6 Ways the Internet of Things (IoT) Will Transform the Manufacturing Industry
The internet of things, or IoT, has changed the way you live your life. You can request an Uber, control the lights in your home and check flight statuses in real time all from your phone — but technology does more than make your life convenient. IoT is also revolutionizing the manufacturing industry. Around 18 percent of industrial companies use the internet of things and more are adopting it every day.
Here are just some of the ways that the internet of things is transforming the manufacturing industry.
When the internet of things meets manufacturing, assisted assembly becomes a real possibility. According to Industrial IP Advantage, “Seeking to reduce disconnects between the manufacturing and enterprise networks, manufacturers are adopting converged intelligent networks are reducing downtime by allowing remote access to systems and partners and delivering precision, resiliency, and reliability from the plant floor to the enterprise” — and that’s something that can make a real difference throughout the supply chain.
When you combine IoT-enabled assembly with smarter equipment performance and connected facilities, you make it easy to improve your operational quality across the board. You can increase your production yield, decrease waste and reduce costs. This type of asset tracking has been around for a while, but the way it works is changing. “Freight and shipping companies have used barcode scanners to track and manage their inventory. But new developments are making these scanners obsolete, as they can only collect data on broad types of items, rather than the location or condition of specific items,” writes Business Insider. “Newer asset tracking solutions offer much more vital and usable data, especially when paired with other IoT technologies.”
The internet of things can also provide a way to incorporate external data into your manufacturing operation. Take food manufacturing, for instance. “A real-time external database could notify sensors in food processing plants to test for recently reported bacterial or viral strains,” explains Specialty Design. “E. Coli could be caught in a distribution plant well before being served to a Chipotle customer.” Connected facilities could be tied into customer service as well so that the plant or operations manager can be notified about prevalent issues.
New IoT developments have the capacity to develop a sort of cognition. Enabling sensors and other intelligent capabilities produces a system that can sense when something is not working properly before the issue becomes a problem. IoT-enabled manufacturing can communicate the source of issues so you can take action early, expediting any equipment repairs and causing less downtime. Called predictive maintenance, this technology would not be possible without the internet of things.
Connected operations are also transparent. Whether you outsource to another company or receive outsourced work, the IoT lets you communicate statuses in real time throughout your manufacturing process. This could be the exact phase of production, a time stamp of the production date, the tech responsible for that particular product or your need for fresh supplies. In either case, transparency improves efficiency as well as your accountability.
The manufacturing industry can be dangerous, but IoT can help. Depending on the equipment and materials used, the risk for injury could be high. With the internet of things, you can enjoy safety feedback that keep your crew and your investment protected. For instance, you could install air quality sensors to provide early warnings about changes in equipment temperature or detect harmful chemicals. These technologies are part of a broader IoT system that can help keep everyone safe and your plant secure.