The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the latest buzzwords in manufacturing. According to the American Society of Quality research, manufacturers who have successfully adopted this technology have enjoyed 82% increased efficiency, 49% fewer product defects, and 45% increased customer satisfaction. So, if you are looking for more significant data collection, increased analysis, greater operations insight, and robust efficiencies, then you must embrace IoT.
"Just like any company that blissfully ignored the Internet at the turn of the century, the ones that dismiss the Internet of Things risk getting left behind." — Jared Newman
A Deloitte Insights article defines IoT as "a suite of technologies and applications that equip devices and locations to generate all kinds of information and to connect those devices and locations for instant data analysis and ideally, "smart" action." The IoT information value cycle elements include business activities, sensors producing data, and data analysis at the edge or cloud. The data analysis should lead to insights and use of the information to implement optimized decisions.
Further expansion of the value cycle elements includes manufacturing goods, marketing and selling, managing suppliers, managing people, finance and risk, and research and development. Sensors track humidity, temperature, acceleration, ambient light, acoustics, vibration, movement, and location. The data collected are big, descriptive, predictive, and cognitive analytics. The analysis insight helps predict production delays, the need to increase maintenance capacity, potential missed shipping deadlines, and customers' arrival. In addition, the insights support decisions that automatically order more parts, notify a technician to complete a physical inspection, and alert guests that the desired product is available via mobile device wayfinding.
McKinsey & Company recommends that IIoT, a more narrowed focus of Industrial IoT, collect data that needs to be analyzed, allowing managers to glean insight and take appropriate actions. They suggest that by using IIoT effectively, businesses must overcome six myths. First, IIoT is only a dashboard. The benefit of IIoT is a shift in thinking around value creation where companies can use real-time data to accelerate problem resolution. The second is that IIoT will displace workers. The reality is that it will eliminate the need for employees to do dangerous or repetitive work and shift them to reskilled positions to accelerate the further implementation of new technologies. A third myth is that it is only a viable option for greenfield sites. Innovative manufacturers will adapt and optimize digital technologies for original equipment added to the plant with sensors, apps, and connectivity to existing equipment. A fourth myth is that 100% readiness is a prerequisite for digital adoption. Those that had already adopted partial IIoT were better able to respond more readily as they navigated the COVID-19 pandemic, showing that it is better to be moving forward with implementation than to continue planning. Believing that it is costly to improve IIoT performance continuously is the fifth myth. The early adopters of digital technology find that efficiencies and productivity quickly offset implementation costs. The final debunked myth is that IIoT is not feasible for emerging economies. The results have shown that emerging economy facilities had 20% of digital technology adoption due to fewer legacy systems burdens. We will look at IoT's most common industrial implementations to better understand the capabilities.
A TATA survey on IIoT adoption found the three most widely adopted implementations. Leading the way is real-time asset monitoring. Companies connect machinery and systems to monitor real-time compliance, reliability, and safety in local and remote locations. The result is making timely decisions to increase overall productivity, inventory maximization, prevention of quality issues, and augmented logistics. The second most adopted digital technology connects operational intelligence. Manufacturers can connect equipment in an intelligent network to quickly identify and resolve production issues. The final technology is the predictive maintenance of assets. The ability to track production processes and detect problems before creating costly downtime is an opportunity to reduce manufacturing costs significantly. While many digital technologies are available, these three are the most widely used at this time in the history of IIoT.
As tech journalist Jared Newman states in the above quote, manufacturers who fail to adopt digital technology will be left behind. Forward-thinking plant operations will integrate IIoT in both greenfield and brownfield facilities. The highly integrated future factory has real-time monitoring that allows for data analysis, leading to the ideal and effective implementation of optimal solutions. Ultimately, the technology leads to excellent safety, higher productivity, increased machine uptime, quality monitoring, inventory control, and enhanced shipments.
The video What is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)? provides an overview of the elements of IIoT that can help to provide a deeper understanding of the technology. The key IIoT technologies include artificial intelligence, cyber security, cloud computing, edge computing, and data mining. Manufacturing leaders wanting their organizations to become more competitive by becoming more efficient and effective in meeting customer demand should explore IIoT.
Like many technology evolutions, IIoT began with Dick Morley inventing the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) in 1968. That same year Theodore G. Paraskevakos came up with the concept of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) devices. Tim Berners-Lee led the successful communication of Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) in 1989. The term Internet of Things (IoT) is the work of Kevin Ashton. These are just a few of the many individuals I admire for developing what is now possible with IIoT.
Next week's blog will explore the benefits of integrating robots into manufacturing environments, allowing them to produce superior products that align with the humanist manufacturing framework.
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