If you know what Internet of Things (IoT) is, you probably have an idea of what Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) does. Basically, this core Industry 4.0 technology enhances manufacturing productivity and reduces costs. The total market size of the Industrial IoT reached USD 109 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach USD 933 billion by 2025. Giants, such as Caterpillar, Airbus, Siemens, Bosch and Maersk, already use connected technologies and claim that the IoT offers an advanced customer-orientation approach, the ability to track goods on the road, remote monitoring of the fields, logistics optimisation, predictive maintenance and much more.
While using the IoT for industrial purposes looks promising, it’s understandable that every entrepreneur wants to make informed decisions about the use of any technology for business, especially when that technology is pricey and has a significant learning curve. So, what are the benefits of the Industrial IoT for manufacturers, and what makes people switch from traditional manufacturing facilities to smart ones?
First, Industrial IoT provides connected factories, where the major factory assets are interconnected and can share information to improve monitoring and control over the production process. Traditional factories need a significant number of employees to continuously check the production lines. However, connected factories enable workers to monitor the production process remotely. The sensors integrated into these facilities collect and transmit data and inform managers about everything that is happening on the production line. Connected factories provide the ability to effortlessly control equipment health, product quality, power consumption and many other characteristics.
Equipment Management and Productivity Enhancement
Some 10 years ago, any breakdown within a factory was a disaster for the entire production process. The downtime and repair costs were significant, not to mention the other consequences, such as damage to the firm’s reputation. Today, the IoT can help you avoid dire situations like this. Thanks to various sensors, IoT solutions can identify machinery inefficiencies and signal the need for maintenance before assets break down. Industrial IoT allows you to perform predictive maintenance quickly and easily, with a single device in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. Accumulating and analysing the data from the sensors allows you to increase both productivity and the lifetime of your equipment because it is used wisely.
It is difficult to overestimate the importance of quality with regard to finished goods. Today, quality is not an option, it’s a requirement, and the IoT can help you maintain high quality standards. By setting specific parameters, such as raw material composition, temperature, pressure and facility parameters, and following the production at every stage of the development cycle, you will benefit from improved quality and reduced waste.
Remote Monitoring and Field Service
Tracking materials and products through the supply chain enables you to collect information about any risk factors that may influence the product after it leaves the factory (transportation, weather conditions, storage, etc.). This data can also be used later to improve certain product features or packaging for better performance in the future. If your company is a service provider, the IoT can help with field monitoring. Connected devices offer preventive field service, so you do not have to wait for a machine to break to take repairing measures. Maintenance requires less time and money than repairs.
Each of these benefits translates into sizeable time and money savings. Predictive maintenance helps you control the health of your manufacturing facility, avoid downtime and prevent expensive equipment repairs or replacements. By controlling the quality of the manufactured goods at every stage of production, you can reduce waste and avoid withdrawing a faulty batch from the shelves. By setting limits on temperature, lighting, equipment usage and other parameters in your factory, you are able to decrease power consumption and, consequently, cost.
Industry 4.0 has brought us optimisation, automatisation and transparency in all production processes. Smart manufacturing helps businesses remotely manage, analyse and improve their machinery, workforce, operations, production, maintenance and other values in real time. However, the focus of the entire technological revolution is much broader than simply digitalising factories and warehouses. It offers a new way of manufacturing. So, it’s not a question of whether the factory decides to become connected, it’s a matter of when. Sooner or later, every manufacturing facility will have to implement Industrial IoT technologies due to competition and market demands. Don’t miss your chance to be among the first to employ them.
ElifTech helps companies and start-ups adopt IoT strategies and technologies; connect sensors, devices and machines and benefit from the opportunities of the digital world, and our industrial IoT professionals are happy to help you as well. Let’s create a remarkable factory together!