The Internet of Things (IoT) Manufacturing process is a method to convert the traditional manufacturing process into a digital one without replacing the existing facility and equipment. Incorporating IoT into manufacturing processes reduces manual work and strengthens supply chains for a more adaptive and connected production process.
Innovation has been at the forefront of humanity, we’ve evolved from Australopithecus to Homo Sapiens to now Modern Humans! The world is changing rapidly and in this evolving world no sector is left without a touch of technology. Advancement has enhanced our daily lifestyle by adding unprecedented amenities, leading us to spread our wings on the horizon.
This blog will dive deeper into the role of IoT in the Manufacturing Industry and the key elements that will play prominent roles in changing the industry landscape. According to McKinsey & Company, a potential value of $3.7 trillion can be unblocked by 2025 with the help of IoT. The Industrial Revolution transformed the process of creating goods by hand to using machines. The current neologism of Industry 4.0 focuses on the rapid advances of IoT, which enable manufacturers to stay agile and transform the age-old traditional manufacturing processes by digitizing everything.
History has seen many pivotal moments in the evolution of manufacturing. The integration of IoT is the next phase where sensors & connectivity give the power to equipment to become smarter, exceeding the limits of traditional manufacturing methods.
When a new technology arrives, it also brings many speculations and doubts, this blog will navigate through all the questions and concerns to understand and overcome the challenges to make optimum use of AI & IoT.
Let’s reshape the manufacturing industry!
What is IoT?
IoT stands for Internet of Things, a network of equipment that is less with sensors which allows them to connect with each other and transfer data over the cloud. These devices may be household appliances, wearable devices, or heavy industry machinery.
The beauty of IoT is that it gathers, processes, and analyzes data autonomously, there is very little or no human interaction required to learn about the valuable insight that the data may provide. IoT devices have an edge in automation capabilities that streamline the entire process and make it easy.
How can IoT help in manufacturing?
IoT offers numerous advantages in the manufacturing sector by revolutionizing and enhancing overall efficiency. Here are some of the benefits that IoT offers in this sector.
The industrial machinery used in the manufacturing processes is of very high cost and to ensure the maximum return on investment the organization always pushes for its maximum utilization. The downtime of these machines can be very heavy on the balance sheet of the organization. IoT sensors can predict upcoming maintenance and downtime in advance depending on the types of data that are gathered. The data may include temperature, vibration, use of energy, accuracy, etc. This type of data can be very helpful to take proactive actions and prevent any anomalies that may arise. The data can also predict which timeline will be better for the maintenance where production suffers the least. IoT-embedded sensors not only help in maintaining but also ensure the lifespan of the equipment is exceeded.
IoT has a very profound impact on the performance of manufacturing capacity. The manufacturer can gain a vast amount of data by integrating the IoT sensors around the entire production process. This process optimizes the performance through data-driven insights. Once the potential breakdowns and downtime are reduced, the overall efficiency of equipment can be maximised. IoT implementation also focuses on continuous improvement from the gathered data, which leads to strategies that utilise the available resources and huge cost savings which weren’t possible till now.
A manufacturer always wants to build a loyal customer group that chooses its product over another brand’s offering, on the other side, the customer always wishes for a consistent high-quality product from its trusted brand. Ensuring high-quality products is always the top priority of the manufacturers. The traditional quality check-up methods follow an old approach of gathering a sampling and assuming the overall production quality, which sometimes fails to detect defective products. IoT traces each product individually which allows real-time monitoring of the entire production chain. This data analyses deviations in the production process and alerts immediately so that correct measures can be applied which leads to no compromise in the quality.
Seamless connectivity lies at the heart of IoT-based production. The interconnection of equipment and processes offers agile efficiency to the factories. If a manufacturer operates multiple factories in different locations, IoT tech can be used to interconnect those factories and streamline production with one primary method. The autonomous capabilities reduce errors and take relevant actions when they are operated in one primary method, rather than multiple methods for different locations.
Reduction in Cost
The optimization of the production affects deeply in reducing the manufacturing cost. As mentioned earlier, predictive maintenance and downtime impact the cost of unnecessary measures. Identifying energy inefficiencies can optimise the consumption of resources. The constant pattern of energy requirement can help reduce utility costs and switch to more environmentally friendly methods.
Real-time inventory tracking helps to maintain the ideal stock of raw materials and finished goods required at any given time period. This process saves overstocking and maximum utilisation of the logistical services. The demand for certain types of products faces fluctuations throughout the year. Festivals, Policies, or market sentiment play a huge role in developing the demand for a product. Real-time inventory with predictive power can help you order in advance the required raw materials depending on the demands that may arise in the future. IoT-enabled machines can learn on their own and run an accurate analysis throughout the year.
The entire process of manufacturing is scattered initially, organisations spend millions of dollars throughout the period to smoothen this process and connect all the suppliers, forecast demand, sort out logistics, and partner with relevant stakeholders to ensure maximum production capacity is reached. IoT-enabled production offers a shared collaboration to make this process seamless. The end-to-end data of goods throughout the supply chain allows transparency and improves inventory forecasting.
Maintaining the highest standard of safety is essential for organisations to ensure their employees are never exposed to any dangerous situations. Instruments equipped with IoT technology create a safer work environment. The sensors used in the IoT equipment can help monitor the condition and status of the machine live. For a facility where high-temperature or toxic gases are produced or used, enabling the IoT can help measure the exposure to these types of conditions and alert the workers about it. The GPS sensors in wearable devices can provide real-time data on workers. This approach serves as a proactive safety measure that prevents accidents.
Cybersecurity is a critical concern when dealing with products led by the Internet and new tech. IoT can offer solutions to detect suspicious activities and provide secure authentic solutions, preventing unauthorised access accounts from data that may be of higher sensitivity. Regular updates of IoT devices can safeguard protocols with encryption. The continuous learning and monitoring ability helps to avoid vulnerabilities and breaches in the security systems.
Below are a few components that are crucial to making the most of IoT
IoT Sensors in Manufacturing:
The sensor integration enables the existing machinery to provide real-time data. This data can range in different parameters such as temperature, humidity, biometrics, air pressure, visuals, etc. Once connectivity takes place and facilitates these devices, they become live. These sensors provide enhanced visibility and help in making smart decisions that are more effective.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Human Intelligence is known to be the most advanced thing on the planet. Every AI researcher is trying to mimic a certain part of intelligence. The manufacturing process is very vast and there are many areas that need to be covered in it. AI offers multiple technologies such as artificial neural networks, large language models, and computer vision. These technologies can mimic human tasks with the same or in some cases better accuracy. Voice recognition-enabled smart speakers are the primary example of it. Predictive maintenance, ensuring the best quality, and maximum utilisation of resources are possible with the use of AI in manufacturing.
Data is the new currency. In the 21st century whoever owns the data, owns the world. When IoT-based equipment receives data, it is raw and requires processing to understand and unveil patterns and predictions. There is always very valuable data hidden beneath this equipment which can help in making insights-based decisions. Data Analysis can help to learn from real-time insights, predictive analytics, continuous improvement & updates.
The development of algorithms enables machines to think, and learn. They identify patterns, optimize the process of manufacturing, and surpass the efficiency levels of production. Machine learning analyses the IoT data and classifies the information in real time, adding layers of quality controls to reduce the ratio of defects. It is the backbone of the entire IoT-based manufacturing process. These technologies continue to evolve, and the integration of IoT, Data Analysis, and Machine Learning can provide the required synergy to revolutionize the process to become more competitive in the market.
Having raised humanity above the beastly level of survival struggles, we will now aim to upgrade humans into gods and turn Homo sapiens into Homo deus.
- Yuval Noah Harari
Humans have always dreamed of superpowers, and in some cases mimicked them with the use of technology. The people who work in creating these types of technology are also an important component in this area since without them nothing is possible. They will be creating, using, updating, and making decisions that will give them an edge and produce better work than previous generations.
What is IoT?
IoT stands for Internet of Things. It connects physical devices with sensors which gives it the power to gather data, analyse it, communicate and interact with other devices, and learn from it. These devices can perform various tasks autonomously.
How can I add IoT to my equipment?
To integrate IoT into your equipment, you need to Integrate different types of sensors depending on your needs. These sensors then collect the information and transmit it to a central module that analyzes and provides calculations and further actions based on it.
What are the requirements to enable IoT in manufacturing?
To enable Industrial IoT solutions, you need to fulfill the below-given requirements.
Connected Sensors – Equip your machinery with the required sensors
Internet – Provide an internet connection so the sensors can transfer the data
Connectivity – All the equipment has to be interconnected to provide the collective data.
Security – Ensure your data is secure and not compromised by any means
Data Analytics – Once the data is received, it is required to be processed and provide insights and predictions based on it.
Is it worth spending on IoT?
The investment in IoT is nothing compared to the benefits that you’ll reap from it. Increased efficiency, cost reduction, employee safety & much more. If your strategy aligns with more growth, you should explore IoT-based manufacturing in detail.
What are the top companies using IoT?
All the leading companies around the globe are leveraging IoT in Manufacturing, the list includes Amazon, Microsoft, Walmart, General Electric (GE) & more. IoT is thriving in every sector from manufacturing to healthcare, and technology. IoT in automotive Industry is also playing a huge role with leading brands such as Tesla, Ford, and GM using it.
Which Equipment can be embedded with IoT sensors?
There are multiple sensors available in IoT, so it depends on what type of data you want to extract from your machinery. You can equip manufacturing machinery, vehicles, appliances, and infrastructure with IoT sensors.
In summary, IoT in Manufacturing can reshape the traditional practice of producing goods. Interconnected devices can not only enhance production quality, they also focus on optimising the entire supply chain management.
“As we stand in front of the ocean of technological; advancement, we must remember: that the shore of progress moves further with new innovation. To stand still is to be left behind.”
“Technology is like an ocean of advancements, to keep up with it we need to keep swimming in the ocean, inability to recognize and adapt to new waves can lead to drowning”