Audi has introduced scanner-gloves at its plant in Ingolstadt, with components dispatched using the ProGlove Mark with its embedded barcode scanner.

Following a four-week pilot phase, Audi employees are now using these wearables at five CKD positions in the Ingolstadt factory.

Employees trigger the scanning function by pressing the thumb and first finger together, freeing both hands for work and saving additional hand movements, to pick up and put down the scanner for example. Audi maintains it also minimises walking and makes the working routines in CKD Packing more ergonomic.

“For our employees, the scanner glove is a real help,” said CKD Packing head, Hartmut Bartsch. “It makes them more flexible; they can move freely and can scan and pack the cartons more easily.

“In addition, with the help of the glove, we design complex logistics processes to be more innovative and more efficient.”

For his part, ProGlove CEO, Thomas Kirchner added: “The development of ProGlove follows the idea wearable electronics have to support employees. That’s why we have developed a light glove for industry that is intuitive to use and which can be deployed without any integration expense.”

The intelligent glove has a trigger button on the index finger, which operates the scanner when it is pressed against the thumb. The employee does not have to focus on the barcode as the scanning function is integrated in the natural hand movement.

By means of optical (LED light), acoustical (buzzer) and tactile (vibration) signals, the commissioner knows the article has been scanned.

The scanner communicates with the receiver unit by radio. This access point is connected via USB or a normal serial connector; the installation of additional software is not necessary. The battery charge is designed to last for the period of a working shift and can then be fully recharged within two hours.

This is the first step towards widespread use of so-called wearables in production. In parallel with CKD Packing in Ingolstadt, the glove is also being tested in pilot phases in other areas of production at Audi. 

BMW has also been testing ‘ProGloves’ in production. Now in at least their 12th iteration these portable scanners can be fixed directly to workers’ gloves (with a thumb-activated switch aligned with the index finger).

The device can improve and accelerate certain production processes as the scanning of parts is not a separate step in the production process any more, leading to an increase in process quality and work ergonomics.