IIoT and Smart Manufacturing

Imagine a world where alerts are sent to your phone if a technology within your manufacturing plant malfunctions or requires repair. In this world, systems within your plant could also switch between manufacturing one product to another quickly and seamlessly. Different automation systems talk to each other and coordinate effectively. It sounds almost futuristic, but this technology is already a reality in the 21st century.

IoT has combined with technologies found in industrial environments, such as robotics, to create IIoT (also known as Industrial Internet of Things). The implementation of this technology is aimed at increasing efficiency and repeatability while also reducing costs. A dream come true for most industries! This evolution has become known as smart manufacturing.

“At the heart of smart manufacturing are industrial internet of things (IIoT) technologies, which is one of the biggest enablers of Industry 4.0. The development of the internet of things (IoT) to support consumer-focused activities has expanded into the industrial sector, creating factory and warehouse operations. Exploiting the opportunities presented by IIoT, which is expected to generate economic value from US $1.2 to US $3.7 trillion by 2025, is crucial for manufacturers,” (Arunangshu Chattopadhyay, FutureIoT).

While introducing this technology to your facility may seem complicated, it doesn’t have to be. There are many automation specialists out there ready to help you incorporate this technology into your systems. The benefits of doing so are nearly endless. Below we will dive into a few benefits of introducing smart manufacturing into your business and a few ways to do so.

Product Quality Improvement

Through the advent of IIoT and smart manufacturing, you can receive real time data on potential quality concerns during production. Systems and technologies, such as sensors, connected via IIoT can monitor for flaws in production or an upcoming repair that could affect product quality. This frees employees to perform other tasks rather than monitor product quality manually.

Robotic technologies can also be deployed with IIoT connectivity to further efficiency. A robot can perform tasks along an assembly line while communicating information about the production. This is only one example of how traditional manufacturing equipment can improve efficiency and accuracy through the use of IIoT. By using IIoT to monitor production, you will be allowing for consistent production quality while also receiving real-time data that could help you further improve processes.

Predictive Maintenance

What if you could know when your compressed air system would be nearing maintenance? Or when your air compressor needed a repair? This is possible with the adoption of IIoT. Data such as the status of your air compressor’s motor can be sent to your phone or any other device connected to the internet in a matter of just a few moments.

These same concepts can be applied to automation equipment. What if you knew whether a robot performing pick and place functions suddenly ran into a problem and needed care? You could react faster than ever before possible. The benefit? Your production could be up and running before any real impact on output could be made.

Plant Management

IIoT technology can be used to monitor the state of your plant in real-time. Certain levels of humidity, for example, can be harmful to employees, products, and equipment. Smart manufacturing has allowed management to act quickly when an adverse condition becomes apparent.

Furthermore, data collected by smart systems allows managers and leaders to make adjustments to their machines. If a certain product defect is detected at a certain spot in production, systems or practices can be adjusted to prevent this in the future. All decisions can be backed by proven data originating more informed decisions.

Introducing Smart Manufacturing to Your Facility

There are many different methods for introducing smart manufacturing into your facility. Bosch Rexroth is one of the most popular brands incorporating IIoT into manufacturing plants similar to yours. One of their newest solutions is ctrlX AUTOMATION. CtrlX AUTOMATION offers smart manufacturing capabilities for CNC, robotics, safety, and many other solutions that can reduce engineering costs by up to 50%. With flexibility and adaptability built into this technology’s design, bringing IIoT into your plant is very achievable. Another Bosch Rexroth technology, WebConnector, is software that allows for rapid data transfer and connects to subordinate units through OPC UA and Open Core Interface. You will be able to receive diagnostic reports and monitor your systems using this technology.

Contact an Automation Specialist to Make Smart Manufacturing a Reality

IIoT can provide your manufacturing facility with smart solutions. If you can control your home’s lights from your iPhone, why wouldn’t you connect your factory devices similarly? From identifying system problems sooner to remote tracking and monitoring, your facility could begin talking to you in real time. Improved productivity and ROI are only two reasons to invest in this technology.

To learn more about how your facility could implement smart manufacturing, contact us to speak to an automation specialist!