In the first wave of the pandemic, workers in the manufacturing industry were among the hardest hit. Many manufacturers across the country saw huge clusters break out at plants and factories.

As the country faces still another surge of cases, manufacturers must do everything in their power to stop outbreaks, keep their people safe and maintain operations. And the Internet of Things (IoT) can help manufacturers accomplish this lofty goal.

The IoT can provide critical insights that inform strategic decisions about warehouse or plant operations. Moreover, the IoT can be used to impede the spread of the virus and make sure essential employees work in production areas and non essential at their homes. 

Here’s how the IoT can help manufacturers increase employee safety, reduce costs and ensure efficient operations.

Remote Monitoring

With a handful of manufacturers trying to restrict interaction and the spread of germs, the IoT can enable the remote monitoring of several aspects of the facility.

By placing devices on tanks, energy sources, utilities and any equipment, manufacturers can understand when they need to deploy employees to fix a problem, and therefore limit the amount of contact workers have in different parts of the facility. 

Likewise, remote monitoring can also be utilized to ensure employee safety. For example, sensors set up at factory stations can detect if employees are social distancing, and even signal to the shift manager when stations need to be cleaned.

Furthermore, IoT-enabled time-clocks can give manufacturers real-time information about who has checked in at different work sites, allowing them to keep tabs on how many people are in a given building at the same time, and whether or not the building’s capacity has been reached. Both of these functions allow manufacturers to impede the spread of the virus and keep workers safe.

Optimize Processes

One way to decrease costs and keep plants and warehouses running smoothly is to optimize processes and keep disruption to a minimum.

Manufacturers can integrate IoT devices to track metrics like the pressure and vibration in machinery, as well as temperature, humidity, switches and voltage throughout the facility. Likewise, these sensors can also detect openings, leaks, battery charge, current, tilt, flood and more in pipes and equipment.

Because these things are tracked automatically, rather than manually, facility managers can be notified if a metric appears off in real-time. For example, if a water pipe’s pressure appears low, the facility manager can send someone down to see if there’s a leak.

This helps manufacturers avoid accidents and inefficiencies through predictive maintenance, thus speeding up the detection process and keeping operations running smoothly.

Overall, IoT can help manufacturers keep employees safe as operations begin to pick up again and facilities seem to make up for lost time. Simply by leveraging this technology to optimize processes and lower prices, manufacturers can be prepared to ride out the remainder of the pandemic, and any other disruptions yet to come.