IoT has already initiated the fourth industrial revolution – known as Industry 4.0 that has triggered the huge paradigm shift in manufacturing. Most manufacturing companies think of flow of material separate than the flow of information and try to sync the two along their supply chain. After the emergence of IIoT, flow of the material and information will become inseparable as products will be inextricably linked with their information so becoming an information-driven organization is no longer an option for most manufacturing companies, it has become a business imperative.
Manufacturing companies are finding themselves in unfamiliar terrains where they must connect their processes, resources, systems with their equipment and devices to leverage the data in order to reduce cost, improve productivity, enhance efficiency and stay competitive. IoT can transform a manufacturing plant into a smart digital factory where devices can interact with devices, communicate with each other and exchange crucial data necessary to take critical decisions. Investment in the IoT by manufacturers will translate to billions in spending. According to Business Insider magazine – “Global manufacturers will invest $70 billion on IoT solutions in 2020. That’s up from $29 billion in 2015”.
IoT has the potential to radically improve visibility in manufacturing to the point where each unit of production can be “seen” at each step in the production process. Batch-level visibility is being replaced by unit-level visibility. Smart manufacturing is about creating an environment where all available information—from within the plant floor and from along the supply chain—is captured in real-time, made visible and turned into actionable insights. Smart manufacturing comprises all aspects of business, blurring the boundaries among plant operations, supply chain, product design and demand management. Enabling virtual tracking of capital assets, processes, resources and products, smart manufacturing gives enterprises full visibility which in turn supports streamlining business processes and optimizing supply and demand.
In essence, smart manufacturing is a decision-making environment. Very importantly, smart manufacturing includes proactive and autonomic analytics capabilities, making smart manufacturing an intelligent system. With smart manufacturing organizations can predictively meet business needs through intelligent and automated actions driven by previously inaccessible insights from the physical world. Smart manufacturing transforms businesses into proactive, autonomic organizations that predict and fix potentially disruptive issues, evolve operations and delight customers, all while increasing the bottom line.
Below are some of the use cases where IoT can help manufacturing companies:
- Smart manufacturing through connected shop floors
- Manufacturing flow optimization
- WIP inventory reduction
- Waste elimination
- Performance monitoring and optimization
- Optimizing operational cost through real-time information
- Real-time data analytics and visibility traversing across the manufacturing operation and making required adjustments
Manufacturing Asset Management
- Asset tracking and remote monitoring of equipment performance
- Potential breakdowns and damages
- Remote monitoring and control of equipment temperature to conserve energy
Equipment Condition Alerts and Notifications
- Identifying bottlenecks
- Ensuring uninterrupted production lines
- Increase throughput
- Minimize downtime
- Optimize the availability and utilization of machines through predictive maintenance
Identifying Causes of Product Quality Issues
- Identifying causes of product quality issues by aggregating and analyzing the data collected in different stages across the entire supply chain