IoT is one of the spokes to the technology hub that is driving the wheel of the fourth industrial revolution. That's in fact as it will enable the businesses to have operational visibility and make instant and effective decisions to boost quality and optimize time and cost.
Right from electronics and chemicals to common products, the IoT continues to take over the market. While there have been systems to track the manufacturing process and their progress but the IoT technology provides far more details.
How IoT works in manufacturing?
In order to better understand the IoT, we need to know first about IoT devices. By definition, IoT is mainly a nonstandard computing device that connects through the wireless system to a particular network and transmits the relevant data.
That said, new equipment specially designed for manufacturing are already having IoT sensors. The data capture enabled by IoT primarily derives greater overall efficiency by helping to optimize each phase of the production process. Whether it's general day-to-day operations, the health of machinery or reducing energy consumption, information collected by IoT devices support better decision making and quick alerts when something is going wrong.
There are a few production limitations of every manufacturing unit, but companies are endlessly looking for growth and efficiency, which can be achieved by the implementation of IoT in the manufacturing facility. IoT helps in collecting all the relevant data from the very core of the machines, which can be further analyzed to find any error in the system or any scope of improvement.
A major benefit of IoT is preventive and predictive maintenance. For instance, when a machine uses excessive energy, overheats or begins severely vibrating, through remote monitoring management can see this data and perform maintenance accordingly before any critical failure occurs.
Implementing IoT in your company also enables you to incorporate smart energy management in your company. This type of system helps you to identify waste and opportunities for improvement, reducing your energy expenses and boosting efficiency in the production process.
Moreover, the IoT capabilities do not end with the manufacturing plant only. The network of data capture and analysis can span the entire supply chain, right from procurement of the material to product refinement and tracking to notifying end users when a product needs maintenance or replacement.
Even when the product is at its final destination, whether a business or an individual, IoT has still a role to play. For consumable products, companies can send alerts and to their customers when the maintenance or repair is needed and also monitor for problems.
Advantages of IoT in manufacturing
By now, the advantages of IoT are quite clear. However, the helping hand of IoT reaches over and beyond this efficient manufacturing process. Some of the major advantages include:
An enabled connection between manufacturers and machines.
A better insight into the manufacturing process
Data analysis helps to make smarter business decisions
Real-time monitoring of ongoing activities
Increased product quality
Reduced risks of human error
Improved inventory maintenance
IoT is continuously increasing overall levels of product safety, performance, and durability and improving the processes behind them.
Challenges and Barriers
The cost of IoT implementation on a full scale is a major barrier to its adoption. While companies are already implementing IoT system and taking advantages, many are still remaining and will take some time to grow to the level of a truly comprehensive system. However, the cost of sensors used in IoT is falling over time that makes IoT a more accessible technology.
Another major challenge is “Data Silos.” This means, “A lack of interoperability, either due to technical challenges or unwillingness of part of the companies to work together.” Combining IT with Blockchain can change this, without the need of companies to expose their information to one-another.
In simple words, Data has siloed means “There is one sensor tracking packages, one verifying packages entering the production house, one tracking temperature; none of these sensors can work or collaborate together unless there's a direct integration through API.
And finally, the most sensitive challenge is security. The IoT implementation means connecting several devices to a network, offering potential attackers more chances and entry points. Although the IoT companies are doing a lot at their end to improve the security situations, but maintain best practices and policies remains the core responsibility of the company implementing the IoT system.
All in all, we can't argue about the efficiency of an IoT system and how it takes the manufacturing process to a completely new level. Today, the highly-functioning structures are already using these devices to enhance their production and keep a good control through the whole production process.