ORAT – Tracking in Automation

At a glance

The advent of RFID systems in automation at the start of the millennium represented a significant leap forward that benefits everything from assembly lines to just-in-time manufacturing, where production and material flows are coordinated along the supply chain.

Fraunhofer IIS is taking this innovation one step further with a technology that can be integrated into operations or supply chain management systems, thus enabling the continuous identification and tracking of manufactured goods.

Safely maintaining and servicing production systems, especially in large-scale facilities, requires the capability to locate machinery, equipment, tools or even personnel in real time. This helps avoid needless searches and wasted resources, which results in efficiently-controlled processes and the ability to identify and assess critical situations.

Based on a use case, this project will illustrate these benefits while demonstrating how easily ORAT can be integrated into the production processes.

An additional research focus of the ORAT project relates to a wireless-based positioning architecture concept that functions reliably even in difficult production environments (i.e. metal machines and shelving, metal supports on the ceilings and walls). The concept will be realized by using a flexible, hierarchic structure based on fixed and portable anchor modules and a dynamic combination of different measurement principles.


The key component of the ORAT project is the BlackFIR® 868 receiver unit, a goniometer that measures the angle of signals that are being tracked. The BlackFIR® 868 can track objects over long distances both inside and outside of complex building structures. The goods to be tracked are furnished with a positioning module, referred to as a tag, which can provide not only the ID, but also additional sensor data. A middleware platform processes the positioning and ID information and provides the control system with context-specific results. Production-relevant information is forwarded to a material control system that identifies and optimizes the product information, process handling and the routing using the local data. A major advantage of the ORAT system is the inductive charging of the positioning modules since the goniometer can be powered via an Ethernet connection.

Technical benefits:


The ORAT system is especially well-suited for semiconductor manufacturing environments. The technology developed by Fraunhofer IIS can track various aspects of production such as manufactured parts and components, machines, equipment and transport systems. Decentralized and independent workflows can be implemented. In addition, the concept and the modules can be adapted to other production environments and logistics applications.

Customer benefits:


Flexible material flow technology and automation of all process groups and flow shops

No resource waste, costly recalls, searches or process interruptions

Fast location of objects

Self-powered identification and positioning solution

Automated process steps

Reduction in faulty processes

Less need for materials handling processes

Efficient control processes

Optimized production line processes

Improved throughput

Cost savings




The underlying positioning technology of the ORAT system is suitable for a variety of production and Industry 4.0 applications. For companies looking to easily and quickly retrofit their existing asset management systems to make them compatible with the Industry 4.0 standard, combining the Fraunhofer IIS positioning solution with existing telemetry and RFID systems represents an ideal alternative. If you are considering introducing positioning technologies for your automation, production and Industry 4.0 applications, we can help you find the right solution.

Our new, one-of-a-kind L.I.N.K. Test and Application Center provides the opportunity to replicate application-specific situations for test and demonstration purposes, especially for production and logistics environments.