The Internet of Things (IoT) and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are transforming manufacturing today, addressing the increasing demand for product customization, and changing customer expectations, especially surrounding the challenges associated with global supply chains and worries regarding cybersecurity.

86 % of manufacturers have already adopted IIoT solutions, with 84% reporting they found them incredibly effective, according to a 2017 Bsquare IIoT maturity poll. IIOT enhances productivity, supercharges efficiency, and drives competitive advantage, therefore contributing to rapid expansion in spending on IIoT technology, using a projected increase from $1.67 billion in 2018 to $12.44 billion in 2024.

The manufacturing sector’s investment on IoT solutions far exceeds that of any other industry, reaching $178 billion in 2016, more than double the second-largest market (transportation).

Here are seven things you should know about IoT in manufacturing.

Reduced Manufacturing Costs

The combination of minimized machine downtime, optimized asset and inventory management, efficient energy usage, agile operations, and supply chain management will significantly reduce operational manufacturing costs and reduce product cycle time. 

The usage of IoT devices in the manufacturing industry will result in an additional financial value of between $1.2 and $3.7 trillion before 2025, McKinsey predicts.

Mass Product Customization Capabilities

IoT solutions will enable manufacturers to design products specifically tailored to customer demands. The changing manufacturing procedures that accommodate this mass customization is going to result in a massive increase in SKUs, ultimately making stock management more complex.

IoT solutions address this complexity by linking once-isolated parts of the manufacturing process so that production can be easily scaled up or down, leading to happier customers and less waste. These solutions can also be employed to monitor changes in demand to further customize products and forecast production. Over 76 percent of early adopters claim IoT solutions are increasing insight into customer preferences.

Discrete Manufacturing Will Account for the Majority of IoT Spending

Discrete manufacturing, which appears set to outpace batch and process manufacturing in 2019, is called to account for the largest proportion (53%) of IIoT spending 2019, increasing at a CAGR of 46 percent in 2018.

The adoption of IoT solutions will offer discrete manufacturers the data required to drive innovation and improve manage complex production cycles, leading to enhanced operations and profitability. Reduced manufacturing cycles may also enable discrete manufacturers to offer short-notice manufacturing runs.

Discrete manufacturers will also benefit from a shift from scheduled to predictive maintenance and constant monitoring to reduce downtime and boost efficiency.

Security and Safety Enhancements across Manufacturing Industry

Cybersecurity and workplace safety are leading concerns in the manufacturing industry. The International Labor Organization revealed that 151 employees have a work-related accident every 15 seconds, while manufacturing was recently ranked the at-risk industry for cyberattacks.

If it comes to the adoption of new IIoT platforms, safety is considered by manufacturers to be the most important feature.

IIoT technologies will enable decision makers to be completely outside production facilities reducing accident probability. 

IIoT protocols enable secure data transmission over the www.

Enhanced Supply Chain Visibility and Accessibility

More than half of supply chain managers regard end-to-end supply chain visibility as a long way off, but IoT technology will accelerate progress toward this goal. IoT will offer visibility into field operations, the manufacturing supply chain, and remote or outsourced operations, filling the gaps that ERP and MES systems cannot (because of their requirement for manual data input).

Integrating IoT technology to the supply chain provides manufacturers with detailed data about their goods including location during transit, properties, production date, inventory, shelf-life, and much more.

Ease of Asset Management

IoT applications facilitate better asset management in manufacturing including tracking, inventory management, and predictive maintenance.

This will enhance reliability, extend equipment service life and provide manufacturers with a much better return on their investments. Zebra’s 2017 Manufacturing Vision Study found that smart asset tracking will overtake older approaches by 2022, saving manufacturers between 20-50% in inventory carrying costs.

Process Optimization Through Dashboards, Visualization, and Condition Monitoring

According to IoT Analytics’ IIoT Platforms For Manufacturing 2019 — 2024, there are 3 areas where manufacturers rely on IIoT platforms to transform the industry:

  • General process optimization: 43.1percent
  • General dashboards & visualization: 41.1percent
  • Condition tracking: 32.7%

IBM reported that adopting IIoT insights for process optimization will increase product count by around 20%.

IoT-assisted condition monitoring can help manufacturers identify delays within operations or comprehend malfunctioning or underperforming machines to address issues instantly. When IoT devices discover readings that indicate potential machine damage, the source of the problem can be swiftly identified and resolved before the issue escalates.

About the Author

Santiago Picco

Partner @ 4i Platform - Data Driven Innovation Electronic Engineering specified in control automation. Master in Stategic Management of Techology. Data scientist. Industry 4.0. IIoT and Digital transformation.

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