. Safety has become a primary focus for modern manufacturers as the industry improves its image and becomes more advanced. It’s absolutely necessary to bring safety practices into the 21st century as well.
Smart mobile devices have become more common than ever before. Applications are popping up at a staggering rate and taking a look at how they can benefit businesses will be key. Manufacturers need access to mobile applications that can deliver real-time alerts to the manufacturing workforce, notifying them of any danger around the facility. Utilizing mobile technologies and applications to keep the workforce safe and healthy would take these devices and turn them into an asset rather than a distraction.
Using mobile devices to send alerts, wearables to track employees whereabouts and physical condition along with the IIoT to connect all these technologies to provide real-time insights into the condition of the working environment could have a profound impact on the manufacturing industry. Businesses have access to more affordable and capable technology and understanding how they can benefit the safety of the workforce is the first step toward making these safety applications a reality. The future looks bright for manufacturing but businesses must be able to keep their workforce safe. Modern technology will play a monumental role in this concept as the industry and these technologies continue to advance.