The Internet of Things is not a new technology by any means, yet it’s only recently made its way into the manufacturing industry. With 2020 turning out to be like no other in global history, the manufacturing industry bore its brunt. Coupled with the massive decline in production and enforced shutdowns, the manufacturing output saw a significant dip worldwide. And yet, the industry is fast catching up with its past years by using promising and innovative technologies such as the Industrial Internet of Things.
The Industrial Internet of Things grew from $61.8 billion in 2017 to $77.3 billion in 2020. This figure is predicted to increase to $110.6 by the year 2025.
What are IoT Sensors for Manufacturing?
Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) means interconnected IoT sensors, instruments, and devices that control and monitor industrial manufacturing processes. Although the IoT sensors can be used in any industry, their significance is felt much stronger when used in manufacturing and production facilities.
The primary purpose of IIoT development services is to enhance production efficiency, quality of work output and improve predictive maintenance. In addition to improving overall efficiency, it also helps reduce human errors and costs of money and labor. Its significance is also felt in quality control and equipment maintenance.
IIOT, IoT Sensors and Advanced Monitoring
IIoT refers to the Industrial Internet of Things which is the interconnection of data, sensors, devices, and equipment in manufacturing facilities to capture accurate and real-time information about the entire operations process.
The sensors in IIoT help provide detailed information on equipment in the facility, monitor performance of the equipment, identify problem areas, and the overall operations. By analyzing the collected data from the interconnected sensors, manufacturing companies can immediately respond to issues and improve processes.
Advanced monitoring offers an analysis of gathered real-time information so that manufacturers can understand how their production lines are working. Different types of IoT sensors collect data on the machine status, process, measurements, downtimes, and other metrics needed to run the facility.
How Industrial IoT Sensors Are Improving Manufacturing
IoT sensors and interconnected devices are helping the top players in the manufacturing industry gain a competitive advantage on a global level. Let’s quickly look at how this technology is ushering in a new industrial revolution of sorts.
1. Improved Operational Visibility
One of the significant advantages of IIoT sensors is their ability to collect accurate real-time data. The modern production floor is generally dotted with sophisticated machinery, high-end equipment in a clean and safe manufacturing environment, a far cry from the dirty and dangerous production facilities of the early 20th century.
IIoT sensors allow companies to gain visibility into every aspect of the entire operation. These sensors collect and transfer real-time data about environmental conditions, identify safety issues, problems with processes, provide current production status, and help workers operate remotely.
The information gathered by the sensors is transferred to data analysis centers, fed into sophisticated algorithms and analytics programs to draw meaningful insights, observe trends, and streamline operations for enhanced production.
2. Predictive Maintenance
IIoT sensors help in the predictive maintenance of equipment. Industrial machinery is getting more complicated by the day, and they need to be maintained well for the production line to work efficiently. A malfunctioning machine will increase downtime and reduce efficiency. Worn-out parts can also bring the entire operation to a halt.
IoT development services go a long way in helping manufacturing facilities maintain their machinery by undertaking predictive maintenance. The sensors estimate the performance of components, schedule maintenance, and arrange for replacement parts in advance.
3. Autonomous Equipment
Most equipment downtime is usually caused by human error. Regardless of the advancements we make in technology, mistakes are bound to happen as long as humans operate the machine. While automation is not entirely new to the manufacturing sector, industrial IoT sensors make it more autonomous than worker-dependent.
Autonomous equipment refers to a system’s ability to make decisions based on several changing parameters and factors. IIoT sensors have access to real-time data from machines, and they can use this information to assess the environmental changes and tweak the operations accordingly. These decisions are possible only because the sensors have access to vast amounts of data.
4. Logistics Transparency
Logistics plays a huge role in running manufacturing operations efficiently. Companies should always be aware of the location of their critical assets in the supply chain. The purpose of factories producing goods is to make sure they reach their target market without getting lost in the supply chain. With IoT RFID tags attached to each piece of the manufactured product, companies can now gain greater visibility into their logistics.
5. Edge Functionality
Industrial machinery, these days, are sophisticated pieces of equipment that can carry out operations autonomously and efficiently. Having equipment near the end-user will eventually reduce the operations and transportation costs.
IIoT sensors can give the equipment the required processing capabilities to function using cloud computing networks. These sensors also allow the machines to operate autonomously, gather valuable data, and complete tasks independently until the device can be connected to a centralized server.
How to use sensors in monitoring
When you can connect all your devices, equipment, and systems, you will be able to improve the efficiency of your operations and reduce costs significantly. IoT sensors can be effectively used to identify the lifecycle of the manufacturing process – all the way from procurement of raw materials to final delivery.
Let’s look at some of the uses of sensors in monitoring:
● Preventive maintenance
Preventive maintenance is, perhaps, the essential use of IIoT sensors. By collecting information about a machine’s usage, it will be easier to predict when needing repairs or replacement.
Preventive maintenance will also reduce the overall machine breakdown time by triggering alarms if deviations in the numbers are found.
IIoT sensors can also give out warning alarms if the machinery is being tampered with or if the parameters are being changed without authorization. Some equipment and products also have a GPS tracking system to be easily found if stolen.
● Monitoring quality
Sensors present in the equipment can monitor the workings of a production line. It can detect problems related to the speed and consistency of the manufacturing process and take preventive action before the issues start affecting the entire system.
● Efficient process
Since the sensors gather real-time information, it is possible to respond to problems quickly and take corrective action before it impacts the entire production process.
The Future of IoT Sensors for Manufacturing
IoT sensors are entirely transforming how manufacturing companies have been operating. As more and more industries are employing IoT sensors, the industry’s future is only looking brighter. Since these devices can collect real-time information, they can monitor equipment, processes, and employees even from remote locations.
Monitoring using sensors not only saves money it also reduces unnecessary usage of equipment. Sensors detect abnormal vibrations, fluctuations, and temperature variations using the signals received. This information helps determine if equipment failure is in the offing, and preventive maintenance can be undertaken.
The Industrial Internet of Things provides manufacturing companies greater visibility into their operations, production line, data collection, and real-time data analysis to deliver an efficient working system. Many companies are also making use of cloud-based sensing-as-a-service solutions to optimize their production line. Coupled with a transparent supply chain and enhanced infrastructure, industrial manufacturing companies can improve productivity, boost sales, and improve customer service.