Business is changing, and so is the manufacturing industry. Here is just a brief assessment of five key manufacturing developments, business practices, and key considerations that have sprung up, or that are being indelibly influenced and revolutionized by the Internet of Things (IoT).
Digital twinning, as it sounds, means the creation of a digital copy from the physical product. This could be a car, for example. Real-life issues with the physical machine can be duplicated within the digital sphere, so that the issue can be indicated on a display, which may be on your smart phone for example.
To imagine how this works, it is once again wise to use the example of the car, and indeed it is within the automotive industry that this type of IoT technology is coming to the fore. It’s use is within the realm of predictive maintenance, meaning that you can potentially have the ability to foresee issues with your automobile before they become a reality with a simple warning system which flags on your phone. The smallest of issues can be picked up before they become more serious, so this could assist with something as simple as needing an oil change, to something much more serious such as eroding of brake pads. In summary, predicative analysis techniques are utilized to resolve issues before they become more acute.
But it is not only within the realm of machine maintenance that this type of IoT development will reap benefits. Digital twinning will also greatly assist in the advancement of planning processes in all sorts of production scenarios.
Perhaps the greatest benefit to emanate from IoT solutions will be increased quality control. This is game changing because it is the end objective for the manufacturer in terms of producing a desirable product, but it can also be performed in a way which reduces costs, which is the dream combination.
“From data analysis which provides an insight into every step of the production process, to asset tracking and the optimization of the raw materials through the entire supply chain process, IoT advances will stimulate multiple benefits which will be felt by manufacturers and end users,” enthuses Bill Eckhard, a tech writer at BritStudent and WritemyX.
Safety practices have always been key concerns in the manufacturing sphere, but safety levels can be taken to new levels with IoT-based tech solutions. Big data can predict issues before they occur, and safety KPIs are now more developed than ever before. Safety procedures can be vigorously tested, the operating integrity of various machines and safety equipment is now more accurately assessed than ever before, and employee health can be tracked at all times. Many of the IoT advances in healthcare can be adapted to benefit the manufacturing industry, and business in general.
Improved decision making
IoT technology provides a whole host of relevant data on every aspect of production. The benefits for quality control have already been discussed, but this data can also be utilized by key stakeholders to make informed strategic decisions which secure the long-term health and prosperity of the business. It’s not just about ensuring the smooth operating of existing production practices, but becoming more proactive in using historical data to pinpoint opportunities.
“Everything from a decrease in waste and an increase in energy efficiency, therefore reducing costs, to identifying product modifications to take advantage of gaps in the market: IoT offers all this and more,” says Maisie Dillon, an IoT blogger at Australia2writeand NextCoursework.
Although all vital concerns, these elements promise to be just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the revolution that is being stimulated by IoT solutions in the manufacturing industry. The future has already arrived within this sphere, not just in terms of the technology that is fueled the manufacturing elements themselves, but the management and decision making practices which influence everything from worker health and productivity, to end product quality and adaptability.