The pandemic is considered a catalyst of change. It has forced many industries worldwide to transform and adapt to various digital solutions. A collection of advanced technologies such as IoT, artificial intelligence, machine learning and more have been widely adopted to support innovation-driven growth strategies. Majority of industry leaders are describing these technologies as industry 4.0 revolution. Entrepreneurs from the manufacturing industry are among them.
Many novel opportunities in the manufacturing industry are flourishing with the addition of IoT. The idea of digital transformation has become a necessity rather than an add-on cost for companies. Having said that, the manufacturing industry is on the cusp of a revolution—the internet of things revolution! According to IDC, in 2020, the manufacturing industry experienced notable growth, with a CAGR of 12.4%, which forecasts by 2025.
The internet of things in manufacturing enabled smart manufacturing, known as Industrial IoT (IIoT). This development introduced transparency of processes, products, assets, resources, connectivity, advanced analytics, automation, and other advanced-manufacturing technologies. The addition, the internet of things in manufacturing gained momentum as it helped companies transform their operations. It benefitted businesses in various aspects such as production efficiency to product customization, improvements in speed to market, service effectiveness, and even in new business model creation.
A recent MPI 2020 Industry 4.0 study revealed that 83% of manufacturing leaders consider “industry 4.0 is extremely important” to their companies, and 56% believe that “Industry 4.0 will have a significant impact” in the next five years.
This blog will give you an overview of IoT as well as how its impact is influencing and transforming the manufacturing industry.
An Overview: The Internet of Things
IoT refers to a network of everyday devices, machines, and other objects equipped with computer chips and sensors. It helps in collecting and transmitting data through the internet. There are several applications of IoT in manufacturing like creating digital solutions, security systems, and communication medium or for upgrading manufacturing processes. These implementations are affecting the overall ecosystem of businesses.
IoT is not a novel technological concept but it is being widely circulated in the manufacturing industry in the current times. It is now a developing trend and an innovative technology, enabling rapid data flow while providing the ability to monitor and manage processes in real time.
What is IoT in manufacturing? IoT in manufacturing refers to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). It includes interconnected sensors, instruments, and devices networked together with computers’ industrial applications, including manufacturing and energy management. Industrial IoT in manufacturing shapes organizations with greater capabilities and connectivity to increase their pace of identifying bottlenecks in processes and manage operations with greater agility.
It has been observed that during the pandemic, the IoT in manufacturing has gained prominence because now the goal is to create a completely automated process and turn it into a smart factory for the years to come.
Top Use Cases of Internet of Things in Manufacturing
Without visibility, there is no accountability. The value of the IoT in manufacturing is rising unprecedentedly after the manufacturing industry faced challenges during the pandemic.The novel applications of IoT in the manufacturing industry offer hope for massive opportunities to enter in the future. The industrial IoT in manufacturing is slowly transferring traditional manufacturing supply chains into dynamic, interconnected systems, helping to change the way products were being made before and ensuring better safety for human operators to a high level.
So, how is IoT used in manufacturing? Here are the top three use cases of IoT trends in manufacturing:
• Remote monitoring and operations
• Predictive maintenance and smart asset management
• Autonomous manufacturing
Other than this, the need of IoT in manufacturing is also processed by wireless connectivity. Today, IoT depends on low power and long-range, as the Narrowband (NB) standard addresses it. Thus, there are now a host of IoT use cases, including smart metering, asset tracking, logistics tracking, machine monitoring, and more.
However, as the comprehensive 5G connectivity is about to enter the technology sphere, there will be a new level of speed, efficiency, and performance, which will help unlock new IoT use cases in the future. A 2020 report from Bloor Research reveals that the future of 5G, edge computing, and IoT are critical enablers for the manufacturing industry.
The Role of the Internet of Things in Manufacturing
The applications of IoT in the manufacturing industry have been there for a long time. However, the pandemic forced many manufacturing units and factories to adopt the emerging IoT trends in manufacturing to revolutionize the mass production of goods and boost other industries' output. The benefits of the IoT in manufacturing are becoming popular by the day. Whether it’s about gathering data from multiple machines or delivering real-time data to the manager of operations, the results of this are enhanced operational performance and reduced workload.
Apart from this, goods are tracked and equipment maintenance is predicted easily. All of these functions, through analysis, help manufacturers to identify factors of failure or malfunction. By knowing about it on time, they can take appropriate actions and measures to overcome them. So, whether it is IoT in car manufacturing, IoT in apparel manufacturing, IoT in automotive manufacturing, or other industries, IoT is booming in every way. Even the companies specialized in making manufacturing machines are following the latest IoT trends in the manufacturing industry.
To get more specific about the impact of IoT in the manufacturing industry, here are the most sought-after roles:
Quality Level 4.0
Most manufacturers faced difficulties while maintaining quality consistency, as the pandemic forced them to reduce human interaction at work. This aroused complexities in various manufacturing processes. So, by implementing IoT, companies have easily been able to produce good quality products through multiple applications, latest machines, equipment, and tools. In this way, the IIoT’s impact in the manufacturing industry will indeed enhance the quality level of products to manufacture in the future.
In addition, as IoT has a mass of applications in manufacturing, it is also facilitating the production rate of products. This is one of the major benefits of IoT. It increases production rate by automatically monitoring the development cycles at each stage. In this way, the quality aspect of a product remains under observation throughout the production process.
IoT Enables Power of Prediction
Predictive maintenance is a big thing. One of the significant answers to how IoT is being used in manufacturing is that it improves operating efficiencies. It also ensures that factory equipment and other assets are adequately working, which stays a major priority for manufacturers. Even a small malfunction can lead to substantial delays in production, which could delay or even cancel orders. In these situations, IoT technology helps to overcome these challenges. The deployment of wireless sensors throughout the machines can easily help managers detect issues beforehand and resolve them. This shows the power of prediction it provides.
The emerging IoT systems supported by wireless technologies have sense-warning signs in equipment that sends data to the maintenance staff so they could proactively repair the equipment. This avoids major delays in future production schedules. In addition, manufacturers could also gain other benefits of IoT by getting safer plant environments and increased equipment life. This is how the Internet of Things is becoming crucial for the manufacturing industry, especially after the pandemic, and is creating possibilities for manufacturing companies to gain predictable revenue in future.
Supply Chain Management
Emerging applications of IoT in the manufacturing industry are allowing companies to monitor all the events related to supply chain management. It includes shipments of supplies, tracking of transportation services like shipping containers, logistics data, and more. Data analyzed through devices could also help companies improve logistics by finding problem areas and resolving them in no time. Apart from this, IoT devices also eliminate a big chunk of manual documentation related to operations and others with a novel Enterprise Resource Program (ERP). This new invention of the Internet of Things in manufacturing facilitates cross-channel visibility into managerial, financial, and operation departments.
Remote Production Control
Many manufacturing companies relocated their computational resources to a custom cloud or connected on modern BAAS (backend as a service) or PAAS (platform as a service) platforms. Thanks to the IoT applications that benefitted the manufacturing industry during challenging times in the pandemic. In this case, the data is transmitted to the industrial automation system. In addition, it controls the overall process of machinery as well as production. IoT in steel manufacturing, oil and gas industries, and power generation have already gained benefits from this function of IoT technology. These industries used IoT devices and created a control system distantly. Harley Davidson, Cisco, and GE are some of the finest examples of using IoT in manufacturing. They have set history by reaping the best benefits of the Internet of Things in manufacturing and overcame hurdles bravely during the pandemic. Their IoT-driven manufacturing process achieved a massive production rate in comparison to other industries during the pandemic phase.
Cisco developed a “virtual” manufacturing execution system platform (VMES) through leveraging technologies such as the cloud, big data analytics, and the internet of things to gather real-time information from production machines. In the same vein, Harley Davidson and GE connected every asset on the plant floor and production to IoT devices and tracked performance in real-time. They installed 10,000+ sensors that looked after machine operating data, measured temperature, humidity, and air pressure in real-time without any human interaction.
So, information obtained through distant control systems provides a much clearer and faster insight into the actual production in the field. It assists staff in analyzing all the data and makes all the operational tasks convenient. This makes the IoT technology a core instrument in ensuring safe automated production, monitoring the workers, and helping staff members to maintain a proper workflow of business.
With all that said about IoT’s role in the manufacturing industry, does this mean that the industry is on the edge of leading with IoT? The answer is ‘yes.’ This is proved through some findings that are as follows:
• 76% of manufacturers plan to increase their use of smart devices in manufacturing processes in the next two years.
• 63% of companies have already implemented IoT technologies into their products, especially after the pandemic, and ready to supply manufacturers globally.
• 71% of them believe that IoT will have a significant impact (24%) or impact (47%) on their business over the next five years.
The Right Time to Invest
Manufacturers globally believe in the power of IoT and have developed the confidence of implementing it now. The idea of smart manufacturing with IoT is to use connectivity technologies such as industrial networks, Wi-Fi, M2M, and more to link factory automation assets, such as production equipment, robots, and more. This also extends to take advantage of end-user apps, such as MES, PLM, ERP, and mobile devices for more active and precise business decision-making.
Hence, getting an IoT solution for your manufacturing business is essential, mainly as the pandemic has shifted the paradigm of business operations. To gain IoT’s competitive advantages, considerable investments are necessary for your business to provide your staff with proper working methods. For manufacturers, globally, the IoT’s impact will be seen in every aspect of their business and thus allow them to thrive even in the most difficult of times in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to implement IoT in manufacturing?
There are many factors to be taken into consideration for implementing IoT in manufacturing. However, some of the best are discussed below:
• Businesses should invest more at an early stage of planning to understand the needs of their end-users
• Introduce digitally forward tools
• Identify risk areas of manufacturing
• Introduce a broad range of technologies including cellular, Wi-Fi, Lora, and Sigfox as advanced communication system
What is IoT in manufacturing?
Industrial IoT (IIoT) in manufacturing adds intelligence to manufacturing equipment, processes, and management. It enables smart manufacturing solutions with the help of connected sensors and devices at the network edge.
The six levels of IoT are as follows:
What are the six levels of IoT?
• Controller service
What are the types of IoT?
The leading types of IoT are:
• Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWANs)
• Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
What are the components of IoT?
The various components of IoT are:
• Cloud/server infrastructure