The advent of IoT is revolutionizing possibilities for industrial business solutions. Connected technology is transitioning from our homes and offices and into our factories, warehouses and transportation hubs; this phenomenon is now known as Industrial IoT (IIoT).
The Industrial Internet of Things, also known as Industry 4.0 (i.e. “The 4th Industrial Revolution”) has resulted in automation that has already led to a 30 percent boost in productivity and the adoption of flexible production techniques.
Predictive maintenance is reducing the cost even further by saving more than 12 percent on scheduled repairs and bringing breakdowns down by nearly 70 percent.
For example, the equipment’s operating parameters are monitored regularly by staff or automatically by sensors. Then it is analyzed and used to determine the status of the equipment and forecast future performance or possible failures.
Industry adopters of IIoT include manufacturing, logistics and transportation, healthcare, energy and power production, oil and gas, and agriculture. The manufacturing industry has seen the most investments by far and is the main factor in the introduction of IIoT.
By 2020, global manufacturers are expected to invest $70 billion in IoT solutions, which is up from $29 billion in 2015. Overall, the Industrial IoT market is expected to reach over $123 billion by 2021.
Such rapid market growth predictions make it clear and how promising these new applications may well be. Logistics and delivery companies have already experienced the many advantages of traditional IoT, but the following are additional uses and benefits of Industrial IoT in six significant areas:
1. Condition-based Maintenance
Combining IIoT sensors with manufacturing equipment enables condition-based maintenance alerts. These sensors record temperature, humidity and other atmospheric conditions in the working environment, the composition of materials used, and the impact that shipping container/vehicle environmental conditions have had or may have on the product. All this information is beneficial to quality control.
Equipment can sustain damage over time, so by having IoT sensors that can actively monitor the temperature, vibrations and other factors that could be causing problematic operating conditions is helpful in facility management. By establishing this kind of conditional awareness of machinery condition, manufacturers can reduce costs, increase operational efficiency, conserve energy and reduce machine downtime.
2. Real-Time Data
IIoT solutions can allow for real-time availability of supply chain data. They make it easier to track products and supplies, as well as spot slowdowns and inefficiencies. By connecting plants to suppliers, all parties involved within the supply chain can trace material flow and manufacturing cycle times.
These solutions can also track operational data to original equipment manufacturers and field engineers which allows operation managers to regulate factory units remotely and take advantage of process automation and optimization. Hence, these solutions make streamline everyday workflow effortlessly.
3. Error Prevention
IoT applications help reduce and often even prevent errors in inventory management and production flow. Software allows companies to monitor events across the supply chain and track inventory around the globe. Users receive notifications of important changes from the set plan as well as updates. This enables visibility across many channels into inventories and provides managers with realistic measures and estimates for materials.
The processes in production lines can also be monitored using IoT in almost real-time. It can recommend adjustments in operations for better management of operational cost and even point out lags in production. These solutions prevent slowdowns and decrease costs by eliminating waste and unneeded work.
4. Enhanced Safety
The Industrial Internet of Things allows Big Data analysis to be even more effective. This means Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of health and safety can be monitored to assure better working conditions. Some examples of KPIs are the number of employee injuries, short- and long-term absences, and illness rates. Lagging indicators like the number of accidents can be taken care of instantly.
5. Packaging Optimization
Manufacturers can receive beneficial insights into the way customers use and handle a product through the usage of IoT sensors in products and packaging. Smart tracking tools monitor products that may have been damaged during transit by the weather, road conditions or other environmental factors. Insights gained can help fix or alter the products and packaging to make sure later shipments are not compromised by the time they reach the customer.
6. Smart Metering
Smart meters track the consumption of resources such as fuel, water, and electricity. Hence, plant managers will know exactly how much has been consumed, and how the resource was utilized. This can allow operational expenditure to be decreased through more effective planning and management.
The rise of industrial IoT is bringing the factory of the future into reality. Materials handling, manufacturing, product distribution, and supply chain management will all continue to be automated in the years to come. By embedding connected systems, devices, and sensors into business processes, organizations are able to improve existing operations, as well as produce more effective business models.
In the future, experts suggest that Industrial IoT will enhance production levels even further and become the driving force behind increased innovation. The workforce itself will also be transformed as a part of the extensive automation process through the collaboration of producers and suppliers.
For example, Amazon’s newest warehouse is testing the limits of automation and human-machine collaboration. Robots move goods around Amazon warehouses and also reduce costs and allow better use of floor space for the online retailer.
IIoT is changing industries and driving extraordinary levels of performance, productivity and efficiency. It allows industries to gain a multitude of operational and financial improvements. With all of the expected benefits, it is safe to say IIoT will continue to have a monumental impact on industrial efficiencies and drive improved business outcomes.
One example of an industrial IoT product created through IPS is the TV/movie production lighting control system for our client, Lighticians!
All this was performed by a top-notch team of engineers, software developers and UX/UI designers from IPS working intimately with the Lighticians team members who include Gaffers and domain experts in content production. The result is an industrial IoT system with a true market value optimized to fit the application needs of the real users and stakeholders.