Unplanned downtime costs industrial manufacturers an estimated $50 billion each year, figuring in the cost of repairs as well as the loss of man-hours, raw materials and product.

But now there’s a way to mitigate the risk of downtime –the Internet of Things at manufacturing. A wireless network of smart sensors and linked devices can capture data through a plant and identify when, where and how downtime can be minimized.

Here are a few ways manufacturing IoT can help stop facility downtime:

Identifying and Scheduling Preventative Maintenance

While it is customary for manufacturers to do maintenance on manufacturing equipment based on specification guidelines, this isn’t always the best plan of action. It may not take into consideration machine conduct rates, speeds and duration. 

Nowthrough IoT, plant managers can actually schedule and perform preventative maintenance. For example, vibration sensors, which measure motor vibration frequency and temperature, make it possible to identify potential mechanical issues such as misaligned couplings or unbalanced motor sand to program maintenance proactively–before the potential difficulty becomes a real one.

Maintaining Suitable Working Conditions

The use of electricity metering and flow monitoring can prevent problems resulting from gas or water leaks from faulty or damaged pipes. 

A flow meter captures data to indicate when liquids are moving out of a pipe faster than usual, which can be the sign of a malfunction. Measures can then be taken to protect the main manufacturing area from flooding.

Minimizing Delays by Sustaining Production and Manufacturing Quality

Major shifts in temperature and humidity can affect the quality of raw materials and cause unnecessary manufacturing delays. 

Whenever employees in a food or beverage plant go in and out of a refrigerated unit where raw ingredients are stored, for example, doors can be left ajar and ingredients spoiled–which can result in shortages and slowdowns until new inventory is delivered. 

Temperature and humidity smart sensors prevent problems like this by transmitting data to a facility-wide monitoring application that not only regulates factory conditions but also triggers preventative measures to keep them from happening.

Easily Improving Safety Conditions on Factory Floors

Accidents due to faulty equipment or malfunctions can be hazardous to factory employees and result in downtime, both when the mishaps happen and afterwards when injured employees are forced to take leave.

By properly detecting mechanical difficulties and potential safety risks, IoT sensors on gear and embedded throughout a plant can help prevent these incidents from happening, providing plant managers and workers ample warning and time to take the appropriate precautions.

Running A Proper Risk Audit

One of the utmost effective ways to prevent downtime at a manufacturing facility is a risk audit, which involves conducting a thorough analysis of all equipment and methods to identify all the probable risks that could occur at the location.

Such an undertaking requires a whole lot of advanced planning and the proper equipment to do the analysis, but for large facilities it may be well worth the investment. Once a risk audit is done, companies can get a much clearer idea of where manufacturing IoT solutions would be most beneficial.

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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