Applications of IoT in Manufacturing : Internet of Things

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Next level industry revolution (industry 4.0) has increased the applications of “Internet of Things” in manufacturing. IoT in manufacturing adds value in entire manufacturing value chain. IoT in manufacturing / industry termed as “Industrial Internet of Things“. This article covers applications of IoT in  manufacturing and its advantages. We suggest you to also read this article for more details on internet of things.

What is Industrial Internet of Things ?

“Industrial Internet of Things” connects 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 the feedback. Engineers can also analyze this data using data visualization tools. Read this article for more details on what is IoT.

Applications of IoT in Manufacturing

Internet of Things has a great impact on the shop floor, resource & inventory management and supply chain management. In this article we will discuss the applications of IoT in manufacturing in detail.

1) On Shop Floor

To get benefits of internet of things on shop floor. Machines are equipped with sensors (temperature, pressure and vibration). These sensors and PLM/PLC are connected to IoT devices. IoT Devices send real time production data to cloud. Data from cloud can be accessed and analyzed by production manager. 

Data sent by machine to cloud using internet of things can include:

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

Therefore IoT in manufacturing helps production managers and engineers to access real time connected machines data. This data helps engineers in following ways.

Production Process Planning

Planning engineers can use real time production data and current machine status to plan effective machine utilization and production planning. 

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

In this way IoT aid engineers in production process planning during part manufacturing.

Oversight on Equipment Utilization

Real time production data from IoT provide production managers insight on real time equipment utilization. It also helps organizations in planning the purchase of new equipment and improving utilization of existing equipment. As a result calculation of equipment ROI becomes an easy task.

In this way IoT  provides oversight to production managers on manufacturing equipment utilization.

Part Quality Control in Manufacturing

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

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

In this way IoT helps in controlling part quality in manufacturing.

Machine Preventive Maintenance

IoT send real time machine sensor data to cloud. From where 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.

In Cloud, machine learning algorithms are also used to analyze machine data and suggest predictive maintenance schedule for machines.

2) Asset/Resource and Inventory Management

IoT in manufacturing is used to track factory assets, resources and inventory inside & outside the factory premises. Following tracking technologies are dominating the industry.

  • RFID Tags
  • Bluetooth Beacons
  • GPS Tracker
  • Barcode

IoT based Tracking devices are attached with asset/inventory to be tracked. Unique tracker has a unique ID. This unique ID defines that asset/inventory.

For inside premises tracking, IoT receivers and scanners are attached at various factory locations. They send real time IoT tracker position to the cloud. From cloud this data can be accessed from anywhere. 

Whereas for Outside tracking, IoT based GPS tracking devices are used. Real time GPS data is sent to cloud using GSM technology.

Inventory Management

For large factory or warehouse with various product ranges. It becomes mandatory to track their existing location. Conventionally authorized person manually enters the location of inventory in the system (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 enables automatic update of inventory location in ERP software used by organizations.

Factory Asset Management

It is very difficult to track moving assets in large factories. For example carts and cranes moves all around the factory to transport goods from one place to another. Industrial Internet of Things solutions can help managers to track assets real time location for their effective utilization.

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

Effective Resource Utilization

Effective resource utilization is essential to increase overall manufacturing productivity. For Example, 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 an 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

Limited persons have access In factory restricted area. Conventionally it is controlled by using RFID tags and fingerprint scanners.

But IoT can further help in controlling restricted access. For this, human resources are equipped with connected RFID tags or 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 products 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 send real time 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?

Industrial Internet of Things 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 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 costs are reduced. 

Shorter Time to Market

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

Improved Safety

Array of connected sensors creates a safer work environment. For example, when sensors monitor real time machine, safety equipment data. Response teams can act faster in case of emergency.

Conclusion

To sum up, IoT is becoming an integral part of manufacturing and supply chain management. IoT in manufacturing has application from marketing, 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 an article on the application of machine learning in manufacturing. 

Got Questions?  We will be happy to help.

If you think we missed Something?  You can add to this article by sending message in the comment box. We will do our best to add it in this post.


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