The digitalization of production has long ceased to be an extremely expensive innovation: now, it costs several times less than ten years ago. Today, the Industrial Internet of Things not only solves production problems with security, theft, and rejects but also allows you to save significantly on the operation of the plant.
The introduction of IoT in manufacturing industries can lead to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which will trigger dramatic changes in people’s lives. But what does it change in production today and why IoT is the future of manufacturing functioning, we will tell in this article.
How is the Internet of Things used in manufacturing: top cases
- Collection of information about the operation of the entire plant
Imagine that there are 150 CNC machines in a factory that have to be analyzed: how many hours they were in operation, how much product was received at the output, what with the percentage of defects. If you process all the information manually and enter it in a paper journal, you can go crazy.
At the same time, information is not enough just to collect: it would be nice to compare it with previous indicators, see if any machine is working great, and find out why one object constantly breaks down while another delivers the least production, although it works according to the general schedule.
In such cases, IoT services are used to automate the entire process: from collecting information about the mode of operation of each machine to displaying accurate results for any interesting parameter (downtime, hours of operation, breakdowns). And such data can be requested with a mouse click.
- Dealing with malfunctions, theft, and defects
Often factories live by the principle: if something breaks, people fix it and continue to work. IIoT technologies will allow you to move away from repair after a breakdown to a system of failure predictions (for example, the program will warn you that certain parts need to be replaced). And if for some reason, the machine fails with regularity, the system will take this indicator into account and notify the operators. It only remains to determine the cause of the problem: maybe the equipment is being used incorrectly, or low-quality raw materials have been brought in.
Connected sensors embedded into the manufacturing process can help determine exactly what time work began on each machine and how many parts were produced by the end of the shift. With IoT-based machine monitoring employees won’t be able to use factory equipment for personal purposes, or this will be immediately visible in the final statistics of the machine.
These same sensors will help solve the problem of defects. They will provide valuable data to identify what is wrong in the equipment settings or if an error in the material selected caused the appearance of crooked parts.
- Factory safety and comfort
The microclimate, the level of lighting and noise, the concentration of harmful substances – all these indicators can be adjusted using a network of environmental sensors spread over a plant.
It may also be necessary to have different and adjustable temperature settings according to the areas in the factory. For example, in shop A the temperature could be kept low to extend the life of the equipment, in shop B, the temperature should be above normal, and in the engineering offices, it could be necessary to provide comfortable climatic conditions for employees. Using IoT technology to monitor and adjust the temperature in all the areas of a factory can help save on heating and electricity.
IoT can also be used for security and surveillance, triggering alarms in case of intrusion, theft of equipment or material, unauthorized or unproper use of a machine…
All in all, IoT makes it possible to identify and predict the occurrence of various risks, taking into account all the features of the production process and the general state of the organization. The system continuously monitors all important indicators for the operations and production to run smoothly and efficiently. And getting real-time notifications or alarms in case of incident helps reduce downtime and quality issues.
Finally, by dramatically reducing risks and failures levels, IoT ensures profitable activities and makes plants stand out from competitors in terms of reliability and productivity.
The effects of implementing IIoT solutions are very tangible. Implementing the right IoT technology into a manufacturing process to make it smart can help increase production and safety levels. And in the end it can improve business growth rate by 25%.
Despite obvious benefits, many industries are not ready yet to integrate IoT solutions into their processes. This may be due to a lack of expertise in the technologies involved, the unpreparedness of the staff for new technology, the reluctance to change the processes and train the personnel, but most of the time the late movers do not clearly understand the benefits of using IIoT and they miss the ROI perspective.
We hope you now understand that the benefits are huge and why IoT is key for the future of manufacturing.