IoT in Manufacturing and its Applications and Benefits
IoT in Manufacturing
With the advent of digital power, the consumer’s approach towards personalization and experience has evolved and this has driven up the popularity of the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT refers to a network of physical objects that are embedded with software, sensors, and other suitable technologies that help to connect and also exchange data with other matching systems and devices over the internet. These devices may be everyday objects or even industrial tools.
Popular examples of IoT include fitness trackers like FitBit and voice assistants like Siri or Alexa. This number of connected objects is only expected to rise in the future.
IoT in Manufacturing – The Current Scenario
IoT has managed to interconnect different technologies and bring them under a single umbrella. This growth has primarily been due to increasing requirements for centralized and remote management and monitoring, maintaining manufacturing infrastructure, and increasing adoption of cloud services.
With these in focus, it seems that implementing IoT services in the manufacturing sector is perhaps the best way to bring in digital transformation.
How does IoT help
IoT solutions are aiding businesses to schedule predictive maintenance routines, collect data, and also help organizations enhance their operations. Three major technologies empower IoT to be a promising technology, 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), and Big Data.
Today, no industry runs without at least one or more of the abovementioned technologies: agriculture, robotics, health care, smart city, retail, or home automation. IoT has numerous use cases covering everything from telemedicine, to public cameras for monitoring, and remote healthcare. it is also taking giant strides in the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) industry.
IoT in the manufacturing industry is often referred to as IIoT which expands to the Industrial Internet of Things. IIoT has vast implications for manufacturing operations.
The availability of IoT infrastructure and robotics in one manufacturing organization means there would be more companies that will be ready to take advantage of IoT in this industry
Adoption of IIoT in the Manufacturing Industry
IIoT(Industrial Internet of Things) can be considered a subcategory of IoT when used in an industrial context. In IIoT different digital tools connect data and machines that are installed in factories which makes them smart allowing optimal productivity and quality.
Whereas IoT is a consumer-centric concept, IIoT is focused on supply chain, manufacturing, and management.
Adoption of IIoT
Expectations are sky-high when it comes to adopting IIoT in the manufacturing industry. This area is robust and has a never-ending demand for steady growth and personalization together with supply complexities that always exist. In addition to all of these challenging needs, enterprises, and manufacturers are looking for different ways to compete and be ahead of their competitors.
Three Significant Factors Reveal How IoT Aids The Manufacturing Sector
1. Reduced Costs
Manufacturers use IoT because they can manage inventory efficiently, effect agile operations, and reduce their operational costs. Smart connected products allow manufacturers to move from merely selling products to selling experiences. This means they have to keep a watch on post-sales service as much as product usage.
2. Mass Customization
This is the biggest draw of IoT. Mass customization requires an increase in different products and tools, resulting in a diverse inventory. The operations are complex and require a possible and manageable solution. IoT facilitates mass customization by acting as a real-time data source through techniques like scheduling and forecasting.
3. Less Time to Market
With faster and more efficient marketing, the product cycle time is less. Harley-Davidson used IoT to reconfigure its work and also improve its manufacturing facility, and this drastically reduced the manufacturing time of one single bike to just 6 hours from 21 days.
Benefits of IoT in Manufacturing and Related Industries
IoT technologies have, in many cases, become game-changers for manufacturers. In addition to this advantage, the actionable data that is generated benefits the manufacturers and many other related industries. These organizations can break open the data silo and access information at all or any level. Because of this, operators, supervisors, and engineers get a chance to gain more visibility into production. This can help them to improve efficiency on the production floor.
Read our blog: “Remotely Access IoT Devices”
Businesses also have a chance of making more informed decisions because of the available data support. Therefore, personnel at all levels from different departments can detect problems and optimize operations using IoT.
The following are the benefits of using IoT:
- Ability to track assets
It will be possible to track products anywhere along the supply chain and notify the different stakeholders of caution and possible damage to their goods.
- Managing facilities
IoT-connected sensors will allow you to measure and keep track of conditions such as temperature, humidity, and vibrations. You can detect conditions that will affect operations negatively and alert the concerned persons beforehand.
- Better machine utilization
The IIoT allows you to connect machines to the Internet and you can get an insight into machine lifelines and their other KPIs. This data is of great help to fix issues and reduce unplanned downtime.
- Predictive maintenance
Real-time data from IoT devices can help to predict defects in tools and machinery in advance. This helps to save downtime and increase the overall productivity and the associated costs that you save by reducing processing time.
- Connecting remote assets
When tools and devices are connecting via IIoT, data from different remote assets are easily available from a central location. This data can be examined and monitored and allows you a higher degree of control.
- Process, behaviour monitoring
Managers can gain more insight into their employees’ performance by using IoT data in enterprises. As an example, it is possible to identify defects in a specific manufacturing step. They can then perform a root cause analysis. This would translate to quality assurance, cost savings, and better scalability.
Components of IIoT
The IIoT links smart assets, data communication infrastructure, software and analytics, and lastly, the people involved. The last connection generates actionable data to improve manufacturing and operations.
- Smart assets
These smart assets contain interconnected devices, application software, security components, controllers, etc. These can communicate and possess local intelligence. They support analytics with the help of this connectivity and provide the observers with valuable information.
These smart assets can be digital equipment, plant instrumentation, edge devices, embedded systems, and data communication infrastructure. These smart assets require the Internet and other technologies to establish communication. IIoT systems are commonly deploy on cloud infrastructures like AWS. They store, manage, and process data with the help of remote servers.
- Software and analytics
IoT software is designed to analyze the data collected via devices and systems. There is also an interface provided to interact with other systems. Cloud-based software provides more benefits to manufacturers than on-premise software. The results are greater speed, flexibility, and reliability.
As the most overlooked component of IIoT, people interact with the system and make decisions based on the data generated and its analysis. This leads to better decisions. Here, a balance is maintain in the interactions between the people and IoT components in the organization.
Use cases of IIoT
Given below are some of the real-time use cases of IIoT
- Machine Monitoring to track OPE/OEE
It is possible to track Overall Process Effectiveness (OPE) and Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) using the data collected on machine uptime. This provides more visibility and allows you to monitor state data. This can be done via sensors that are connect to IoT gateways.
- Inline Quality Assurance
Using smart assets such as callipers, scales, and machine vision cameras in quality check departments, will help provide more accurate precision than a manual inspection device. You can also install quality checkpoints anywhere in the production process to catch defects in advance.
Poka-Yoke refers to a manufacturing technique that allows you to “mistake-proof.” An example would be to use IoT scales to detect the weight of a product. If out of specification, it signals a mistake.
Read our blog:“AiAgent on Multitech MultiConnect Conduit”
IoT adoption in Manufacturing/Business – Challenges
Just as we know that IIoT has many benefits, it is also important to realize that its implementation brings about some challenges.
The biggest challenges are related to privacy issues and data security, lack of qualified systems, uncertainty about ROI, etc., among others.
- Data security/privacy issues
Major IIoT adopters currently have the belief that IIoT’s implementation increases the vulnerability of its systems and increases the risk of cyber-attacks. Each IoT device they believe represents an attack surface that can allow hackers to access your data.
- Uncertainty in ROI
IoT requires major investments in hardware (sensors, gateways), cloud storage, connectivity, and administrative labour, among others. Businesses and industries have to work out appropriate solutions to generate a good ROI.
- Lack of qualified personnel and systems
Industry experts opine that a majority of employees are unfamiliar with IoT usage and require more training and expertise. Other surveys also state that the system lacks specific skills in embedded data, Big Data, electronics, and IoT security.
IIoT helps to maximize productivity, reduce cost, and eliminate waste in manufacturing and businesses. Leveraging IoT technologies and data helps you to derive a better understanding of demand forecasting and the supply chain process. All these together make for a better customer experience.
Q1: What is a smart factory?
A1: A smart factory is one with the connectivity of IIoT and the ability to capture and store process data. A smart factory, therefore, enables smart manufacturing with centralized networks linking assets and connecting factories digitally across the world.
Q2: What is Big Data?
A2: The vast amount of process data that is capture from smart factories is called “Big Data”. This data is define by volume, velocity, and variety. The amount of big data is vast as thousands of sensors on hundreds of different machines and processes continuously produce and collect data readings regularly.
Q3: What is meant by data analytics?
A3: Analytics is the process of analyzing and interpreting data to find meaningful patterns to improve existing processes.