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The Internet of Things (IoT) has been gaining traction over recent years, with many businesses using the technology to improve operations and create safer working protocols. Using sensors including digital twins, businesses are able to collect data in real-time, which improves efficiency. In the manufacturing industry, IoT has made the supply chain safer, made machine safety checking easier, and created safer working environments. Throughout this article, we will take a deep dive into the relationship between IoT and manufacturing and how the IoT is improving manufacturing.
Welcome to Industrial IoT
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has been a consistent trend in the tech space and is leading the charge toward the next stage of the manufacturing industry. Using sensors, platforms, and gateways, IoT is responsible for smoothing out manufacturing processes. Large amounts of data are collected, which can be used to make informed decisions about the manufacturing processes. Having access to such data allows businesses to meet the demand for quick turnover, low-cost products, and high quality.
The IoT is about more than collecting data because it needs a way to transform it into useable information. This is where the IoT meets Artificial Intelligence (AI), analytics, and automated robotics. Through innovation, smart software takes data gathered through IoT and turns it into practical processes, which support workers.
How Business Leaders Can Help
The business landscape shifts constantly, with new operation methods and legislations being introduced all the time. The responsibility is on business leaders to make sure that processes remain up to date. To help stay relevant, businesses can put rising talent through business courses, like this online MBA with Aston University. With fresh talent holding an MBA, you can future-proof your business and utilise fresh ideas.
How Is IoT Improving Manufacturing?
We’ve already established that IoT devices collect data. In manufacturing, this can be used to predict upcoming problems and avoid downtime. To keep up with the speed of manufacturing demands, businesses need to alleviate repetitive stresses from human workers. For example, carrying out regular physical checks takes considerable amounts of time, which can be saved by using remote machine assessments. As well as saving time, IoT is much more efficient because it eliminates the opportunity for human error. Continue reading to find out how manufacturing companies can develop new processes through IoT.
Creating a Digital Supply Chain
Product tracing is important because it helps to reduce fraudulent or tempered-with products from hitting the consumer market. Fortunately, thanks to IoT, products can be tracked in real-time from the assembly line all the way to the shelf. The need for product tracing is apparent in the medical industry, with many criminals creating fake covid-19 vaccines, which is detrimental to end-users and costs businesses a fortune. Thanks to IoT, businesses can buy goods with confidence in their history.
Tracking products not only makes the landscape safer, but also helps manufacturing businesses reduce costs. Tracking truck journeys through IoT, businesses can provide training and edit routes to save money. Further, if you have employees taking longer stops than planned, you can prove it when educating or disciplining.
Making Factories Smart
Supply chains take place outside of the factory, but IoT can have a positive impact here as well. By using sensors, chips, and actuators, manufacturers can capture and analyse essential information. With a thorough observation of output, materials, and machinery, smart factories can reduce the time it takes to manufacture products, which means less delivery time.
Controlling these aspects of the product line means that they can have a positive impact on the environment, which is a hot topic for all industries right now. Further, by using IoT, manufacturers are able to cope with higher rates of build-to-order, with as little as one unit having no impact on profits.
Predictive Tech, Machine Learning and Safer Energy
Facilities that use cooling towers guzzle through large amounts of energy, often unnecessarily. These businesses can use sensors to check internal temperatures and can be combined with weather checking systems. When you blend the machine learning and predictive sensors, you are left with a self-regulating cooling process, which can optimise energy output. Further, when the cooling towers reach a point of shut down, the sensors will vibrate and alert someone to come and perform preventative repairs.
Remote Machine Assessment
Machines need to be kept in good working order to avoid delays. However, checking machinery individually takes considerable time, which means the health of machines isn’t always known. Fortunately, through the use of smart sensors, the equipment can be monitored remotely. To do this, digital twins are used, which allow complex problems to be displayed in a simpler format.
When you combine IoT with machine learning (ML), the software can read ahead of time for potential problems. Therefore, when a potential issue flags, it can be checked and repaired before it causes delays.
Safer Working Environments
Machines are taking over many roles in the manufacturing process, but humans are still needed to input data and maintain equipment. Therefore, a safe working environment is essential and can be achieved through IoT. For example, augmented reality (AR) glasses can protect workers. For example, smart glasses can hold information on work to be completed, which means employees don’t need to carry folders around, which makes using tools safely easier. Further, in a similar way that we use smart assistants at home, speech can be used to control certain machine parts.
These smart devices have GPS capabilities, which means alerting employees of potential dangers has never been easier. For example, if there’s a flood or gas leak, a warning can tell them before they enter the area. Doing all of these will reduce workplace accidents, which can be harmful to businesses.
The IoT is transforming the way all businesses operate, especially manufacturing companies. By using a series of sensors, quality software, and machine learning-enabled devices, manufacturing processes can be made easier and safer. The technology space is evolving all the time, so make sure you keep up to date with processes, which leaders can achieve through taking courses and online research.