IoT is short for the Internet of Things. In an industrial setting, this becomes the Industrial Internet of Things or IIoT. This term used to describe the instruments and application of sensors and devices connected to the processors and machinery required to complete certain processes in the industrial setting. They all work in concert to achieve multiple goals.
Industrial IoT is related to the automation of tasks that would either be difficult or impossible for a human to perform, accurately gather data about (or from) and document. The use of devices designed for this purpose remove risk and replace it with consistency and accuracy. These qualities ensure the accountability required in heavily-regulated industries that rely on the excellent quality of the data.
This article explores five common industrial applications of IIoT.
1 – Facility Management
The use of management systems is difficult in the industrial setting. Not only are they hard to properly implement, but maintenance is a major concern. Introducing Industrial IoT to the facility greatly reduces costs related to processes. This, in turn, streamlines the entire process. How IIoT works in this application is simple to understand.
Strategically placed sensors automatically gather data on pre-selected conditions. They provide a means to constantly monitor and track those conditions and will trigger an alert if conditions fall outside of prescribed parameters. This reduces time and effort dedicated to facility management that would otherwise require manual reporting and recording of conditions.
2 – Optimization of the Supply Chain
There is no practical way to keep track of activities throughout a complete supply chain without the use of electronic devices. This is an area where Industrial IoT stands out the most. Using numerous sensors in locations that could not be accessed by any other means, makes it easier to monitor the complete supply chain with real-time data collection.
Inventories become simple to monitor with RFID tags and manufacturers can maintain realistic visuals on their products as they move through the supply chain process. This provides them with better data for monitoring product delivery timelines and the current status of products. IIOT is a high-tech and highly accurate version of inventory control for manufacturers.
3 – Environmental Monitoring
Minute control of temperature and humidity levels can be the difference between compliance and non-compliance in many different industries. Devices such as smart internet-enabled data loggers can assist with this by creating the ability to transmit data collected through scheduled sampling rates to the cloud for ease of accurate remote monitoring of specific areas.
These devices are cost-effective because they provide consistent recording of data in settings where it may not be feasible to manually collect data. Called data loggers, these tools are portable and durable and fit any environmental monitoring application. Companies such as Dickson offer data loggers that can transmit data directly to a server, computer, or smart device.
4 – Increase Operator Productivity
The productivity levels of the manufacturing workforce can and will increase in several ways as a result of implementing Industrial IoT. For example, operators using IIoT enabled tools can complete processes quicker without negatively affecting quality.
Plus, using these advanced tools reduce time spent adjusting tool settings for performing multiple operations. The IIoT enhanced tools can be programmed to automatically adjust for each task, increasing productivity and flow.
5 – Speed Improvement Cycles
Engineers also benefit greatly from the use of IIoT. This includes process engineers, quality engineers, manufacturing engineers, as well as other types of engineers working on the shop floor can benefit simply by needing to contribute less to the overall manufacturing process. The ability to automate data collection is what makes the difference.
By using IIoT, time that would otherwise have been spent manually collecting and analyzing data can be devoted on higher level tasks. Engineers can use data collected by and from automated devices as the basis of all improvements to processes already in train. This makes better use of their time and expertise while creating major cost savings and resulting in a streamlined shop floor.
Other Examples Where IIoT Is Effective in Industrial Settings
Another way IIoT has proven itself effective in industrial settings is quality control. With ongoing monitoring through a series of connected sensors, processes can be assessed and adjusted as required. Although this is possible through manual monitoring, with IIoT can reveal problems earlier. This, in turn, means repairs and alterations instituted much faster, thereby saving money and inventory.
With a series of sensors continuously monitoring and tracking multiple conditions, access to this up-to-the-minute record of conditions provides managers with the information they need to identify minor problems before they develop into something serious. With advance warning, remedies can be put in place to correct issues related to compliance and condition that would otherwise have gone undetected and thus impaired quality.
New technology has made several manufacturing processes much easier to navigate. With the use of Industrial IoT, several different devices can be connected to provide a monitoring situation the likes of which has not previously existed. The use of data loggers allows environmental conditions to be tracked and needed changes can be noted instantly and remotely.
For manufacturers, IIoT presents a means to watch and follow the supply chain of individual products in real-time. This provides data for more accurate timelines and better preparation for the arrival of products. IIoT is the new way to increase worker productivity and free up engineers to make greater use of their high-level skills. This technology also improves accuracy and flow of machines so that multiple tasks can be completed with minimal need to manually adjust equipment. None of this would be possible without the use of new technology and something called the Industrial Internet of Things.