The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing just about everything you can think of from how we shop, drive, communicate, not to mention how we do business.
What Does IOT Mean?
Simply put, devices communicate with each other via the internet. From security systems in our homes to connected manufacturing factory floors, the IoT is affecting how we live and how we do business.
The IoT is having a huge effect on how things are created. In fact, there is a dual impact when it comes to manufacturing—products being manufactured, and how products are being manufactured.
Products Being Manufactured
Electronics manufacturers have been connecting devices and appliances for years, but now the ability to do so through wireless technology, apps, and networks is expected with just about everything being produced. From furnaces to home security, lights, robotic vacuum cleaners, wearables, appliances, home media—the market is already full of products that utilize the IoT.
The next step is creating smart devices that not only perform the tasks at hand, but use daily patterns and analytics to predict when they need to be complete, automatically scheduling their own work routines.
These capabilities must be taken into consideration when designing and engineering products.
How Products are Being Manufactured
Look for big changes as “smart manufacturing” becomes widespread. The use of IoT devices will improve the efficiency and productivity of manufacturing operations. Manufacturers across all areas including automotive and electronics have already invested in embedded devices to monitor equipment and assets, either by obtaining new equipment or retrofitting sensors to existing equipment.
IoT is allowing manufacturers to collect information from the machines and sensors as items are being made, which can help eliminate production delays or errors. Remote capabilities and increased automation allow more efficiency and precision. Further, the visibility into performance and security provides more accurate information about the environment, safety, and projected outputs. Real-time notifications can detect malfunctions much more quickly—sometimes before they occur and overall equipment effectiveness is improved.
Other Manufacturing Efficiencies with IoT
IoT in manufacturing has the potential to disrupt the way companies do business, but when properly integrated, the IoT offers many benefits to how manufacturers work and to the effectiveness and efficiency of their output. Open standards and interoperability can play a critical role, reducing cost and improving chances of success.
- Maintenance: The industrial IoT provides manufacturing companies with a more proactive model of predictive maintenance. Real-time monitoring of machinery and devices allows manufacturers to schedule maintenance rather than arbitrarily reacting when things break, causing production delays or increased expenses.
- Supply chain visibility: In cases where regulations compel manufacturers to keep their components in certain conditions—for example, temperature, pressure, or light restrictions—sensors are being used to ensure the regulations are met. Having the ability to track this ahead of time and in real time can save millions of dollars.
- Facility Analysis: The IoT allows manufacturers to collect and analyze data from several, disparate facilities in order to make better-informed decisions about quality, operations, and efficiency.
- Automation: When machines can communicate with each other without interference from humans, we reduce the threat of human error and boost both efficiency, consistency and quality of the products.
Staying on Top of IoT and Other Trends
Whether you are working on products that will ultimately utilize the IoT or your manufacturing partner is considering automation options, it’s important to keep abreast of how trends such as this can affect you.
ACDi is evaluating and embracing I0T practices designed to increase efficiency and decrease costs in manufacturing, as well helping our clients design and manufacture their IoT technology.