An important deadline to be met but the manufacturing machine decides to a heart attack at the last minute. Result? A dissatisfied client.
Enter: Internet of Things. Such a scenario would never have arisen had the company been using IoT. The sensors would have alerted the crew about the faulty parts and it could have been fixed at the right time eliminating possibilities of last-minute mishaps.
To avoid such blunders, a number of manufacturing companies are starting to look at the concept of IoT. “According to a survey, IoT has enabled manufacturers to experience a 28.5% average revenue increase.”
WHAT IS IIOT?
Industrial Internet of Things is nothing but the integration of the information and operational areas of an industry for enhanced operational efficiency, productivity thus eliminating complexities. This technological advancement is not only a safety boon but also helps the companies maintain an optimum level of quality. Fitting machines with sensors helps in better understanding of their operations and by collecting relevant data one is always aware as to needs to be done and when.
According to Verizon’s “State of the Market: Internet of Things 2016“:
76% of manufacturers say that IoT is helping them understand preferences and behaviors better.
66% use IoT to calculate risks, safeguard company assets and improve staff safety.
60% are enhancing their product quality and performance using IoT.
“In March 2016, BI Intelligence estimated that global manufacturers will invest $70 billion on IoT solutions in 2020 (in 2015 they invested $29 billion, the report says). This is far lower than what IDC found but remember that the latter looks at hardware, software, services, and connectivity.”
BENEFITS OF IIOT IN MANUFACTURING
1. Digitally Connected System
An IoT connected system will help companies identify the KRAs by establishing a better line of command. Additionally, IoT fitted machinery will help them send out operational information directly to equipment manufacturers and field engineers. As a result of which they can remotely manage the units and also help improve process automation and optimization.
2. Improved Equipment Management
There are types of equipment that are designed to function under certain conditions and factors. The use of IoT sensors will help in maintaining these conditions and hence eliminate last-minute breakdowns. IoT sensors can keenly monitor these conditions and alert the staff when there is a deviation. This will not only help the companies reduce cost and conserve energy but will also increase the machinery’s and the entire system’s efficiency. The data collected from the machines will also help in identifying which machines are more efficient thus giving a chance to eliminate the underperforming ones before they cause a major fault.
3. Production Flow Management
Several areas such as production, performance, quality, potential damages, packaging, etc can be monitored through IoT. The fact that IoT provides real-time data round the clock enables managers to solve all production and maintenance related issues, proactively. The right adjustments at the right time not only helps in better management of operational costs but also eliminates scope of wastes and pointless work in progress inventory.
4. Plant And Worker Safety
The plant’s and workers’ safety and protection can also be optimized through IoT. Effective monitoring like the number of accidents, injuries, health-related absences, property damage, illness rates can all be monitored and hence improved through the data analysis provided by IoT sensors. This will help the plant have a better safety plan at hand and rectify health and plant environment issues as and when required.
5. Enhancing Product Quality
When a product is manufactured, there are various stages through which these products go. IoT sensors collect the cumulative product data at every such stage. Starting from kinds of raw materials used, parameters like temperature, wastes, to transportation, this data can be used to identify and redress the quality issues. Quality issues can be far-reaching sometimes resulting in loss of customer’s trust thus damaging the brand image. Hence, delivering subpar quality is of utmost importance. IoT sensors not only help the companies identify the problems at an early stage but also reduce the damage-control cost. Additionally, final products when fitted with IoT sensors will help capture the customer’s satisfaction sentiments which will help brands improve/ change product quality.
6. Improving Packaging
When IoT sensors are fitted to the end product or the packaging, brands can learn their customers’ usage pattern. This will help manufacturers identify the problem areas of the final product and improvements can be made basis this date. Clever tracking processes can also help manufacturers identify if the products were damaged during transportation due to weather or any other unfavorable conditions. This will help them make better packaging options for the product in order to improve both customer experience and packaging cost.
7. Supply Chain Management
The key problem area for most manufacturers is the stage of moving the product from the supplier to the customer. However, with IoT , manufacturers can now receive real-time tracking information as the product moves through the entire supply chain process. Manufactures can collect and feed important delivery information as and when required. This data will help manufacturers calculate potential problems thus reducing further cost requirements. ” By connecting plants to suppliers, all the parties concerned with the supply chain can trace interdependencies, material flow and manufacturing cycle times.”
Therefore, we can see that IoT will not only help manufacturers identify and eliminate issues within
the pant but beyond that too. This is the beginning of the next Industrial Revolution.