According to IDC data published on 4th January 2017, the manufacturing industry spent around $178 billion in 2016 on Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) – more than twice of what the transportation industry spent, thus making it the clear leader of IoT.
So what makes Industrial IoT so favourable in manufacturing industry?
If we have to put it in two words, we would say ‘smart manufacturing’.
Touted to be the next industrial revolution, industrial IoT connects machines to the internet to gather data and monitor the production process throughout the manufacturing plants.
It helps the manufacturing plants by boosting its productivity and operational efficiency and reducing the complexity of the process in the industry.
Manufacturing plants also use predictive analysis to sense issues with turbine engines and identify non-standard washing machine loads. Both together have given a great boost to the manufacturing industry.
Let’s look further at how Industrial IoT is helping the manufacturing industry
1. Shifting focus from cost-based model to location-based model
Earlier manufacturers outsourced the manufacturing work to low-wage regions around the world in order to cut costs and remain competitive at the same time. However, with industrial IoT coming into picture, manufacturers are now able to focus on technical capabilities and proximity to consumer rather than focusing on cutting costs.
2. Increasing productivity and solving problems
One of the main reasons for manufacturing in industrial IoT is its ability to increase productivity. With automation, analytics, and machine-learning algorithms in place, the manufacturing process has become quicker, more efficient, and less prone to errors. This has enabled the human operators to move away from monotonous tasks and instead monitor the systems and focus on strategizing. Industrial IoT also helps in alerting the workers about the problem. For example, bread manufacturer King’s Hawaiian has a system that uses smart sensors and an innovative software program called FactoryTalk to monitor their equipment in real time, analyze historical data, and reduce downtime by detecting when the equipment will require servicing.
3. Optimizing manufacturing processes
Better connectivity and shared data has allowed closer collaboration along the entire supply chain. This has led to increase in efficiency, operation, and innovation across the manufacturing industry.
4. Improving Quality Assurance
IoT is helping manufacturers by improving the process by monitoring and verifying every step of it through interconnected video devices and monitors, smart sensors, cloud-based backup procedures, and other IoT technology.
However, one of the major advantages of Industrial IoT is its ability to save millions for the manufacturing industry.
Let us look at few examples to understand how Industrial IoT is saving millions for the manufacturing industry.
Schneider Electric Software has deployed 2 million software licenses at more than 100,000 sites with about 20 billion connected data streams and 10 trillion data points archived each day. This has helped them to save money for their clients.
One of the clients that saved $300,000 through an early catch was Tata Power in India. The company got an early warning catch when they found that one of the bypass valves of a low-pressure heater was partially open when it should have been closed.
Similarly, it saved $4.1 million for Duke Energy when the predictive analytics detected a slight increase in vibration after maintenance. It alerted the employees of a potential blade separation that helped them take action immediately.
Toyota too has been able to save $550,000 annually at its Alabama facility through its improved troubleshooting capabilities, and its real-time error correction that has helped in minimizing rework and scrap.
In an industry that faces loss of millions due to delay in production, human errors, and lack of insight in handling process, industrial IoT can provide scalable, cost-effective solutions.
How can Industrial IoT and predictive analysis reduce costs for manufacturing industries?
1. Analyzing NCR
Non-conformance report or NCR is a report that provides details of non-conforming events on the factory floor. It is issued when a product, process, or procedure does not comply with the company standards. Industrial IoT analyzes the NCR data and predicts future non-conformances based on the data. This helps the company to rectify errors and avoid sending faulty products to the customers.
2. Improving shop floor operations
Now-a-days, manufacturers are looking at low-cost sensors for preventive maintenance. This is to ensure that there is no miss on on-time delivery or cost overrun due to a breakdown in equipments. Industrial IoT helps in improving the overall effectiveness of the equipments, minimize equipment failure, and enable proactive maintenance to reduce downtime.
3. Addressing Health, Safety and Environment issues
Industrial IoT helps in isolating and addressing Health, Safety, and Environment issues through a well-defined Internet and analytics strategy.
4. However, there are certain challenges in IoT that cannot be ignored
While everyone in the manufacturing industry praises IoT and predictive analysis, one cannot refute the issues that come with it.
5. Vulnerability to security issues
Poorly designed devices, increase in number of connected devices, and homogenous devices are some of the reasons why the security of a company can be vulnerable to data theft and other security issues.
6. Intrusion into the privacy of consumers
This issue is prevalent in consumer devices such as the tracking devices for phones, cars, and smart televisions. The data collected from this information can expose companies to legal and regulatory charges on the grounds of data protection and privacy law.
7. Lack of uniform standards
With lack of standards to guide manufacturers, developers sometimes design products that operate in disruptive ways on the Internet without much regard to their impact. If poorly designed and configured, such devices can have negative consequences on the networking resources to which they connect.
8. Lack of Regulation
Like privacy, there is a wide range of regulatory and legal questions about IoT, which needs to be considered. IoT is vulnerable to legal issues such as cross border data flow; conflict between law enforcement surveillance and civil rights; data retention and destruction policies; legal liability for unintended uses, and security breaches or privacy lapses.
These are some of the core issues with IoT.
While data theft, lack of privacy, and legal and regulatory issues pose a challenge to Industrial IoT, manufacturing plants can create a good design with security controls in place to utilize it to the maximum.