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

A study determines that by the end of this year, manufacturers will invest $70 billion in the IoT technology 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 improved their overall equipment efficiency by 24%, reduced the product defects by 16 percent, increased labor utilization by 12 points, and increased the production line output by 10%.

There are scores and scores of use cases of IoT folks are talking over the internet. But, following are the 4 key IoT use cases early adopters are considering to implement in manufacturing industry:

Asset Utilization

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

According to an Industrial Internet Survey 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 devices 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 optimize their manufacturing operations the same way as the “big guys”. But, the only 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 process that required paste application, operators were unnecessarily adding extra glue to the process. (I know you’re not surprised) The additional adhesive was the primary source of downtime events costing $63,000 annually.

Product Development

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

It replicates the growing product in a digital form. From retrofitting sensors, manufacturers gather data about their equipment’s entire working mechanism and the anticipated 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 helps in identifying potential bottlenecks in their product that helps managers to create a better version of the goods.

Supply Chain Management

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

Some of the IoT vendors also provide the integration of their IoT solutions together with the existing ERP systems of manufacturers which eliminate the need for manual documentation for operations. It avails the facility of cross-channel visibility into multiple departments and helps the stakeholders in examining the undergoing progress which in return reduces the expenditure because of mismanagement and lack of analysis in the organization.

Predictive Maintenance

Keeping equipment up and running significantly decreases the operational expenses, saving manufacturers millions of dollars. By using sensors, cameras, and data analytics, managers in the range of various production lines are now able to determine when a piece of machinery will fail before it actually does. IoT-enabled systems can feel warning signs by using data which helps managers create maintenance timelines and program equipment service before any problem happens.

By leveraging real-time data from sensors and devices the operation managers can quickly access current conditions of equipment, recognize warning signs, get alerted of issues, and get rid of wasting time into scheduling maintenance.

The option to get the real-time meaningful information on time will allow managers to know which equipment needs 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.

Boosting Your Operational Efficiency

One of the many benefits of IoT in manufacturing is how it enhances operational efficiencies. For example, if a machine isn’t operating at a favorable condition or about to go down, the connected sensors can determine 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.

A facility paying a worker 16 USD per hour to manually assess 16 meters once a day around the property will cost 3,840 USD monthly. It would cost 92,160 USD if this person were to check the same meters once per hour to try and read changes.

Now, think about checking meters every minute or every second; It becomes humanly impossible to do so without the use of IoT.