Businesses in each industry are deriving massive value from IoT technology and the rise of the industry is a reflection of this pattern. McKinsey & Co predict that IoT can reach $11.1 trillion in economic impact by 2025. Data collected from IoT devices is increasing at a staggering rate as well – Cisco forecasts data from IoT devices could pass 800 zettabytes at the end of 2021.

However, why is this happening and what are IoT apparatus doing for businesses that has led to such explosive growth? It can be simplified into two overarching categories: saving money and making money. One example of IoT generating revenue is when it enables a business to add a subscription model to their offerings, creating insistent earnings.

The way IoT reduces prices varies by industry. In the manufacturing industry, IoT saves money by: decreasing overall maintenance costs utilizing predictive maintenance fundamentals; increasing worker safety during training and repairs; bridging the gap between floor employees and executives; identifying and resolving bottlenecks in production, as well as offering insight into future changes and opportunities before money is invested toward action.

 We now drill down further into examples of specific cost-saving usage cases of IoT in manufacturing.

No Longer Surprise Downtime With Predictive Maintenance, Not Heard Maintenance

Do you understand how much unplanned downtime is costing you? If you are representative of 80% of companies, the answer is probably,”No, not really. Not exactly.” When machinery fails, entire production lines can come to a halt. At a research study from ServiceMax called”After

The Fall: Cost, Causes and Consequences of Unplanned Downtime,” they found that 70 percent of companies aren’t sure if their manufacturing machines require maintenance or upgrades. This contributed to 82 percent of companies in the study experiencing unplanned downtime within the past 3 years, using an average outage duration of four hours and a median cost of $2 million.

Old-school maintenance usually presents in one of 2 ways:

Gear breaks > manufacturing halts > you wait for the maintenance person to come fix it, which sometimes necessitates ordering parts that aren’t available on hand. You pay employees to twiddle their thumbs while the corporate bank account starts to resemble a bucket with a hole in the bottom. 

Alternatively, you risk increased churn as workers who expected paid hours that week to be able to feed their families, begin losing faith and trust in your company. This can then generate an air of negativity and dissent causing them to find more stable employment.

You schedule downtime at a somewhat arbitrary interval > you wait for the maintenance person to eliminate what may be perfectly good parts and replace them with new ones, sacrificing money and manufacturing time along the way. Neither solution is efficient, as they ultimately waste resources.

Here’s what modern maintenance looks like:

The machines on your manufacturing floor are all equipped with small Internet of Things (IoT) devices that monitor a variety of data such as usage, uptime, quality, energy consumption, inventories of parts, and a log of system disruptions. If anything goes wrong–or starts to go wrong–the right men and women are instantly alerted with a notification.

Using historical data, the IoT-enabled predictive maintenance system will also notify you if a part is nearing its end-of-life and should be replaced. It can also tell you if, if, and how the quality of output is slipping or if a machine is consuming more resources, such as electricity and water, than anticipated.

Connected equipment gives manufacturers access to valuable data, which can tell them a story about the historical performance of the gear, as well as alert them of upcoming failures.

Because all of your machines are equipped with this same technology, your parts inventory is just like the Goldilocks’ fairytale result –it’s just right. You have the parts you need if you want them, but you’re not wasting valuable space saving items you don’t and will not need from the near-term future.

Predictive maintenance saves you money by:

Reducing costly unplanned downtime

Replacing parts just when they will need to be replaced based on historical data or whenever they show signs of malfunction before they hit critical failure. Problem diagnosis becomes faster and more accurate than ever

Carrying only the parts you need

Remote tracking using real-time alerts expedites response times

Minimizing employee churn and customer dissatisfaction because of quality issues.

Eyes Where You Never Knew You Needed Them

Machine learning–a subset of artificial intelligence (AI)–is the technology that underpins maintenance forecasts. One way to get the most out of IoT and machine learning in manufacturing is to unite them into a”digital twin.” A digital twin is used for complex, intelligent simulations that take into account the past behavior of the machines and their current condition in order to predict their future behavior.

Predicting future behavior via this channel leads to reduced catastrophic disruption and overall maintenance costs as well as increased production efficiency. Digital twins can also assist with design, employee training, and worker safety–especially if combined with other technology such as virtual and augmented reality. Imagine a worker who is able to visualize the broken inner workings of a machine without needing to remove any protective shielding. It’s like having eyes inside your machines, all the time.

A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical asset, in this case a CNC machine.

The way to a digital twin based on IoT benefits your company’s bottom line:

Advanced predictive capabilities through complex simulations that can involve 1 part of machinery or the entire production floor. Be prepared for anything.

Fewer disruptions caused by expensive and time-consuming failures

Reduced overall maintenance costs

Increased uptime

Improved employee satisfaction and safety, reducing churn rates and training costs.

Empower, Involve, and Protect Your Shop Floor Workers

In the manufacturing vertical, it isn’t uncommon for there to be a disconnect between employees on the production floor and executives and analysts who are assumed to operate separately within their’ivory towers’. This may mean that your business could be missing out on valuable information as well as decreasing your workers’ investment in its own success.

Together with Machine Metrics IoT solutions, workers on the floor can offer human input to be considered with the remainder of the data. With touchscreens on factory-floor machinery, operators can add human context to machine data that helps to bridge the gap between project functions, offering deeper understanding into a host of previously undetected issues.

By providing manufacturing employees a voice the business can move toward advancement as a device, together with investment at all levels. At the same vein, well-maintained gear means workers are safer at work and have fewer unexpected off days.

Factors such as these can offer a rise toward positive company culture which can reduce sick days, up productivity on the clock, and reduce churn and training costs–a major concern for many manufacturing companies.

IoT benefits your employees and shop floor workers in ways which reduce prices by:

Finding unseen problems by bridging the gap between project roles

Increasing worker safety so fewer expensive accidents

Improving employee satisfaction by offering ways for them to give input and become invested in the company

Boosting positive company culture so that workers are invested in success, more productive and efficient and potentially taking fewer sick days

Reducing churn and prices for acquisition and training.

Break Your Bottlenecks

Bottlenecks restrict the overall production capacity of your company. However, it is not always apparent where these obstacles sit or the level to which they impact productivity on the shop floor. IoT can pinpoint which areas are slowing you down the most.

Is there a machine that breaks greater than the rest, or that requires an upgrade because its manufacturing speed is slowing down overall output?

Are there time intervals through which some machines are under-utilized? Are your processes holding you backand if they are, do you have actionable solutions to fix them?

The benefits of IoT reign supreme when it comes to breaking up your company’s bottlenecks. When combined with machine learning within an intelligent platform, you will soon discover exactly how accurate, historical data from industrial IoT sensors can provide actionable insight into where improvements can be made. It can show you which steps to take today for the maximum payoff as well as continuing to offer optimization tips based on real-time data.

IoT reduces costs by prioritizing and reducing the impact of productivity congestion by offering process optimization and analysis as well as conditional analysis to make sure human and machine work in perfect harmony.

The Power to Ask, “What If?”

Whenever you have sensor data that is continuously aggregated and analyzed via both the Edge computing (or computing at the sensor itself) and via the Cloud (online with vast data storage and extreme speed boosts), you gain the ability to forecast the future.

Both the Cloud and Edge play important roles in the collection and processing of data.

Let’s qualify that having a”Not perfectly”. No system is perfect. However, the more accurate your data and the longer history of data you have, the more likely it is that your predictions will prove to be correct.

What does this mean for your company? IoT saves money by lowering risks to employee safety as well as machine malfunction risks such as catastrophic failure and unexpected downtime. When you understand ahead of time what is dangerous or what might break, you have the capacity to fix the problem before it impacts you.

When using a digital twin, IoT also lets you take a look at your factory floor and the procedures you use to run it and say,”Well, what if we changed this? What if we got another one of these machines changed the manufacturing program or utilized this machine more frequently?” 

It can help you predict how your changes will impact your business efficacy before you employ them, saving you time and money. It can even tell you which things will be most effective at saving money (or increasing earnings, or decreasing energy intake, or whichever other factors you are most interested in).

Industrial IoT platforms such as Machine Metrics give you the chance to check at your data in an easy-to-comprehend, human, actionable way. The insights we provide are deep but well-organized. Easy reporting and a color-coded dashboard allow you to view at a glance where you stand and where improvements can be made.

More than the day-to-day what-ifs, IoT can help you answer the questions that are big too. What if we need to pivot in a brief period, how can our machinery handle that? If we had been approached tomorrow with a massive order, what level of output can we reasonably sustain and over what time frame?

Opportunity comes to those whose eyes are open to the information at their disposal.

IoT offers your company agility in the face of adversity. It provides you with stability in times of calm. It gives you the information you want to chart your next step regardless. Flexibility and resilience come from knowing where you are at and where you have come from, because, with that, you know where the future of your business can lead you.