Applications of IoT in Manufacturing

Next level industry revolution (industry 4.0) has increased the applications of IoT in manufacturing. IoT adds value in entire manufacturing value chain. IoT in industry is termed as “Industrial Internet of Things“. This article covers applications of IoT in various area’s of manufacturing and its advantages.

What is Industrial Internet of Things ?

“Industrial internet of things” will connect entire manufacturing operations with a network of sensors, collect manufacturing data and send it to Cloud. In cloud machine learning algorithms analyse data and provide feedback. Engineers analyze data using visualization software.

Application of Industrial Internet of Things in Manufacturing

IoT has a great impact on manufacturing shop floor, resources and supply chain management. Lets discuss these applications in detail.

1) On Shop Floor

Machines on production floor are equipped with sensors (temperature, pressure and vibration). These sensors and PLM/PLC are connected to IoT devices. They send real time production data to cloud. This data can be accessed and analyzed by production manager. Data send by machine can include:

  • Number of Parts Manufactured
  • Machine Parameters Data
  • Sensor Data
  • Current Equipment Status

Data from connected machines helps in :

Production Process Planning

Real time manufactured parts data and current machine status helps planning engineers to plan machine utilization. 

Production activities are inter dependent. If one station stops, it has impact on another stations as well. In case of any break down real time data help production engineer to reschedule the activities.

Oversight on Equipment Utilization

Real time production data gives production managers insight on real time equipment utilization. 

This helps organizations in planning purchase of new equipment and improving utilization of existing equipment. This data also helps in calculation equipment ROI.

Part Quality Control

Part quality is affected by process parameters and environmental conditions. Using IoT production process parameters are monitored continuously. In case of any deviation in process parameters, Application sends an alert to operator.

Operator corrects process parameter. Therefore part quality is controlled before it deviates from required parameters.

Preventive Maintenance

Service Engineer can monitor and analyze real time machine sensor data (Vibration, temperature,
pressure etc). Based on this data service engineer prepares machine maintenance schedule.

Machine learning algorithms are also used to analyze machine data. Machine Learning algorithms and Artificial intelligence can suggests predictive maintenance schedule for machine as well.

2) Asset/Resource and Inventory Management

Iot based solutions can be used to track factory assets, resources and inventory inside and outside
factory premises. Following tracking technologies are dominating the industry.

  • RFID Tags
  • Bluetooth Beacons
  • GPS Tracker
  • Barcode

IoT based Tracking devices are attached with asset, resource and inventory to be tracked. Each tracker has a unique ID.

For indoor tracking, IoT receivers and scanners are attached at various factory locations. Using internet router and loT device data is send to cloud. From cloud this data can be accessed from anywhere. IoT based tracking can have following applications.

Inventory Management

For large factory or warehouse with different types of products. It becomes mandatory to track their existing location. Conventionally this is done in ERP or Microsoft Excel. 

To automate this process, RFID tags or BLE Beacons are attached to inventory items. IoT connected tags send inventory existing location to cloud. This enable automatic update of inventory location in ERP software used by organizations.

Factory Asset Management

In large factories it is very difficult to track moving assets. For example carts and cranes moves all around factory to transport goods from one place to another. IoT solutions can help managers to track assets real time location for their effective utilization.

For indoor premises BLE beacon and RFID technology is used. Whereas for outdoor, GPS trackers are used.

Effective Resource Utilization

To increase productivity, effective utilization of resources is required. In a shipyard where containers are moved frequently using cranes. Manager always keep in contact with crane operators and provide instructions to them. This is done in uncontrolled manner.

IoT solutions can improve crane utilization by providing real time crane and container position data to cloud. When the inventory is required to move, nearest crane operator receives instructions. Therefore resources are used wisely.

Restricted Access

In factory restricted area, limited persons have access. To control this human resources are equipped with RFID tags and BLE Beacons.

Using IoT tags, human resource real time location is monitored. Therefore in case of restricted entry, alarm is raised.

3. Supply Chain Management

Manufacturing quality products is not enough. Shipping those parts to customers has equal importance. Supply chain has great impact on product quality. Therefore it becomes mandatory to monitor shipping conditions as well. 

IoT connected sensors inside shipping container can send sensor data to cloud. Using mobile or windows application authorized person can access real time data. If shipping conditions are not satisfactory, alert is generated.

Advantages of Industrial IoT in Manufacturing?

IoT helps in monitoring and integrating all manufacturing operations from raw material to finished goods. It brings manufacturing automation to next level. IoT in manufacturing offers following advantages.

Data Visibility

Connected machines provide great level of visibility on production floor. Managers can access real time manufacturing data from using connected device (mobile/laptop)

Improved Productivity and Cost Reduction

Availability of real time data aids in effectively utilization of resources and asset management. Therefore productivity is increased and cost are reduced. 

Shorter Time to Market

Availability of real time data brings more transparency in manufacturing operations. This helps in reducing manufacturing, purchase and transportation time. As a result new products will come to market faster.

Improved Safety

Array of connected sensors creates a safer work environment. For example, if sensors are monitoring everything and real time data is available. Response Teams can act faster in case of emergency.


To sum up, IoT is becoming integral part of manufacturing and supply chain. It has application in various stages of manufacturing starting from shop floor, inventory management to supply chain management. It helps in reducing manufacturing cost and getting product to market faster.

We suggest you to read article on application of machine learning in manufacturing. 

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