As Industry 4.0 continues to blaze footprints through the first quarter of the 21st century, it is crystal clear that the IIoT (Industrial Web of Things) is the upcoming industrial revolution. By realizing foreseen benefits of IoT in manufacturing, global manufacturers are heavily investing to interconnect equipment to upgrade the existing factories into smart factories.

A research showcases that by the end of this year, manufacturers will spend $70 billion in the IoT technologies and IoT solutions, a sharp accretion from $29 billion in 2015.

It has been realized that over 3-4 months of implementation, manufacturing units have enhanced their overall equipment efficiency by 24%, reduced the merchandise defects by 16%, increased labor utilization by 12 points, and increased the production point output by 10%.

There are hundreds of use cases of IoT folks are talking over the web.

Following are the 4 key IoT use cases early adopters are contemplating to implement in manufacturing business:

1. Asset Utilization

In the world of IIoT, future predictions and tech applications are comprehensive; risks are unclear and standards haven’t been established yet but selected business applications have raised as drivers for near-term adoption. One such driver is enhancing asset utilization.

According to an Industrial Internet research by the World Economic Forum, maximizing asset utilization ranked the top reason to adopt IoT technology. 79 percent of the respondents cited the reason”extremely important” or”very important” for early adoption.

From sophisticated PLCs with automatic fault codes to low-energy consuming battery powered apparatus for connectivity on older lines, Industrial IoT is revolutionizing asset management. Out-of-the-box cloud-based asset management applications automate the data analytics which automatically generates key performance indicators (KPIs) in real-time.

For the first time ever, small to medium-sized manufacturers are now able to access the operational analytics to maximize their manufacturing opinions the same way as the big guys’. But, the single and most important question is what the heck they can do with it?

Many SaaS-based (Software as a service) asset management software promote ROI within 6-12 months without significant CapEx investment. But, simply having access to asset information doesn’t enhance asset utilization. (Wait did you just say, No IIoT magic wand?) . In the real world, asset management apps trigger changes that are not necessarily high-tech.

To explain this contradictory statement further, a particularly obvious example can be a disposable goods manufacturer which encountered an issue just a few weeks after installing the asset management system.

In a procedure that required paste application, operators were unnecessarily adding extra glue to the procedure. The additional adhesive was the primary source of downtime events costing $63,000 annually.

2. Product Development

Faults and shortcoming at the final product upsurge expenditure and overburden employees in a manufacturing process. To mitigate these issues, manufacturers can utilize the IIoT features and one such is Digital Twins. It replicates the developing product in a digital form.

By retrofitting sensors, manufacturers gather data about their equipment’s entire working mechanism and the expected output from each unit.

The data, ingested from the digital replica, enables managers to analyze the efficiency, effectiveness, and accuracy of the system. It also aids in identifying potential bottlenecks in their product that helps managers to create a much better variant of the products.

3. Supply Chain Management

IoT devices track and trace the inventory state in real-time. Manufacturers can track their supply chain by having real-time insights to the available resources. It includes information related to the Work in Process, equipment collection, and the delivery date of required raw materials.

Some of the IoT vendors also supply the integration of their IoT solutions with the existing ERP systems of manufacturers that eliminate the need for manual documentation for operations.

It avails the facility of cross-channel visibility into multiple departments and assists the stakeholders in examining the undergoing advancement that in return reduces the cost due to mismanagement and lack of analysis in the organization.

4. Predictive Maintenance

Maintaining equipment up and running significantly decrease the operational expenditures, saving manufacturers millions of dollars. By using sensors, cameras, and data analytics, managers in the range of various manufacturing lines are now able to determine when a piece of machinery will fail before it actually does. IoT-enabled systems can sense warning signs using data which assists managers create maintenance timelines and program gear service before any difficulty happens.

By leveraging real-time data from sensors and devices the operation managers can easily access current conditions of gear, recognize warning signals, get alerted of issues, and get rid of wasting time to scheduling maintenance.

The possibility to get the real-time meaningful information on time will allow managers to know which equipment requires maintenance which leads to better planning of maintenance work. All of it counts into higher Overall Equipment Availability. So, your systems remain online while workers stay on task.

How To Increase Your Operational Efficiency

One of the many benefits of IoT in manufacturing is how it improves operational efficiencies. For example, if a machine isn’t operating at a favorable state or about to go down, the attached sensors can help figure out the potential breakdown and activate a service request to an engineer. 

IoT takes a preventive maintenance approach to the next level by saving manufacturers thousands of dollars on unwarranted repairs and replacements.