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Leverage the Capabilities of IIoT to Create a Smart Shop Floor

Leverage the Capabilities of IIoT to Create a Smart Shop Floor

A majority of the manufacturing giants have begun to realize the capabilities of Industry 4.0 solutions in bringing down the cost and time considerably and enhancing the productivity. In fact, taking the digital transformation route seems to be the only option left for the manufacturing industry to reap the best benefits.

Have it ever crossed your mind whether your shop floor is smart enough? Well, if this question still lingers in your mind, this post may be relevant for you.

In general, the manufacturing process starts on the shop floor. It is the place where production or assembly takes place, which is either performed by the workers or by an automated system, or by a combination of both. With each passing day, new equipment and devices are presenting the manufacturers with brand new opportunities, which give them the scope for innovation. In the modern world, a smart factory is the ongoing trend. It is a significant outcome of the Industry 4.0 revolution, driven by technologies like Cloud, IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence.

As per a report from Cisco, the manufacturing segment would be responsible for about 27% of the expected $14.4 trillion IoT market in the 2013-2022 timeframe, with the smart factories accountable for about $1.95 trillion of the overall value. A smart factory serves as the lifeline of Industry 4.0, and it generally implies the amalgamation of the conventional manufacturing methods and practices and the modern-day digital technologies. Some of the smart factory benefits include real-time visibility into the performance of the entire production chain, use of advanced technologies to enhance the process control, etc.

Now let us see how the different shop floor activities ranging from operations to management are controlled by the technologies which sprouted out of the Industry 4.0 revolution, particularly IoT and Cloud.

Enables Preventive Maintenance

Normally, in a shop floor, alternatives would be set in order to divert the production process in instances like machinery failure. Anyhow, there would still be implications on profitability/revenue and downtime. Using a combination of IoT, analytics, and sensor systems, the possibilities of catastrophic failures of plant floor equipment could be predicted and prevented easily.

In general, using the capabilities of Machine Learning, the establishments can schedule outages, plan maintenance, order inventory, and check the optimal performance of an equipment, to name a few. According to Alastair Orchard of Siemens, “IoT allows us to sprinkle devices around the factory quickly and cost-effectively to find out what’s going on without going through the multiyear process of reorganizing the shop floor.”

Using IoT as the base, and incorporating Machine Learning, sensors, and analytics, it is now able to detect the root cause of each issue, thereby enabling the customers to evade needless factory shop floor shutdowns.

Facilitates Data-driven Decision Making

The presence of computers at the shop floor is nothing new. Although manufacturers could access the data available on the plant, until recently, it was safely locked inside the storage facility of the manufacturing software. With IoT in action, it has become quite easier and faster to accumulate and handle huge amounts of data not just in a single plant, but across different production facilities, by way of Cloud. Further, the companies can get better insights through analytics, which help them to improve their plant operations, minimize flaws, and carry out preventive maintenance.

Improvement in Customer Relationships

By way of incorporating the insights from the shop floor with the sales & marketing department, supply chains, and the enterprise as a whole through the IoT network, the organizations can reinvent the entire production processes and improve their relationships with the clients and the suppliers.

Promotes Reliability and Enables Optimization

Bringing about automation in workflows and synchronizing the available resources improve the processes of scheduling and tracking, and enhances the energy consumption. This implies that a smart factory can contribute to improving the yield, quality, and uptime, at the same time minimizing the waste as well as costs. Reliability is achieved through reducing the manual interventions.

In short, the possibilities of IIoT are infinite and yet to explore, in order to bring about the best outcomes in the manufacturing sector.