Since the emergence of Internet of Things (IoT), the discussion revolves around how it could affect our daily lives. From using drones for surveillance and food delivery to controlling room temperature using smartphone, the IoT devices have slowly become part of lives over the last couple of years.
Perhaps one of the most ruminative applications of IoT is in the manufacturing industry. With every year, more and more companies have invested huge pile of money in IoT in manufacturing and the terms such as Industry 4.0 and Industrial IoT have become ubiquitous.
According to Allied Market Research, the global IoT in manufacturing market would garner $994 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 13.1% from 2017 to 2023. That’s because of the rising demand for customization, complexity of the supply chain, and surge in the use of IoT. Moreover, in an attempt to improve productivity and quality of products, manufactures have turned their heads toward IoT systems.
How IoT could transform manufacturing
The major cause of productivity loss is downtime in manufacturing and IoT in manufacturing could help to minimize the downtime. IoT devices offer the ability to transmit real-time data to better monitor every production process and one can remotely monitor each machine. Moreover, one can set up guiding protocols set-ups to effective use of machines. This way manufactures can avoid potential breakdown by limiting energy usage.
IoT in manufacturing offers predictive maintenance due to the smart sensors attached to machines analyze several parameters such as sound frequency, environmental aspects, and vibrations. If some abnormalities occur, sensors could alert supervisors and they can mitigate potential threats even before they present themselves. This helps in prolonging the life of the machine and significantly reduces downtime.
Usually, the checkups are tremendously time-consuming and manual maintenance increases the downtime more than ever. However, IoT in manufacturing can break this vicious cycle, and engineers can use smart sensors and monitor industrial machines and address an issue whenever it is needed. What’s more, workers can use wearable devices to support maintenance tasks and use augmented reality technology to deal with specialist maintenance tasks.
IoT in manufacturing significantly improves the safety of workers. In fact, one of the prime reasons why IoT in manufacturing was appreciated is its ability to prevent harmful workplace situations. With the use of predictive analysis, IoT systems can alert regarding collisions and offer guidelines regarding workers’ body movements to offer the most efficient way to carry out procedures.
In addition, IoT systems remove the immediate physical interaction of workers with machines, which improves their safety. Now, most of the procedures that involve potential life risks are carried out by robots. For a manufacturing company, occupational injuries result in major human and financial costs. IoT systems save both as these IoT installations could indicate dangerous working conditions, presence of hazardous substances, and excessive noise or temperature levels before it harms any worker.
With adoption of IoT, supply chain management becomes more data-driven. Using technologies such as RFID tags and GPS, one can track products at any point in time during its shipment. Moreover, manufacturers could use sensors to monitor granular data, such as temperature, storage conditions, and estimate how long it would take to reach the customer. This would drastically improve vendor relations as it would add transparency between vendors and suppliers. As IoT devices could easily improve management, it would better optimize inventories then humans.
The future for IoT manufacturing
The next big thing in IoT manufacturing is Software-as-a-Services. SaaS, a cloud-based service that enables data access from any device with the Internet connection. In addition, SaaS solutions are cheaper and do not demand installation. However, the adoption of SaaS is worthless without investing in security reinforcements.
Similarly, cloud computing has made its way into manufacturing to effectively share real-time data and data analysis. Cloud computing and big data analytics could aid in anticipating maintenance requirements. However, as more IoT devices are connected, more and more data need to analyze. This demand edge computing as it improves overall response time and saves bandwidth. The collective use of cloud computing and edge computing holds the key to Industry 4.0 and smart factories.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to incorporating IoT, cloud computing, machine learning, and other advanced technologies in manufacturing. Although it may seem overwhelming to adapt to the rapidly-changing culture in industries, it is safe to say that IoT in manufacturing is bound to revolutionize the manufacturing industry.