When it comes to factory industries, the industrial internet of things (IIoT) is one of their most popular buzzwords. So, what does this mean? IIoT is the use of connectivity to optimize manufacturing processes and production for any company.
In other words, any business can change its processes of production and become a smart factory with IIoT. The Industrial Internet of Things uses the power of smart machines and network-connected devices to gather data and analyze it to increase productivity and efficiency.
IIoT and factory industries
The term IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) has been around for a while and today it includes everything and anyone that is connected to the Internet. There are numerous examples of network-connected devices that are part of our daily life, such as:
- Smart TVs
- Security systems and lights
- Clothes and other wearables
The Internet of Things aims to connect people with the products and services they use every day. Since it streamlines life, it can also be used to increase efficiency and productivity in manufacturing.
The Industrial IoT gives manufacturers the ability to harness analytics from other manufacturing assets, such as machines, to:
- Increase production.
- Detect unanticipated downtimes.
- Resolve bottlenecks.
- Find ways to improve efficiency at all levels.
Production enhancement tools are rapidly growing in popularity. Computerworld Magazine expects IIoT to be one of the 3 biggest trends in computing in 2022. Another study predicts the market will reach over $123 billion in 2022.
The potential and new opportunities for the manufacturing sector in factory industries are huge.
Manufacturers can get many benefits from the Industrial IoT revolution, for example:
- Set and measure KPIs.
- Retrofitting machines using reliable and effective IoT devices gives production managers a new level of visibility.
- Managers can gain valuable insights from these IoT applications, which allow them to make the best decisions for their specific needs at specific times. These could include production efficiency, speed, or several malfunctions.
- Factory industries can keep an eye on every step of the production process by ensuring that they have the right levels of analysis.
- Leaders can use IIoT technology to increase productivity and find areas where there are gaps in the supply chain.
Resolve Problems Immediately for factory industries
Imagine a tool that can detect problems as they arise. This is not possible in traditional manufacturing models. Supervisors and foremen must constantly be on the floor examining each machine and looking over every worker’s shoulders. However, micromanaging is not the answer.
Also, with IIoT, factory managers can spot any anomalies and problems immediately by strategically placing IoT sensors. As a result, this prevents them from getting worse and keeps downtime to a minimum.
These managers can access the most advanced tools within the manufacturing industry and immediately see improvements.
Plan better Workflows and Processes
By monitoring the entire production line, factories can get a better idea of its actual time. It also allows spotting bottlenecks or obstacles that can delay production. Consequently, there is more efficient shift planning, which optimizes any line’s accuracy and speed.
For instance, a manufacturing plant might have a dedicated team of workers, but supplies were not available for the third shift. Third shift workers would need to move from their stations to find the materials and return to their posts. This could slow down overnight production and reduce productivity by at least an hour.
Another example is that if the actual unit production time exceeds the theoretical time, the entire order will be delayed, which can lead to frustrated customers and delayed deliveries.
Planning is easier when IoT sensors are placed along the supply chain. This action automatically improves the workflows and processes.
Increase Quality with smart factory
Factory can track production from A to Z using IIoT-enabled quality controls solutions. This allows them to continuously and automatically monitor every stage of production, from the quality of raw materials to the end product.
This system improves the traceability and quality control capabilities, and therefore the overall product quality.
Save on Resources
Continuous monitoring of production can expose inefficiencies in current operations. Therefore, these inefficiencies can be eliminated to reduce the need for costly resources like labor, fuel, and energy. This will bring economic benefits to the manufacturer as well as added value for the environment.
Companies that have invested in IIoT sensors can decrease their energy costs by tens of thousands of dollars.
Even when it’s almost impossible to find out where the resources are being wasted, it is possible with IoT proper sensors.
Increase Inventory Management
IIoT makes it possible to manage digital inventory in a way that is always up-to-date and accessible.
This allows the factory industries to:
- Have better management of their inventory.
- Make a data-driven purchasing decisions.
- Eliminate the possibility of missing raw materials or whole products.
- Reduce maintenance costs.
- Avoid machinery failure.
- Prevent downtime and allow factory managers to plan better maintenance schedules.
- Detect anomalies in engine or motor performance in a way that the human ear or eyes cannot.
- Anticipate potential breakdowns.
- Keep machines running smoothly.
- Schedule repairs more efficiently.
Increase Employee Motivation
The IIoT makes production schedules, output, and targets transparent and easy to understand. They serve as a guideline for the whole business.
Employee motivation and engagement can be increased by setting clear, achievable, data-driven goals with managers and employees.
In conclusion, the Industrial IoT offers tangible and significant benefits for manufacturers every day, and factories all over the globe are realizing this at an increasing rate.