An Industrial View about the Internet of Things

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In the manufacturing industry, the key to success is continuously improving your current best approach and applying it to every product without fail. Those who are efficient and capable of doing more thrive the most. In the not so distant past, this meant going lean. In the increasingly digital world of today, this means getting smart too. 

In any production line, you can achieve efficiency by automating tasks were possible by optimizing work processes or streamlining the supply chain. With the explosion of the internet, this is best done through connectivity. Devices connected to the internet and can communicate with each other make up the Internet of Things or IoT

What is the Internet of Things?

The IoT, as it is named, is a network of devices or equipment that can detect, interact, and communicate internally or externally online. It is ubiquitous, and most people already have it inside their homes in the form of smart toasters, smart lighting, or even the fitness collar on their pets. In the manufacturing industry, smart robotics, wearable technology, and tools with sensors are some common examples.  

One of the main goals of connecting devices with automated systems is gathering data that is actionable. It allows you to analyze the information and come up with a more efficient work process or method. In the very competitive world of manufacturing, this could give you the much-needed edge.  

The Power of Insight

With the insight acquired from the IoT, you will be able to predict if a piece of equipment is about to break down. The embedded sensors can inform you if the machine is no longer operating at optimum conditions. It can also trigger a service request so that restorative intervention can be done promptly. Not only will this reduce power and maintenance costs, but prevent production downtime as well. Beyond the cost savings, this capability will keep workers safe from malfunctioning machines or equipment. 

Easier to Locate

Another industrial application for the Internet of Things is location tracking. It is very helpful for large-scale operations with a massive inventory of equipment, tools, and spare parts. Workers can lose as much as 47% of their time looking for a tool or equipment which could have been spent on other value-adding activities. The tracking capability of the IoT can save as much as $3 million annually on a production line from this hurdle alone. 

More Transparent Product Supply Chain

Individual devices or products fitted with radio-frequency identification or RFID can be easily tracked, improving the accuracy and transparency of your supply chain. Using the RFID, you can track and verify a product from the moment it leaves your production line until it reaches your end user. It helps battle counterfeit products from compromising your operation.

 Additionally, the inventory in your warehouse can be monitored in real-time or close to it, allowing you a more responsive production planning. The RFID can also monitor the temperature, pressure, and humidity inside your warehouse even during deliveries and help you prevent conditions that would compromise your products or inventory.

Getting a Head Start

In its present form, the Internet of Things already finds uses in many industrial applications. It offers businesses countless ways to improve efficiency and productivity. As technology continues to mature, companies that already invested in smart operations have a head start.