The widespread adoption of the Internet of Things has turned our world into a smarter one. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a subset of the broader concept of the Internet of Things (IoT). While IoT focuses on consumer applications, IIoT applications are implemented in the corporate environment. At the basic level, the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) involves creating a system that incorporates smart sensors, machines, tools, software platforms, cloud servers, and apps. When smart sensors are deployed at all phases of the manufacturing floor, they help in delivering data to the IoT gateway (which acts as a hub between IoT devices and the cloud). The collected data is then transmitted to the cloud application server for processing and analysis. By using advanced application programs, massive amounts of collected data are handled within a secure network.
The deployment and widespread use of the industrial IoT has altered how industries work, interact, and use data. The adoption of IIoT is only going to continue and expand in the future. Of all the major industries, manufacturing in particular has experienced tremendous transformation. Industries that were once hesitant to implement smart solutions are now digitizing at breakneck speed. At present, if manufacturers want to compete in today’s market, they must become agile in all aspects of their operations.
Applications of IIoT: Manufacturing
IoT technologies are all around us- from the interconnected gadgets we use like wearable technology to virtual assistants. IIoT is the next generation of IoT technology that has the potential to transform industries. Manufacturers seeking a competitive advantage can benefit from this technology. It allows manufacturers to make better decisions based on Big Data insights obtained by IIoT technologies, also known as smart manufacturing.
1. Asset Tracking
Asset tracking allows manufacturers to follow products along the supply chain and notify stakeholders of any damage. Assets on the move, from cars to each crate and cartons, can be tracked using GPS-enabled devices. The process involves installing sensors in trucks and shipping boxes that use GPS technology to follow assets. So, whether it’s equipment on a job site or good traveling across the country, IIoT helps in asset tracking. Depending on the specific needs, manufacturers can use radio frequency identification tags or cellular IoT sensors for transmitting constant updates to track the progress of assets as they travel. GPS-enabled IoT devices provide data to improve logistical planning and customer service by optimizing pickups and returns. It also assists in fleet management by enabling vehicle status monitoring, sending maintenance alerts, and optimizing routes, and fuel consumption.
2. Preventative Maintenance
IIoT in manufacturing makes use of connected sensors that assist in predicting the need for the maintenance of industrial machines and other assets. The IIoT-enabled devices generate real-time data that can be analyzed to predict machine failures. This enables producers to take preventative measures against faults before they occur, resulting in increased machine uptime and overall productivity. Using real-time data, instead of historical data helps in keeping equipment in good working order and prevents unscheduled downtime. This helps manufacturers in lowering associated expenses.
3. Facility & Inventory Management
IoT-connected equipment and machines can be monitored to detect conditions like vibrations, temperature fluctuations, humidity, and more. It helps in identifying conditions that can negatively impact operations, damage equipment, or reduce product quality. IIoT also brings greater visibility to supply chains and enables inventory management.