The concept of smart manufacturing and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are two of the most famous terms the manufacturing industry has been hearing for some years now. However, what does it mean to have a smart factory? The consensus is that an intelligent factory utilises industry 4.0 technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, predictive and prescriptive analytics, GIS technology, augmented reality, virtual reality and more. IIoT is simply one of such technologies incorporated in a smart factory. According to a report by McKinsey & Company, IIoT is expected to generate an economic value from USD 1.2 to USD 3.7 trillion by 2025. Hence, the importance of integrating IIoT into a smart factory has been a no-brainer for most manufacturers.
This article will particularly explore what IIoT brings into a smart factory and why it is a must-have technological solution for manufacturers.
So What Exactly Is IIoT?
There are two things a smart factory relies on for its operations. This includes the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. Both of these work together to monitor, analyse and self-correct, whilst sharing enormous amounts of data into one central platform. This could be a Programmable Logic Controller, a centralised computer or a separate device. It is through this entire process that was subsequently used for industrial activities exclusively that IIoT emerged.
IIoT cannot be limited to one specific device. It is an umbrella term for a range of sensors and robots that are explicitly connected with wired and wireless connections. It ensures a smooth flow of real-time data and takes prompt action accordingly. As a result, manufacturers can gain greater visibility of their resources, assets, and processors. Through IIoT, all big data processed by various devices are integrated into one platform to ensure the maximum use of data analytics can be met. To infuse industry 4.0 technologies fully, IIoT is an integral tool and provides a compatible platform for all advanced devices. It is, simply put, seen as the main driver in boosting the digitalisation revolution in the industrial world.
What Will Manufacturers Miss Out If They Do Not Integrate IIoT?
The efficiency of a manufacturing factory all depends on IIoT. Hence, manufacturers must implement cellular connectivity instead of a fixed one, as the latter also lacks financial viability due to the increased number of physical components required. To ensure greater mobility, security and reliability, IIoT requires 4G or 5G technologies to keep its production line operating 24/7.
As a smart factory is strong on automation, manual processes that used to take lots of time and require humans to individually inspect items should ideally be removed. To simplify this process, manufacturers started to deploy various types of sensors in their production houses. By gathering all of the data into an integrated IIoT system, manufacturers can make better decisions. This process or the efficiency this process provides is decreased when there is a central IIoT-powered platform to process all data. Without IIoT, the data gathered from sensors will only be regarded on a stand-alone basis and will not be able to provide an overview of the entire factory. Hence, engineers will only be able to detect specific issues on items close to the sensors rather than receiving insight that would help them understand the entire factory with a glance at the dashboard.
Struggle With Quality Control
A significant advantage of smart factories is the manufacturer’s ability to reduce waste by ensuring quality control at every production stage. As all machines are connected to a cloud platform, data on all types of equipment can easily be assessed. Real-time information can instantly be received on how viable a product is, and any weak points from the item in question can be eliminated as soon as possible. Moreover, managers can monitor how much energy is wasted on production and take active steps to ensure the overall quality of its operations meet a high threshold. Not only does quality control relate to the manufacturing process, but it also extends to packaging and delivery. This also means the number of ways quality can decrease in a product is myriad. Since quality can be affected at any phase, there is an increased need to use an advanced platform that can hold the power of IIoT. In other words, without IIoT, it would be hard for manufacturers to track the quality of their products during the complex lifecycle of it being manufactured and delivered to the consumer.
Lower Accuracy Levels of Predictive Maintenance Tools
A manufacturer’s worst nightmare is increased downtime. Hence, the more machinery left inactive, the more delays in getting the product to the consumer. This is why predictive maintenance has been a massive asset to manufacturers. This technology can assess the life cycle of each asset in the factory and detect any impending risks. It thereafter is able to warn the factory manager, who can prioritise and schedule maintenance to be carried out by the team. Note that predictive analytics can guarantee more accuracy when it is able to consider all types of risks that could occur to a machine. This is why IIoT plays an important role here. Keeping in mind that IIoT self-monitors, analyses, and learns, the more data available to IIoT, the better. Thus, IIoT ensures that any lessons learnt from a prior machine, for instance, will not be repeated to any other device at the factory. As a result, with the hold of IIoT, manufacturers can unlock the full potential of predictive analytics.
Cerexio Surges Ahead As An Industry-Specific Solutions Provider Advanced by IIoT Capabilities
Cerexio is a dominant brand well known in the manufacturing world. In each technological suite, Cerexio has utilised the most influential industry 4.0 technologies and advanced them with Cerexio’s IIoT, allowing industrial practitioners to connect with all devices. It enhances machine-to-machine interoperability, centralising all the big data in each manufacturing device to gain valuable, actionable insights. Factory managers can therefore use these to operate their processes efficiently.
Cerexio is additionally equipped with a complex security protocol to guarantee that all your data in each device is well protected. It also provides predictive capabilities for managers to avoid operations from being halted. Prioritise and schedule which assets require maintenance and receive more control of your devices. In essence, with the help of Cerexio and IIoT, you can ensure that everything in your factory meets the gold standard in the industrial world.
Connect with Cerexio to learn how an interconnected digital culture for your asset-heavy industrial establishment can help you make moves in the manufacturing sector.
IIoT: The Beating Heart of Smart Factories Today
As industry 4.0 technology has provided multiple features for manufacturers to take advantage of, none of it can function adequately without IIoT. IIoT is like the intricate spider web that centralises all the powers of industry 4.0 to one location and stores valuable amounts of big data only those technologies are able to process. If each of those technologies is powerful on its own, imagine how much more can be gained when infused together. If you have not already, transform your factory into a fully-fledged smart manufacturing facility by incorporating this mandatory technology today.