The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) opens up a wide range of opportunities for the manufacturing sector in particular. Thorough media is no longer a vision of the future, and the 5G mobile communications standard will presumably increase the dynamic from 2020. You can read a summary of IIoT technologies and its application in production within this article.

What is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) refers to the use of IoT concepts in industrial production. In the German-speaking world, the Industrial Internet of Things is often referred to as Industry 4.0. Compared to the Web of Things in the private sphere (IoT), the focus from the industrial sector is on the network of machines (machine-to-machine) and seamless procedure chains.

The essential notion of the IIoT is thus to integrate machine learning and large data technology and thus considerably increase the effectiveness of companies. But, complexity and requirements are much higher in IIoT than in IoT.

IIoT- Architecture: Edge -Network -Cloud

Essential requirements for a IIoT architecture are scalability, real-time capability, interoperability as well as data protection and safety. Sensors, actuators and smart devices that collect data (edge computing) and ship it to servers (system ) play a central part. At the cloud computing degree, they are further processed to action-relevant “smart data” using smart algorithms.

These then form the basis for automated procedures. Major cloud providers such as Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and Google today provide IoT platforms that facilitate the development and administration of IIoT applications. Such solutions are ideal for the entry level in particular.

Manufacturing Sector is Leading in IIoT Applications

As an important aspect of digital transformation, the usage of IoT technologies is growing increasingly important in the manufacturing industry. According to the market study”The State of Industrial Internet of Things 2019″ from the tech group PTC, IIoT technology is currently being used primarily in production plants.

The market study makes it clear that optimizing operational efficiency and increasing productivity across the internal value chain are the main reasons for utilizing IIoT technologies. The most important findings from the study are as follows:

IIoT Technology Spreading Steadily

The Internet of Things is becoming increasingly popular in industrial environments and is increasingly used for applications in industrial factories, automotive plants, pharmaceutical plants, electronic equipment and high-tech plants as well as in oil refineries and food and beverage supply chains.

IIoT Interfaces Increase Efficiency

Enterprises gain by placing people at the center of their digitization strategies and implementing IIoT interfaces across the entire organizational hierarchy. The benefits of the technologies are then available to many workers and have a positive effect on the implementation of projects.

Innovative Solutions Are Required

The solution environment, the implemented usage cases and the technology used in the whole IIoT stack are still different. Therefore, the achievement of users increasingly requires seamless integrations, different technology portfolios and expertise in the field.

Global Companies Increasingly Use Ready-Made IIoT Solutions

Industrial companies under global pressure are turning to more integrated, prefabricated IIoT solutions with greater technological breadth and partner ecosystems to move fast.

89 % of respondents expect use cases to be changed to production within a year of purchasing the IIoT solution. In many cases, the ready-made IIoT solutions lead to a shortening of the provision times to a few months. In addition, some companies have noted a payback period of a few weeks.

What Possibilities Does IIoT Create from the Manufacturing Sector?

From the IIoT, the combination of sensors and analytics allows real-time access to data that was previously unavailable. The findings from this data are fed into the processes along the entire supply chain without delay. This makes it easy, for example:

  • Optimization of processes (e.g. through remote monitoring)
  • Greater flexibility of production procedures
  • Increasing degree of automation
  • Increased operational efficiency and reduced failure rates
  • Faster detection of productivity weaknesses and problems
  • More accurate predictions of machine condition and more efficient maintenance
  • Price savings by avoiding unnecessary repairs
  • Better availability and fewer machine failures
  • Enhanced quality control and decrease of the error rate
  • Improved transparency through worldwide access to machine data
  • Improved technical / customer service

Growth of trend-setting business areas and versions (e.g. supplementary services such as remote troubleshooting or predictive maintenance)

One example of how IIoT can be executed is the ski producer Blizzard. The manufacturing of the skis is controlled by an internal IIoT production management program, which uses manufacturing procedure sensors to analyze real-time operating and machine data (BDE/MDE) and their correlation.

The analysis data indicates which manufacturing parameters will need to be changed if necessary to avoid downtime, delays or defects.

IIoT platforms at the heart of IoT solutions

Powerful IoT platforms analyze the accumulated data from the devices, make it available to the users and send instructions back to the apparatus. They thus provide the basic functions to leverage potential in areas such as smart maintenance and operations management and also to drive developments in the feeling of digital transformation.

A handful of companies rely on Microsoft Azure, but also on solutions from other manufacturers such as Amazon, IBM, Oracle, PTC, SAP and Hitachi.

The US manufacturer Woodward, for example, achieves operational efficiency increases by establishing a more comprehensive manufacturing information system (MIS). The company aggregates its own product-centric software (CAD, PLM) and manufacturing systems (MES, MOM, FMS) using its floor systems and equipment (presses, etc.).

This is made possible by device connectivity and an IIoT platform that joins these system and software applications via a strong and interactive view. By merging the data feeds, the IIoT touchpoints were also increased as workers now have easy access to perform directions and operational data. Woodward also enhanced the tracking of employee training to evaluate augmented reality applications.

IIoT and 5G

For 5G applications in creation, not just the achievable higher bandwidths are decisive, but also the minimum latency times necessary for mobile applications with real-time demands. Industrial applications benefit from 5G primarily through exceptionally large reliability, real-time capability, more data throughput, low latency, much tighter media and greater mobility and IT security.

The 5G standard would therefore be suitable for mobile areas such as mobile robots and tools or autonomous transport systems. Another field of application could be Augmented Reality, which will become increasingly important for business 4.0.