Jul 25, 2019
| 4 min read

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White Paper: Introduction to IoT in Manufacturing

Connecting Manufacturing With the Future

Manufacturing has been a cornerstone of the global economy ever since the first Industrial Revolution in the 18th Century. In the 21stCentury, manufacturing is declining as a proportion of GDP in developed countries, and this reflects the relocation of activity to developing countries with lower wage costs, the transition to a services-based economy along with growing efficiencies in production and output. For manufacturers in the West, low-cost Asian competition and the increasing shortages of highly skilled workers to operate the most sophisticated machinery create pressures to increase efficiencies through automation and connectivity. The concepts around connected industry, Industrial IoT and Industrie 4.0 offer vision into future potential for manufacturing to benefit from adoption of sophisticated sensors, advanced connectivity and data analytics. 

What can IoT accomplish in Manufacturing?

There are many ways that new technologies can be used to create incremental value in manufacturing. The “holy grail” of IoT for heavily capital-intensive industries is Predictive Maintenance. The cost of downtime for factories that rely on complex and sophisticated equipment can be enormous, and traditionally businesses relied on scheduled maintenance a periodic inspections by skilled experts to keep machines in working order. 

However, scheduled maintenance and manual inspections often fail to detect problems that could lead to equipment failures, costly repairs and downtime. By connecting machines to sensors and analytics that can track performance trends and detect anomalies, it becomes possible to identify signals that point to likely failures in the future – allowing for preventive corrective actions to avert failures.

Innovations such as wearable technologies and Augmented Reality can empower technicians with knowledge and expertise to diagnose and remedy issues more rapidly, and with lower cost – while helping workers improve safety and compliance with government regulations. Monitoring production in real-time can enable manufacturers to identify potential quality issues and take corrective action, analyze and optimize processes and detect problems on the assembly line. 

In the supply chain, the ability to track and trace inventory using sensors and other monitoring technologies can improve efficiencies, reduce time to delivery, cut down on waste and accelerate the ability for suppliers and producers to get paid more rapidly.

What do you need to know about IoT in Manufacturing?

It’s not always simple to adopt the latest technologies. Because capital equipment replacement cycles often extend for decades, new technologies and protocols need to co-exist and integrate with existing systems. Digital transformation is not as simple as upgrading to new equipment, this requires careful assessment and planning to ensure success.

We are at the cusp of a new industrial age, with powerful technologies enabling creative manufacturers to realize bold, innovative new ideas. Our IoT in Manufacturing White Paper provides an overview of some of the key elements to success – connectivity options, hardware components and software platforms that come together in a modern digitalized factory. Most important for decision makers is to be able to quantify the financial rationale for big investments, and how to build a compelling ROI.  

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