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What IoT Means For The Modern Manufacturing Industry

All the technology and concepts related to IoT or Internet of Things have always been the center of attention. IoT has been so influential that it even inspires various industries to take initiatives for complete automation. IoT has had a significant impact on multiple industries such as automobile and medical, to name a few.

Although there has been some usage of sensors and collection of data in the modern manufacturing industry, no one has been using them to their complete potential. With the introduction of IoT, one begins to think what it means to the modern manufacturing industry. Well, let’s take a look and find out!

Impact Of IoT In Modern Manufacturing

According to the world of IoT, there will be an interconnection between controls, actuators, and sensors on equipment and machine to computer applications. When you interconnect every single device in this industry, it will have a significant impact on the efficiency and productivity of different manufacturing processes. According to the Mint Jutras Enterprise Solution Study 2016, about 45% of the manufacturers believe that they can use IoT for this specific purpose. Even though the manufacturing industry have been using different types of sensors and data collection devices, their role and use were limited to a certain extent.

The IoT world also talks about how all the products of manufacturing can be made smart. Smart products allow manufacturers to collect data about customers so that they can continue to improve their services. The same Mint Jutras Enterprise Solution Study 2016, shows that 40% of the manufacturers believe that IoT will have a considerable impact on products by making them smart.
About 61% of the manufacturers are connecting their production equipment to the internet to improve their services and productivity. On the plant floor, manufacturers are using mobile devices with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) readers to keep track of transactions. Supervisors on the plant floor are doing away with clipboards and using tablets that connect directly to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. Every time there is a development on the plant floor, the staff members get an alert on their smartphones.

According to the Mint Jutras Enterprise Solution Study 2016, 48% of the industrial equipment located in customer sites have connections to the internet for better maintenance. About 56% of the manufacturers are connecting IoT with operational scheduling and management applications for higher efficiency. 52% and 50% of the manufacturers are using their warehouse management system (WMS) and Manufacturing Execution System (MES) along with IoT.

Examples of IoT in Modern Manufacturing

Conveyors are one of the many types of equipment in modern manufacturing that uses IoT for better operations. There is a Hytrol Toolbox app which allows users to access information about conveyors from anywhere in the world. With the help of this app, users can look for conveyor parts online. At the same time, if users enter the conveyor ID in this app, it will give them a list of parts used in that particular conveyor. Users can also look for installation and maintenance manuals for conveyors and download them immediately. As you can see, the Hytrol Toolbox app reduces the repair time significantly by making it convenient for users.

Lift trucks are another type of modern manufacturing equipment that has seen significant improvement due to IoT. Users can now use real-time location, cloud-based views, and wireless networks to use lift trucks effectively and efficiently. For example, Seegrid Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) which the ability to build 3D maps of any manufacturing facility using navigation sensors. With the help of these 3D maps, the AGVs can navigate through manufacturing facilities by following a specific route. These AGVs no longer require landmarks, positioning systems, or even human assistance to function properly in the manufacturing facility.

Aberdeen Group report on IoT in Modern Manufacturing

A study by Aberdeen Group in August 2017 provides even deeper insight into IoT and modern manufacturing. According to their study, 74% of the top-performing companies in this industry are using IoT to gain visibility of their performance in worldwide global manufacturing. 71% of these companies also use IoT to get visibility of quality in real time. 60% of them can schedule predictive maintenance without any problems. At the same time, about 47% of them were able to integrate IoT data with their manufacturing systems.

In other words, due to the top-performing companies need to improve the efficiency of operations, they have been integrating advanced analytics and the data collected from IoT. They use IoT for obtaining real-time information from operations, processes, and equipment. The data collected by IoT systems can be used to gain visibility in manufacturing.

Similarly, to improve the reliability of assets and reduce unexpected downtime, top-performing companies are using prescriptive analytics. Prescriptive analytics allows companies to go through large amounts of IoT data, find patterns, optimize assets, operations, processes, and products.
As Industry 4.0 is becoming a reality, the manufacturing industry has seen a tremendous change. Various companies are now using IoT, cognitive computing, smart manufacturing and advanced analytics. By using these technologies, they have been able to improve maintenance of their assets and operational agility, responsiveness, and quality.

As long as manufacturing companies continue to keep up with IoT, there will be a significant improvement in productivity and efficiency!

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