The expansion of smart devices has reached a level that no one can ignore. Devices with wireless connectivity are more present in people’s homes today than not. But smart technology has some heritage in a place that precedes the rise of the smart devices we know and love today: manufacturing.
Smart devices or the Internet of Things (IoT), takes connected sensors and intelligent devices and puts those technologies to use directly on the manufacturing floor and machines, collecting information to lead artificial intelligence and predictive analytics.
IoT is driving unparallel disruption in an industry that has struggled in recent years due to talent shortages, and this offers hope for the industry’s future. IoT can transform traditional, linear manufacturing supply chains into dynamic, interconnected systems that can more readily provide real-time data and insights. This technology is helping to change the way that products are made and delivered, making factories more efficient, and, in some cases, saving millions of dollars.
The Power of Prediction
One of the greatest benefits of IoT solutions, like Voice of the Operator, is how it can dramatically improve operating efficiencies. If a piece of equipment goes down, for example, connected sensors can automatically pinpoint where the issue is occurring and trigger a service request, without human initiation. Perhaps more importantly, IoT devices can help a manufacturer predict when a machine will likely breakdown or enter a dangerous operating condition before it ever happens.
The smart sensors work by analyzing the sound frequencies, vibrations, and temperature of a given piece of equipment to tell if it’s working within the normal condition. This process is time consuming when humans do it manually. By using these sensors to collect and quickly analyze data points in the cloud, prediction becomes easier.
Beyond saving money and time, IoT can keep manufacturing employees safe. If a piece of equipment is reaching a dangerous temperature, for example, operators will be warned well before something disastrous could happen.
It’s All About Location
Another huge benefit of IoT is location tracking. Workers can spend a lot of time locating tools, equipment, and finished goods inventory, but with IoT connectivity, that time is reduced significantly. This also means that the workers don’t have to spend time putting the tool back where it belonged. Thanks to smart sensors, the system will always know where the tool is and will tell workers where to find it.
IoT and the Leasing Model
While IoT is already boosting efficiency, productivity, and safety in the manufacturing industry, the future of IoT could disrupt enterprise business models, too. Companies could see the growth of high-value equipment—ranging from manufacturing robots to aircraft engines—being leased instead of being sold outright. This will allow manufacturing companies to focus on their work instead of worrying about the condition of the equipment that they use to do it, further increasing productivity and efficiency.
As the manufacturing industry continues to adopt IoT technology, these results provide a clear business case. IoT solutions are changing the landscape of the manufacturing industry and giving companies a competitive advantage over others who are not adopting the technology.
How will IoT improve your processes? Contact us to learn how we can guide you through the process of implementing IoT into your manufacturing operations.
Author: Brad Smith, Director of IoT Analytics
Other articles you might be interested in: