Top 5 benefits of IIoT: Supercharge your manufacturing business and achieve optimum performance

Top 5 benefits of IIoT in manufacturing
Digital Transformation / IoT

Top 5 benefits of IIoT: Supercharge your manufacturing business and achieve optimum performance

The Internet of Things is transforming the world as we know it and ushering in a new era of connectivity. Smart connected devices are rapidly disrupting every vertical from retail and education to healthcare and entertainment.

The manufacturing industry has been quick to catch on to the IoT revolution, and an industry that was once slow to evolve is now digitizing at Godspeed. This movement, known as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), is enabling manufacturers to:

  • Boost operational performance
  • Ensure safety and compliance
  • Increase flexibility and agility

Digitization is no longer a choice for manufacturers; they now compete for business on a global scale while managing rising consumer expectations along with supply chain threats like outbreaks, disasters, and conflicts. To cope with these challenges, manufacturers are increasingly turning to IIoT as the cornerstone of their Digital Transformation initiatives. 

If you’re looking to add a strong competitive edge to your business, IIoT is your best bet. The benefits impact everything from maintenance to supplier logistics and employee workflows. Before you set out to reap the benefits of this miraculous technology, however, let us first understand how it works and what it can do for your operations.

What is Industrial IoT (IIoT)?

The industrial internet of things (IIoT) is the use of smart sensors and actuators to enhance manufacturing and industrial processes. IIoT leverages the power of smart machines and real-time analytics to take advantage of the data that dumb machines have produced in industrial settings for years.

For example, the equipment’s operating parameters are monitored regularly by staff or automatically by sensors. These parameters are analysed and used to determine the status of the equipment and forecast future performance or possible failures.

Manufacturers are increasingly using IoT to turn their warehouses into smart factories. A smart factory is a manufacturing or production facility that is highly digitized, a place where the systems are interconnected with each other, and data is exchanged about each aspect of production in real-time. 

This communication flows smoothly and seamlessly between the different systems and the entire production process happens automatically without any human interference. A full-fledged IIoT-enabled operation encompasses 4 different aspects:

  • Smart machines equipped with sensors and software that can track and log data.
  • Robust cloud computer systems that can store and process the data.
  • Advanced data analytics systems that make sense of and leverage data collected from systems, informing manufacturing improvements and operations.
  • Valued employees, who put these insights to work and ensure proper manufacturing function.

Now that you understand how IIoT works, let’s dive into the benefits of this technology.

Benefits of IIoT

1. Improved efficiency

The biggest advantage of IIoT is that it gives manufacturers the ability to automate, and therefore optimize their operating efficiency. Robotics and automated machinery can work more efficiently and accurately, boosting productivity and helping manufacturers streamline their functions.

Additionally, physical machinery can be connected to software via sensors that monitor performance on a constant basis. This enables manufacturers to have better insights into the operational performance of individual pieces of equipment as well as entire fleets.

IIoT-enabled data systems empower manufacturers to improve operating efficiencies by:

  • Replacing manual tasks and functions with automated, digital ones
  • Making data-driven decisions regarding all manufacturing functions
  • Monitoring performance from anywhere – on the manufacturing floor or from a beach in Hawaii
2. Streamline inventory management

One of the biggest challenges in inventory management is having just enough supply on the shelves without running out or overstocking; it requires a perfectly timed re-order. 

Devices such as wearables, sensors, and radio-frequency identification tags (RFID) deliver insights about where items are located, their status, movement, and more. With real-time asset tracking, and alerts, warehouse and supply chain managers can monitor events across a supply chain.

        Case study: Product traceability App using RFID tags

Complete visibility into inventories facilitates more accurate estimates of available material, the work-in-progress, and the estimated arrival time of new materials, thereby optimizing the supply chain and reducing costs.

Additionally, IoT can facilitate a collaborative approach to supply chain management. By connecting manufacturing facilities to suppliers, IoT enables supply chain managers to better identify interdependencies, manage the material flow, and fine-tune manufacturing cycle times.

3. Enhance safety

“Smart manufacturing” is also enabling “smart security”, with all of the IIoT sensors working together to monitor workplace and employee safety.

Integrated safety systems are protecting workers on the floor, on the line, and in distribution. If an accident occurs, everyone in the facility can be alerted, operations can cease, and company leadership can intervene to resolve the incident. This incident can also generate valuable data that can help prevent a repeat occurrence in the future.

A newer option some manufacturers are utilizing is the use of wearable technology among their employees. Wearables help leadership keep tabs on things like employee posture and the surrounding noise levels, enabling them to improve work conditions and performance. 

They can also alert employees when they aren’t following proper workplace safety procedures, so they can correct their actions and stay safe on the job.

4. Turbocharge quality control

Before the advent of IoT, manufacturers managed quality control on a reactive basis. If something went wrong with an item, it was up to the workers on the floor to identify it on time. 

But even the best assembly line worker is prone to error and oversight. Consequentially, manufacturers were seeing high rates of scrap material with significant post-production rejects.

In a smart factory, however, equipment is programmed to monitor the quality of materials, look for defects, analyze equipment performance in real-time, and measure and test the finished product. If a problem occurs at any point on the assembly line, it can be addressed immediately.

On the human side, visual work instructions make it easy for workers to capture and share best practices for efficient in-process quality checks. The combination of machine-equipped sensors that talk to each other and digital work instructions that support more efficient worker outputs ultimately prevents costly delays and wasted material.

        To read more: Leverage Computer Vision for Quality Control
5. Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance for industry 4.0 is a method of preventing asset failure by analyzing production data to identify patterns and predict issues before they happen. 

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 of shipping container/vehicle environmental conditions on the product. 

Having IoT sensors that can actively monitor the temperature, vibrations and other factors that cause problematic operating conditions is a boon to facility management. By establishing this kind of proactive monitoring of machinery conditions, manufacturers can prevent asset failure, lower costs, and reduce machine downtime.

Enable Manufacturing Companies with Industry 4.0 SolutionsIn a nutshell

Industrial IoT is quite literally Digital Transformation on steroids. With 16 years of experience in holistic IoT implementations, we have the ability to spearhead a successful IoT transformation for your business. 

Our custom IoT solutions will empower you to connect, manage and monitor your machines on the go, resulting in reduced costs and increased efficiency. 

Talk to us and find out how you can leverage IoT to drive growth for your business!

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