Remote monitoring through the cloud, and alert notifications to avoid danger. “SKY Bird”, safety management system for working staffMTL Co.,Ltd


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Points to be noted

  • Check for differences in the working environment even at the same location. Enables remote management of staff safety
  • Avoid risks through individual health management of the employees
  • Remote operation details are customized according to the customer request

Heat stroke is a life-threatening crisis for employees working at outdoor construction sites under different weather conditions, and atmospheric temperature, especially during heat waves in summer. Therefore, the safety of working people should be secured. However, it is not easy to develop safety measures by checking the safety of many workers performing various tasks under different environmental conditions of temperature and humidity and measuring the extent of hazards. MTL Co., Ltd. has developed “SKY Bird”, a safety management system that informs the supervisor in advance about risks to the workers, by remote monitoring on the cloud and issuing alert notifications when there is any risk. MTL started selling the product in 2018.

MTL Co., Ltd. was spun off from Minami Techno Co., Ltd. that was associated with the design and installation of air conditioners, and MTL is currently engaged in the development, manufacture, and sales of systems. They started the development of the safety control system “SKY Bird” 2 years before the company was spun off. According to Yoshida, manager of the company, “We got the opportunity to develop the product after observing the companies introducing air conditioners and felt that a system was required to visualize the working environment for the safety of the staff working at the shop floor”.
Many customers require safety control and attendance management at large-scale work locations, and they developed the product with the push from the administrators with such requests.

The index used by “SKY Bird” to confirm the safety of the working environment is based on the heat index WBGT (Wet-Bulb Globe Temperature). Since 2006, the Ministry of Environment has been providing information on the heat index as the degree of risk for heat stroke, and it is an international ISO standard of the criteria to be followed for workers during summer. This temperature takes into account atmospheric temperature, humidity, and radiant heat (Temperature increases with the heat radiated by the ground, buildings, and living things). The unit used is Celsius (⁰C). When there is sunlight, the heat index is calculated in the following proportion: Effect of atmospheric temperature 1, the effect of humidity 7, and the effect of radiant heat 2.
From the safety perspective, even a slight difference in the positions of the workers at the same site changes the heat index and degree of susceptibility to heat stroke. If the workers move to a different place, working condition of each worker is required to be taken into account. This is due to the change in the degree of risk based on the health condition, type and volume of work of the individual.

When workers wear the following 3 devices, “Sky Bird” can visualize the “Behavioral pattern”, “Working environment”, and “Health condition”.
①TKZ-01: Visualization of “Behavioral pattern” by measurements with the 9 axes sensor, atmospheric pressure sensor, and GPS.
②Environment sensor: Visualization of “Working environment” by measuring atmospheric temperature, humidity, wind, Wet Bulb Globe Temperature, and illumination.
③Smart watch: Visualization of “Health condition” by measuring the blood pressure and heart beat

Visualization of “Behavioral pattern”, “Working environment”, and “Health condition” is realized with these 3 devices

Though the administrator can see the data sent on a computer, it is not necessary to frequently check the information as the data is recorded on the cloud and an alert notification is transmitted in the event of any danger. The product is equipped with a function to notify workers in the event of danger. Since it is possible to grasp the location and behavior of workers, notifications can be sent when workers enter a danger zone, and the behavioral pattern of workers can be understood.

“SKY Bird” is also receiving inquiries from domains other than work sites. It can be used to monitor the elderly as information on their location and vital signs can be obtained. Irregular movements and falls of the elderly can be grasped by using the 9 axes (Vertical, horizontal, accelerations of 3 tilted angles, angular velocity, geomagnetism) sensor. If abnormalities are observed in the data, it has a function to send e-mails to the family. Since detailed vital data is acquired, it can be used for health management. In the future, the company plans to branch out to businesses managing long-term care facilities and elderly whose relatives live far away.
The product is also said to be used in attendance management as it can understand behavioral patterns and location information.

A variation of “SKY Bird”, “SKY Bird V” has also been developed. This product can be fitted in vehicles and is under testing for attendance management of drivers by installing in a truck carrying soil and mud.
According to Yoshida, manager of the company, “We are making improvements so that “SKY Bird V” can visualize the processing status of excavated soil at construction sites and is expected to be used soon”.
By installing a device on trucks that can measure heavy metals present in the soil by irradiating X-ray, the processing method can be decided for the soil that has been loaded and ensured that the truck transports the soil to the target location by managing the route taken.

Though “SKY Bird” can visualize up to 3 parameters, working environment, the health condition of workers, and behavioral pattern, +α customization is possible wherein only the required parameters among the three can be selected by using the function to send data. The remote monitoring equipment has been installed at 140 facilities. The company expects that “SKY Bird” will be developed to meet other applications requested by customers.

Interview Date: December 18, 2018


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