An Essential Guide to IoT in Manufacturing

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Globalization and rising customer demands have encouraged manufacturers to try new initiatives to stay ahead. 

By discovering new alternatives like digital solutions, manufacturing companies can redefine the way they operate and serve customers. And, this creates an amazing chance for every manufacturer and IoT app development company.

The manufacturing industry has to overcome these 5 challenges to serve customers better and faster.

  • Slow factory
  • Hidden/Skyrocketing prices
  • Imperfect employee safety
  • Inability to provide quality products
  • Decelerated Time to market

This post focuses on how embracing business 4.0 solutions are transforming manufacturing and help companies improve operations, reduce costs, improve safety and accelerate time to market.

How Industry 4.0 is revolutionizing manufacturing

A prime reason for the manufacturing industry to leverage Business 4.0 solutions is to accelerate productivity, RoI and customer experience. And Industry 4.0 solutions perfectly fit their purpose and bill. The Industry 4.0 solutions — IoT, AI, ML has enabled companies to overcome the below par performance and process inefficiencies.

Specially, most companies focus on IoT to save up to 40-50% cost associated with operations, safety and performance.

The sections below will help you understand the impact of IoT in manufacturing and its benefits.

How is IoT used in manufacturing?

IoT has been the most used Industry 4.0 solution in modern-day manufacturing companies. Especially, reports claim companies that have implemented IoT solutions are performing staggeringly even during the COVID-19 scenario.

The statistics also point out that IoT implementations will soar post COVID 19 as most companies have to leverage the technology to guarantee employee safety (enables remote operations), at the same time must improve productivity to fulfill overwhelming customer demands.

IoT market size, growth

According to an IDC report, the growth of IoT across Manufacturing is exploding like anything. The report further states that global spending on the Internet of Things to reach $745 Billion in 2019, led by the Manufacturing, Consumer, Transportation, and Utilities Sectors.

IoT is useful in manufacturing for the below reasons:

IoT for employee safety

IoT devices are frequently used by manufacturing staff to monitor and track machine data from a remote location. Integrated with mobile applications, workforce can capture real-time machine data on-the-go. This also improves the accuracy of the machine data captured as human data collection is always error-prone. So, IoT creates a win-win situation for both workers and manufacturers.

Benefits of IoT for employee safety.

  • Real-time alerts about employee movements
  • Tracking worker location within business premise
  • IoT for asset tracking

IoT for asset tracking gives the workforce an opportunity to track, monitor and control assets from distant locations. IoT is used for both human and material tracking in companies.

Benefits of real-time asset tracking using IoT

  • Eliminates human errors around scanning
  • Enables full utilization of assets
  • Simplifies asset audits
  • Improves the accuracy and transparency of asset data
  • IoT  for stock management

IoT devices integrated with mobile applications will help in the process of tracking material flow out of stock or overstock scenarios in real-time and enhance inventory management.

Benefits of IoT for stock management.

  • Contactless asset tracking
  • Real-time data for informed decision making
  • Highly accurate
  • Accurate and item-wise asset monitoring and auditing
  • IoT for predictive maintenance

Assessing the status of the machines frequently will help companies to avoid costs related to unwarranted machine maintenance cycles. In addition to that, IoT enabled maintenance systems by helping manufacturers collect real-time data from sensors to foresee the failure of machines and delay maintenance cyclones to decrease repair price.

  • Vibration
  • Temperature
  • Stress

Benefits of IoT for machine monitoring

  • Reduced repair costs
  • Minimal machine failures
  • Minimized downtime
  • Improved maintenance cycles
  • IoT for manufacturing quality

Maintaining production quality is important for branding and defecting materials falling in the hands of customers will impact manufacturing RoI and branding. IoT plays a prime role in identifying the defective materials produced and helps the operators to inspect the process flaws to avoid production quality problems. With IoT, product quality can be improved dramatically.

Benefits of IoT in manufacturing quality improvement.

  • Faster time-to-market
  • Improved product quality
  • Reduced prices
  • Streamlined production
  • IoT use cases
  • IoT for Workplace safety

IoT for Predictive maintenance

Imagine this scenario. A manufacturing company found it hard to track the abnormalities and machine failures. Both are expensive and could cost arm and leg for the company. With Predictive maintenance or Conditions Based Maintenance (CBM), IoT embedded sensors and devices can monitor a machine’s actual condition.

With such setup, monitoring the signs of machine failure or abnormalities is effortless. Studying these data using machine learning, advanced analytics and AI, developing a well-defined maintenance strategy is always straightforward. This reduces cost as well.

IoT for Asset tracking

Another interesting use case of IoT would be tracking assets in a manufacturing company. Generally, tracking assets in real-time is challenging for staff and there are tons of chances of missing or misplaced asset data. By attaching IoT apparatus to storage containers, identifying assets inside a container is easy.

Along with other technologies such as RFID, Barcode, NFC etc. assets can be identified accurately and the real-time data is then pushed to employees via mobile applications for utilization. This saves time and cost for the company.

IoT for Inventory management

A potential use case of stock management in manufacturing. Identifying products from large warehouses is very daunting and absorbs a good deal of time too. With IoT the problem can be simplified.

Tagging the materials with IoT devices (along with sensors) will simplify locating that product even from a large warehouse. By this way finding any product in a large warehouse becomes more seamless and ensures accurate identification of goods in a quick span of time, saves time and money.

IoT for Product quality

Product’s quality shortcomings can easily contribute to any company’s financial implication and might deeply impact its branding. As the manufacturing quality is difficult to measure on simple observations, leveraging the power of IoT devices will help manufacturers to monitor and track the process and performance to improve quality of products. As IoT devices help in amassing real-time data, it gets easier to understand the process, make necessary changes to improve production quality.

IoT for Product traceability

Tracking product movement and where they are on the move is always challenging. Inability to find goods on the move throughout manufacturing delays project delivery. With IoT devices, tracking products from the assembly line is straightforward. Real-time tracking of products on the move helps manufacturers get a clear idea on the product stage and this saves time and cost, and ensures faster time to market.

Top manufacturing companies have already started to implement IoT for acquiring real-time data to track machines, track performance, and foresee equipment failure. These factors are contributing to improved productivity, reduced machine maintenance and repair cost, etc..

Design Leader in 4i Platform - Company specialized in Industrial IT solutions.
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