With increasing market competition, manufacturers need to explore the latest technologies to gain a competitive advantage and uncover the best solutions to enhance their operations. Also, as customers’ needs and expectations rise, the manufacturing companies need to meet those changing demands and stand up to their expectations. So, to stay competitive in today’s market, most manufacturers rely on digital transformation. Manufacturers are setting up smart production units and automating their manual tasks with the help of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). This revolutionary technology has allowed businesses to adopt smart manufacturing. It involves creating a network of sensors to collect critical production data for streamlining industrial processes. The connected industrial machines generate data that provides valuable insights about the manufacturing operations and ensures production efficiency.
IoT-enabled manufacturing plants can achieve greater efficiency, reduce production costs, avoid errors, and prevent downtime. When digital sensors are embedded in machines, it provides higher visibility and allow controlling production processes. Moreover, automating manual tasks reduces the risk of human error and increases the production and supply speed. Industrial IoT, also referred to as Industry 4.0, involves amalgamating industrial hardware and advanced software. With the help of internet connectivity, IIoT helps in creating a technically-driven, smart work environment. It also includes technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and machine learning.
IIoT Application in Manufacturing
Manufacturing is at the forefront to explore the benefits of this technology. IIoT offers a multitude of benefits and has immense potential for the manufacturing industry. It not only automates the production process but can also transform warehouses and the supply chain. IIoT in manufacturing not only benefits the producers but also has benefits for the target customers. Now, let’s take a look at the major applications of IIoT in the manufacturing industry to understand this technology better.
1. Quality Control
IIoT enables manufacturers to monitor production conditions and keep an eye on goods as they move through the production cycle. Condition monitoring involves checking the production progress and uncovers defects that could impact the quality of the final product. Smart monitoring allows production managers to rectify the flaws and ensure top-notch quality when the product reaches the market. Monitoring involves checking parameters such as machine performance, equipment calibration, machine speed, vibration, as well as environmental conditions like temperature, humidity, and moisture. If anything reaches beyond the normal thresholds, it could impact the product quality. So, monitoring the entire process helps in identifying issues and eliminates the risk of producing low-quality products.
2. Predictive Maintenance
Another amazing application of IIoT is predictive maintenance that can significantly reduce equipment maintenance costs, as well as prevent costly downtime. The traditional method of equipment maintenance is a time-based approach. However, sometimes equipment develops issues and breakdown unexpectedly which results in a sudden production halt. But when these machines are embedded with smart sensors, managers can keep track of their condition and take timely action before a major issue arises. Timely repairing machines helps in avoiding downtime that results in cost savings. Predictive maintenance depends on the data generated with continuous equipment monitoring. By analyzing data such as temperature, pressure, vibration frequency, and more, the manager can make a smart and timely decision.
3. Inventory Management
IoT-driven industries also adopt smart inventory management solutions that allow warehouses to automate inventory tracking and reporting. The smart sensors allow locating each item effectively which saves time and ensures the timely delivery. With the help of IoT and RFID technologies, each item is labeled and a unique ID is used to fetch the data from the tags. The tags on the items can be scanned to get information and automate inventory tracking processes.
4. Ensure Workplace Safety
Industries such as mining, oil & gas have certain operations that can put workers in danger. Even other manufacturing plants and factories involve processes that can be risky and has a risk of fatal accidents. So, to ensure the safety of industrial units and avoid accidents, IIoT offers solutions that can keep track of environmental factors such as above normal temperature, excessive vibration, and other issues that can undermine the safety of the workplace. Also, some manufacturers provide RFID tags and wearable sensors to their workers that gather data about their heart rate, body temperature, galvanic skin response, and more. When any parameter deviates from the normal range, an alert is issued.