How to Leverage IoT & IIoT in Manufacturing Today

Posted February 18, 2021 in Communications

Technological advancements continue to make IoT technology easier to implement and open doors for a wider variety of companies to benefit from IoT applications.

While large enterprises began to invest sizable resources in IoT technologies years ago, the beneficiaries of this latest wave of IoT maturity will be small and medium-sized businesses. You may not have the means to execute massive IoT implementation, but you can still invest in easy-to-use IoT solutions today.

Why IoT Gained So Much Traction?

The ubiquity of embedding sensors and chips into physical objects is a reality. Once only conceptualized by Sci-Fi books and movies, this technology has merged into the daily fabric of our lives. IoT has changed normal activities such as driving, cooking, and shopping.

Maturing underlying technologies have made IoT easier to implement and help companies seize new opportunities. IoT is driving significant transformation in many business sectors, including manufacturing. In fact, for manufacturing, IoT has already grown into IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things).

IoT and Manufacturing

You can leverage IIoT technology today. The following are a few easy-to-implement examples of how you can use IoT to help with day-to-day operations, save money and drive profitability now.

IoT Transforms Equipment Monitoring and Maintenance

IoT devices have different sensor points for temperatures, vibration, humidity, voltages, currents, etc. This real-time data allows you to estimate machinery’s current condition, determine warning signs, transmit alerts, and activate repair processes. You can turn equipment on and off and monitor power usage and production levels all remotely. IoT can significantly improve your company’s predictive repairing/maintenance capabilities and can deliver many potential benefits leading to higher profitability:

  • Prolong equipment lifetime
  • Reduce energy consumption
  • Improved delivery times
  • Contribute to facility safety
  • Lower risks of accidents
  • Elevate employee productivity by reducing downtime
  • Reduce repair and replacement costs by minimizing full equipment breakdowns

IoT to Improve Worker Safety

While those Sci-Fi movies may conjure images of robots using IoT to take over factories, IoT is not necessarily here to replace workers. Instead, IoT can help to keep us safe. You can utilize IIoT solutions to focus on the human side of manufacturing by creating smarter and safer work environments for employees.

Workers in manufacturing and warehousing experience some of the highest work-related injury rates. The top three leading causes of their injuries are overexertion, slips, trips, falls, and equipment contact.

IoT devices can reduce risk by identifying hazards and preventing injury. Here are few ways IoT is helping to keep workers safe.

  • As I discussed above, predictive equipment monitoring is key. Employees working with or around heavy machinery face a higher degree of risk.
  • Outfitting workers with IoT wearable devices can actively ensure that only authorized personnel enter designated areas, reducing the risk of untrained or inexperienced individuals putting themselves in harm’s way. Wearables can alert individuals and supervisors of signs of overexertion. Think of your smartwatch on steroids.
  • In addition to wearables, actual facilities and rooms can be IoT equipped so that safe distancing and limited occupancy can be maintained.

It is so exciting to see these advances in technology and how they support businesses, including manufacturing and their overall impact on our lives.