Manufacturing is the largest industry in the world. We are experiencing technological revolutions in different industries, but manufacturing is the one evolving at a fast pace. It’s the era of smart manufacturing and industry 4.0. (The fourth industrial revolution).
But what is accelerating smart manufacturing and industry 4.0? Well, various modern technologies are influencing the manufacturing sector, but the Internet of things is the one that plays a major role. IoT is forming smart industries and innovating manufacturing processes. In this article, we will understand the role does IoT plays in smart manufacturing and its advantages.
Evolution of Manufacturing
Manufacturing means the production of a wide range of goods. For the production of goods, human labor and machines are required. Initially, in manufacturing businesses, the processes were manual, but in recent decades manufacturing has transformed. This transformation is the result of various digital technologies. Moreover, the advancement in digital technologies is also reducing human participation and labor-intensive processes in industries. Technology has taken over the manufacturing industries.
The technologies responsible for the evolution of manufacturing industries are AI, machine learning, Industrial analytics, and the internet of things. Today’s manufacturing industry is termed smart manufacturing.
What is Smart Manufacturing?
The concept of smart manufacturing is broad, and it is not limited to the implementation of any technology in the production process. Smart manufacturing means the implementation of various technologies and solutions in a manufacturing ecosystem. The technologies and solutions work collectively and create smart manufacturing.
Smart digital solutions or technologies are called the enablers, and these aim to accelerate productivity, decrease downtime, increase efficiency and increase overall profits.
What is Internet of Things?
Now that we have discussed the meaning of smart manufacturing let us understand one of its prominent drivers, the internet of things. Internet of things is a network of physical devices (referred to as things). The devices are embedded with software, sensors, and technologies. The things or devices are connected for exchanging valuable data over the internet to simplify the manufacturing processes.
How IoT is accelerating Smart manufacturing
Today the internet of things has reached an industry level and is referred to as the Industrial Internet of things (IIoT). It is an ecosystem where the devices, machines, and processes are joined through data communication systems. Every machine in the industry is embedded with sensors and generates data for production processes. The data generated give insights from the undiscovered activities in the production process.
In a manufacturing industry, the processes are complex, and these processes generate huge data. IIoT helps in analyzing the data and gives useful insights which manual operations are unable to generate.
IoT solutions play a pivotal role in the creation of smart manufacturing.
According to research, the size of the IIoT market is projected to grow from USD 77.3 Billion in 2020 to USD 110.6 Billion by 2025.
It states the importance that IIoT holds today and in the coming future. Also, the sector that would be impacted the most by IoT is manufacturing.
It describes that there is a huge potential for IIoT in smart manufacturing.
Now let us understand how IoT solutions turn manufacturing into smart manufacturing.
How IoT solutions are shaping Smart Manufacturing
The IoT based devices are transforming manufacturing by offering the following features:
Remote accessibility and monitoring of data
With an IoT solution, the production managers can monitor the operations from anywhere and at any time. They can remotely collect information on the operations and control the production process using the devices. The remote access to data saves their extra time and effort.
Remote condition monitoring of assets
Another way the IoT devices can help the manufacturing industry is by offering remote condition monitoring and control. The production managers can monitor the condition of assets or equipment and control them remotely. It helps in minimizing the downtime and assures the performance of the asset. In case of any issues, the production manager can be alarmed and make necessary adjustments.
Asset management and monitoring
IoT allows proper monitoring of the asset and offers more precise inventory management. It controls quality, detects thefts, and optimizes logistics to offer better asset management. With inventory level monitoring, any issues can be identified on time and can save any loss or wastage in quality or quantity of inventory.
When a production process includes human intervention, then there are chances of errors or omissions. But that’s not the case with IoT devices. The IoT devices alert and report any anomalies, and the role of production managers is only to take steps of remedy.
Benefits of IoT based Smart Manufacturing
Smart manufacturing means better productivity, and there is no debate about it. When the production manager can access data on time, take action against abnormalities on time, save waste or damages, reduce the production time, then all these leads to an increase in productivity.
Quicken production process
It is a fact that even the most complex tasks, which manually take hours to finish, can complete in a matter of a few minutes with technology. In smart manufacturing, the production processes become faster. Automation of production processes quickens the production process, and the products move to market for commercialization in less time.
Improved decision making
The advanced data analysis and reporting keep the production managers updated with all sorts of information. It also gives better insights that cannot be detected with manual operations. Hence better information and data reporting improves decision-making.
Better quality of products
The connected devices monitor the condition of products in real-time, eliminates human errors, alerts on any abnormalities in the production process. It increases the efficiency of production and ensures the products are of great quality. Also, good quality products mean more satisfied customers, which is another point of benefit.
Investing in IoT solutions is a decision that you would never regret. There is a better utilization of machines, less wastage in production, and reduce downtime in smart manufacturing. Also, the connected IoT devices utilize energy efficiently. There are so many costs that the manufacturer can save using IoT-based smart manufacturing. The bottom line is, IoT solutions are a cost-effective option for manufacturing business.
One thing that can be concluded from the above discussion is that IoT’s role in smart manufacturing is pivotal. It is making production simpler, quicker, and profitable. In manufacturing, you cannot generate profits by producing in large quantities because you can sell according to the limited demand. So, the only way to increase profits is to make your production process efficient, and here IoT plays its part. That’s how IoT is shaping smart manufacturing.