In our day-to-day life, we come across many technologies, like wearable health bands tracking heart rate, vehicle sensors tracking location, Google Home connected to multiple appliances, etc. What makes these technological devices ‘smart’ is their unique ability to sense and communicate with other devices and take action. These devices/sensors alternatively named ‘things’, can communicate with other ‘things’ over the ‘Internet’ to exchange information and make decisions. ‘The Internet of Things’ creates a whole new world of possibilities.
Origin of “IoT”
The age of IoT began in mid-2008. Kevin Ashton coined this term in 1999 while working with Proctor and Gamble. This was his new idea to link the supply chain to the internet.
What is Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 is the fourth great revolution for the manufacturing industry, incorporating digitization at its core. Industrial IoT and Industry 4.0 terms are often used interchangeably but differ fundamentally as Industry 4.0 is the fourth revolution, whereas Industrial IoT is an enabler for the fourth revolution. The third industrial revolution brought about a sudden technological change involving automation and IT, which was difficult to adopt. Industry 4.0 is the optimized version of the third industrial revolution, simplifying automation and increasing productivity.
The most common questions asked by executives in the manufacturing industry are – “Where are my Reports?”, “Why am I receiving these reports so late?”, “Are these reports authentic ?”. All manufacturing executives ask these a few dilemmas, from big MNCs to SMEs, and this is where the IIoT comes into the picture. Practically, there is a chance that the data can be incorrect if the device does not record data automatically from the machines and is likely added manually.
Secondly, this is only scalable across some locations and plants. It is next to impossible to get this data “authentic” by human efforts. That’s where the advantages of IIoT come in. IIoT brings ‘Visibility’ to the product level. With ‘things’ sensing all types of information from machines, it gives real-time visibility towards the production of each unit. This solves all the questions mentioned above and provides a 360-degree overview of the production system. This visibility can be at the global level, plant level, floor level, Or even at each assembly line level.
This enables Manufacturers to view data in real-time and make decisions according to the situation, which will save time to keep the assembly line running all the time.
We have had manufacturers who have installed 55″ screens in their plants where a real-time Dashboard is displayed around the clock, and everyone can see the progress of shifts/day so far, with near real-time data.
Imagine your company has 5 locations around the globe, and there are 5 screens at the headquarters/ main office lobby where the progress of each plant is displayed in real-time. IIoT 4.0 is the only way to get this into reality.
Re-active maintenance transformed into pro-active (and predictive) care with the help of IoT
I was working for a billion Dollar Printer company. Their main business was to rent their printers (Smart printers), and they billed their customers according to the number of pages printed. So, an increased number of pages converts into more business, generating more revenue. There are printers for backup if something goes wrong, like paper jams, of a big bank customer who has multiple printers on the same floor.
They added sensors on the printers, which send data every 15 minutes. If a printer gets jammed, It would be fixed within a few hours when the support personnel in the same area receive a text message with customer details.
The proactive alerts can save the unproductive loss from machines. Once this level is achieved, machine learning algorithms will process the same data, which could predict when the subsequent failure might happen. Typical parameters used for this can be the number of pages printed, the age of the cartridge, toner conduction, and many more.
The possibility of reducing downtime and predicting the subsequent possible failure of machines can be penny-pinching for any company. This kind of feature is not available for many Indian SMEs, and IIoT is the only solution that can make this possible.
Improves Quality and Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE)
OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency) is one of the most critical calculated metrics in the manufacturing industry. OEE can be calculated at the plant, floor, and organization levels. OEE is a calculated measurement of maximum productivity theoretically vs. the measurement of the actual productivity of a machine.
There are 3 factors to it: Productivity, Quality, and Losses.
Companies are finding innovative ways to improve Production and Quality but, at the same time, cut down on losses.
Implementation of IoT gives companies a 360-degree view of each product and measures the quality of the product, and it can also help to cut down on losses in real-time or near real-time.
We helped our manufacturing customers control their costs (Consumables, power, gas). With the help of IIoT implementation, they could extract the data of all the machines. From every robot to understand gas and power consumption between intervals of a minute. To forecast monthly costs, the collected data is processed After every shift. They could analyze the patterns of all costs incurred and all variances. Plant managers can see these patterns for every kind of cost for each hour. Every day, they were able to improve OEE and improved their OEE by 20% across all plants globally within a span of a few weeks.
With all or a combination of the aspects above, IIoT can help almost any manufacturing company move its business forward and get ahead of its competition. An increase in the bottom line is another great benefit.
Beginning with IIoT/ Industry 4.0
Beginning with IIoT/ Industry 4.0 is daunting, as most organizations don’t know where or how to start. In the recent past, we have enabled several big and small organizations. Not only begin the journey but also define the roadmap and path ahead. A thorough assessment, planning, scoping, and later execution is the key to success. They are now reaping the benefits.