While Industry 4.0 and the digital transformation keep powering manufacturing, the Internet of Things is the key to industrial transformation and revolution. For sure, manufacturers have heard of the benefits the technology brings. Though, it’s not clear enough whether it is worth investments.
Or is it just hype?
Safety, reduced costs, improved maintenance, increased efficiency, and process automation — manufacturing IoT promises to bring these advantages to life. Let’s analyze the IoT use cases that can help the manufacturing industry produce top-notch products faster and at a lower cost.
Case 1: Predictive maintenance
Basically, the Internet of Things is a system of interconnected devices delivering data to the central cloud-based service and sharing it with end-users. When the IoT is applied to manufacturing and industrial processes, it’s called the IIoT – the Industrial Internet of Things.
IIoT mostly deals with increasing efficiency and avoiding unexpected outages of industrial assets. As machines are inclined to breaking during the production process, being able to predict when maintenance is required can significantly reduce both maintenance costs and the equipment’s TCO.
Predictive maintenance means more than ever with IIoT and AI. Technologies help manufacturers monitor inventory and track supply chain to eliminate downtime, prevent the stock shortage and business losses as a result. Industrial IoT sensors and applications allow controlling products in stock by sending real-time alerts or notifications.
For manufacturing, predictive (more efficient, in other words) maintenance equals significant savings. When it comes to industrial equipment, IIoT can increase efficiency and evaluate machine performance. By indicating which machinery needs to be examined and serviced, IoT enabled predictive maintenance helps to maximize the effectiveness of equipment and prevent future performance failures.
Case 2: Virtual prototyping
One of the emerging trends of 2019 in this direction is the digital twin technology.
The growing number of industrial businesses implementing IoT projects use the digital replica of their assets to reveal their devices’ state, evaluate performance, and improve operations.
Additionally, with customer satisfaction being more important than ever and manufacturing companies being restructured to become more service-like, the digital twin rush is an opportunity for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to differentiate their product and enhance it with a new value-added service. This allows manufacturers to reimagine the business potential of their products and offer new data-driven solutions to their customers.
Such an IoT manufacturing application allows to simulate the work of machines to predict potential issues and reduce bottlenecks. By foreseeing how equipment is going to work without launching it saves an unimaginable amount of money. Before investing in any hardware, firmware, or software, you can mitigate risks and minimize costs by creating machinery replicas — digital twins. With checking system’s functionality, you’ll become more confident in your asset management.
Case 3: Process automation
Manufacturers can automate almost all of the processes with the help of Industrial IoT applications. Smart sensor networks that are connected to a cloud system can offer a vast amount of control on manufacturing workflow. Applied in manufacturing, technology allows reducing human intervention with smart sensor networks connected to the IoT cloud system.
Almost all resources can be tracked and traced globally with the help of smart IoT devices. The industrial IoT applications help manufacturers and business managers, in particular, control the demand and optimize supply accordingly, eliminating waste and reducing shared costs in the value chain. IoT reduces manual labor, substituting human effort for tiresome evaluations and checks with automated 24/7 control over machinery.
The real-time data gives plenty of opportunities when it comes to resource optimization. Leveraging this data helps manufacturers gain better visibility over the manufacturing and supply chain processes without human control. Connected industrial IoT sensors maximize manufacturing and enterprise productivity through maintaining production uptime.
The future of industrial IoT applications
Considering the scale of IIoT, it will help manufacturing reach new heights of industrial capacity. Returning to the main goal of the industrial IoT applications — produce better quality products times faster and times cheaper — the future of this tech is quite promising.
With all the benefits and opportunities for improvement IoT offers at the moment, it’s high time for manufacturers to uncover a significant potential this technology brings to the far-off future. It will help enterprises enhance visibility over existing assets, improve efficiency, and identify trends that can transform quality performance and revamp operations.