In today’s factories, you can find industrial automation everywhere. It has become so useful that it is difficult to imagine a production line without it.

Industrial automation is the use of a wide range of technologies and control methods, such as computers, robots, and processes.

Factories are replacing manual processes with industrial equipment, significantly replacing human intervention.

There has been a significant advance due to the digitalization of manufacturing and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things). As a result, companies are taking advantage of these automation solutions.

It may be difficult to imagine what industrial automation and industrial IoT applications are, but we will explain them here. Keep reading!

What Is Industrial IoT?

The industrial internet of things (IIoT) refers to interconnected sensors, controllers, and other intelligent devices operating together in an industrial context.

This networking enables remote access and monitoring, but most importantly, it enables data acquisition, collection, exchange, and analysis of distinctive data sources.

From the manufacturing process, energy, and robotics, industrial IoT has immense potential and benefits for businesses by improving productivity, reducing costs, and increasing efficiency.

Besides, IIoT solutions are characterized by their low cost and fast implementation.

Processing Line in Industrial Automation

IoT in industrial automation

Industrial automation is based on real-time data, where sensory programs capture information and automatically adjust the operating process. Therefore, the Industrial Internet of Things plays an essential role in industrial automation in order to create devices and systems that are effective, affordable, and flexible to all customer needs, such as:

  • Industrial computers
  • Data-driven control systems
  • Programable logic controllers
  • Robots

Incorporating IIoT into Industrial automation can drastically impact the productivity and efficiency of a factory.

The essentials of industrial IoT

When people talk about the essentials of industrial IoT, typically they refer to purposes, and these are:

  • Industrial things: Internet enabled devices (programmable logic controller, inter-process communication, and human machine)
  • Interfaces: Human-machine interface, robots, vision cameras and sensors
  • Connectivity: Connecting devices to the internet
  • Data: Collecting, storing and processing data using smart devices
  • Platform: A secure cloud platform or device for hosting the data and enable remote services
  • Analytics dashboard: To analyze and monitor machines
  • Intelligence and action: Collected data is analyzed by human beings or designated smart functions in order to inform any failure.

Industrial machine and IoT: examples for everyday use

Industrial remote access

In case of downtime, industrial IIoT remote access allows you, through the machine builder, to know where is the problem and reset the machine, if necessary.

This is a common problem. It happens in every factory, and with industrial remote access, you can save valuable time and costs that might be wasted due to this downtime. It only takes a few minutes to find this issue.

Running out of paper

A different but serious problem is when the machine runs out of labels. To avoid this, the sensor’s data counter will trigger an alarm, so operators can take immediate action to prevent this.

This alarm could be a vibration, sound, email, or push notification in their cell phone or smartwatch. This notification could save costs in industrial automation.

Human-Machine Interaction screen

Human-Machine interaction is possible now thanks to software updates that can be easily applied via secure network access.

As a result, all you have to do is install this software on your device and this action will predict machine maintenance and analyze which part is failing.

As an example, solar panels require occasional maintenance. It might be easy to predict when they need it when you know about degradation per a certain number of production.

However, this information is not available for many industries, so there is no real predictive maintenance. In this way, IIoT machines take the data to generate reliable information to make accurate decisions by analyzing potential issues, as predictive maintenance.

Analyze and optimize industrial robot actions with live monitoring

IIoT enables to change robot program actions and get insight into the log of its files and data.

Also, video footages such as recordings or live streaming may help monitor the operations of certain machines.

Industrial Automation

An automated production line does not need people involved in the manufacturing process, in other words, since there is no need for human being intervention, all or a good part of the production process is done by mechanical equipment and automated systems.

In this way, human tasks are constantly changing to system design, adjustment, supervision, and monitoring this process rather than controlling it directly.

Contact us if you want to hear more about industrial automation!

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About the Author

Cesar Agostino

Hardware and Software Design Leader in 4i Platform.

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