The new age of working with hardware is here with Internet of Things, commonly referred to as IoT. It is a simple technology in which, hardware and machinery that aren’t digital, are digitalized and used via digital wireless mediums of the internet. This machinery could be anything from a simple toaster to a high end robot that is used to assemble vehicles!
Internet of Things started as an end-user experience enhancement technology with products like thermostats, lights, smart-homes etc., but as the technology has grown tremendously, even Internet of Things manufacturing is an interesting prospect.
The thought of controlling heavy machinery with the help of a remote workstation might have seemed like science fiction, but with the help of IoT, this has become a reality. Earlier, a smart-home was the trending practical ‘use case’ implementation of IoT, but now connected factory is trending in the field of industrial manufacturing, just like smart cars in automotive industry.
Main Industrial Internet of Things Use Cases
There are various ‘use case’ scenarios where Internet of Things could do wonders. Some have already been realized and rigorous work is going on for the rest. Here is a list of several use cases of IoT in Industrial manufacturing:
Manufacturing operations is one of the largest use cases in terms of IoT. Internet of Things manufacturingoperations are the pillars of Industry 4.0, a concept that refers to the digitalization of industries in general. These operations include various elements like asset management, performance optimization, monitoring, intelligent manufacturing, human machine interaction and cyber physical systems. About 57 percent of all investments in Internet of Things go into manufacturing operations.
Production Asset Maintenance and Management:
Asset maintenance and management is one of the most challenging tasks for big industries. With the help of IoT, tasks like asset tracking and monitoring from remote location becomes easy. Monitoring of parameters like quality, potential damage, performance, breakdowns and bottlenecks gets easier with the help of Internet of Things manufacturing. Optimization and performance has been tremendously enhanced due to IoT in this segment.
A majority of the investment and spending in the Internet of Things manufacturing segment is done in the above mentioned use cases. With the help of IoT, industries have been able to boost their performance tremendously. A lot of IoT-based machinery is now being implemented in various industry levels.
The best part about IoT is that you don’t actually need to revamp your entire machinery. All you need to do is add IoT functionality to them. With the help of IoT, digital remote signals are converted to mechanical signals, which are then used to control and operate machinery. IoT functionality also allows close monitoring of performance, which ensures lesser downtime and more productivity.
Future of Internet of Things Manufacturing
Manufacturing is a vast field and IoT is just a tool that helps in optimization and better productivity in the field of manufacturing. It still has a long way to go to convert the mechanical industry into Industry 4.0.
IoT and digitalization directly impact all elements of organization namely infrastructure, people, processes, and integration of all these is essential for streamlined, automated and smart manufacturing.
Here is how IoT might impact these elements in the near future:
- Infrastructure: The concept of smart infrastructure has been around for quite some time now. Things like robotics, analytics and mobile applications have already taken industrial manufacturing to whole new levels. With the help of IoT, these technologies can now be completely integrated with the hardware, thus giving even more control and efficiency.
- Processes: Processes in the supply chain like the information highway between the supplier and customer can now be converted to a real-time connection with the help of IoT. Using Internet of Things, we can now get visibility at a granular level and meaningful insights in the process.
- People: Although workforce is still one of the most important things, the future might see a shift in skill-set. Instead of knowing machining skills, people would be making decisions using data that is generated from IoT-enabled machines.
- Products: Almost all machines are now becoming smart as they are embedded with intelligence using Internet of Things sensors. Unintelligent machines can now use the plethora of data available to them due to the internet and make informed decisions on their own during manufacturing, thus cutting the middleman. Slowly, machines won’t need any human intervention at all as the plants would get fully automated soon.
Internet of Things manufacturing isn’t a new field as IoT has been making rapid strides in manufacturing for a while. Pretty soon, the entire manufacturing sector would have IoT embedded, thus increasing efficiency and productivity in a big way.