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5 Best Use Cases of IoT in Manufacturing

15 Sep 2020

Why is the Internet of Things gaining so much traction?

Decades ago, the idea of embedding sensors and chips into physical objects would sound insane and impossible. However, thanks to the Internet of Things it became real. This technology has grown into the prime concept for many businesses within a short span of time. The Internet of Things has considerably changed some aspects of our everyday life like driving, cooking, purchasing, manufacturing etc.

Numerous IoT devices are springing up nowadays. Consequently, the number of IoT-active devices excluding smartphones, tablets, laptops is likely to grow to 8.3 billion by the end of 2019. Moreover, the number of Internet of Things units in different industries will come to 29.7 million units by 2025.

Speaking in numbers, the exposure of IoT is quite impressive:

Many worldwide enterprises have successfully integrated IoT tools into their infrastructures. It allows them to optimize the production process, reduce delivery time, and lower the expenditures. All this makes the IoT market share boost exponentially over the next few years. And while IDC reports the IoT footprint is expected to grow up to $1.2 trillion in 2022, Statista, by way of contrast, is confident its economic impact may be between 3.9 and 11.1 trillion U.S. dollars by 2025. 

IoT in manufacturing: the benefits explained

With all that said, it is no wonder that the Internet of Things in manufacturing is beneficial both for the producers and for their target customers. Industrial IoT enables manufacturers to scale up different equipment capable of distant observing and servicing. Thus, companies can have a proper estimation of customers needs.

Manufacturing as one of the industries is taking up the prospects of the Internet of Things. Many plants are already utilizing connected control systems for procession and supervision. The main benefits of IoT solutions are as follows:

70% of companies are sure that IoT implementation can reduce costs and improve products.
— Cognizant
  • It helps to detect and avoid the issues that may cause delays.
  • With cognitive operations, the industrial unit can increase production quality and rip the benefits from raw stuff, and manufactured components.
  • It enables the managers to better allocate the resources, improve worker skillfulness and make the working environment safe.

    View a potential scenario of how IoT system can help an employee in manufacturing in a short video below.

Currently, many IoT projects deal with facility and asset management, security and operations, logistics, customer servicing. Which is why, IoT is a promising tech trend, if not a mainstay for business in 2020 and beyond. So, let’s take a deep dive into the best IoT examples in manufacturing.

1. Predictive Repairing

Predictive maintenace_IoT in manufacturing
Predictive maintenace_IoT in manufacturing

Through connecting IoT-driven gadgets that have different sensor points (temperatures, vibration, voltages, currents, etc.) to other devices, IFTTT, cloud/API or legacy systems manufacturers can obtain essential maintenance data. This kind of information allows to estimate the current condition of machinery, determine warning signs, transmit alerts and activate corresponding repair processes.

This way IoT transforms maintenance into a fast-paced and automated practice, which foresees a failure long time in advance. Moreover, it fosters costs savings over traditional preventive measures as the actions are taken exactly when they are necessary.

Getting valid data in time, managers can detect plant machinery that needs fixing. Besides, it helps to plan maintenance operations thoroughly and hold systems online as workers are still performing the task. IoT may prolong equipment lifetime, contribute to plant safety and lower the risks of accidents that affect the environment negatively.

In practical terms, IoT can immensely improve your company's predictive repairing/maintenance capabilities. For instance, one of the leading international manufacturers of medical equipment, Medivators, successfully integrated IoT solutions across their worldwide services to enjoy an impressive 78% boost of the service events and issues that can be easily controlled and (if there is a case) fixed without any additional manpower resources involved.

In a video below, you can view an example of how the aircraft manufacturing company can use IoT to detect issues early on and fix them. 

2. Remote Production Control

Reallocating your company’s computational resources to a custom cloud or connecting the device to one of the popular BAAS (backend as a service) or PAAS (platform as a service) cloud computing models, you can collect and analyze the large-scale data sets necessary for supervising various field devices like switches, valves, and other indication elements.

Thanks to IoT this data is transmitted to the industrial automation system that ensures an overall control of machinery amid production process. Telecommunications, oil and gas industries, as well as power generation, have been already reaping the benefits from IoT devices implanted into distant control systems.

The most prominent feature of remote production control in industrial automation systems is the centralized supervision over the machinery in the process of production. Information obtained through distant control provides a much clearer and faster insight into the actual production field. It gives assistance to the staff in analyzing the enterprise data. All this makes the IoT technology be a core instrument in ensuring safe automated production, monitoring the workers, tracking the personnel location.

3. Asset tracking

More and more manufacturing enterprises tend to implement asset practices. IoT technology combined with the development of native web and mobile apps for iOS or Android makes it possible to obtain real-time asset information and make reasonable decisions.

The major task of tracking lies in discovering and overseeing such crucial assets as the components of the supply chain (raw materials, containers, and finished goods). Such applications can drastically optimize logistics, maintain stocks of work in progress, and disclose thefts and violations.

IoT-based asset tracking helps the producers calculate the usage of movable equipment elements and initiate measures to shorten idle period and enhance utilization.

4. Logistics management

Enterprises that depend greatly on transportation can also benefit from IoT-led interconnection between various devices and systems.

IoT can reveal supply chain inefficiencies by eliminating blind spots from logistics processes.
— Forbes

Managing the automotive fleet via IoT-driven devices helps manufacturers eliminate or put down the risks concerning the costs related to vehicles, staff and transportation. Autonomous fleet solutions contribute to the greater efficiency of the company.

Logistics managers make good use of leveraging IoT when it comes to repairs and fuel expenditures. They optimize their tasks that cover monitoring fuel costs, smart deliveries, diagnostics, and drivers.

Additionally, a real-time overlook of driver and vehicle performance aids to raise technicians’ safety, bring down inventory damage and reduce insurance payments.

5. Digital Twins

Applying the IoT approach, known as Digital Twins, lets businesses create and enjoy the robust digital copies of the physical objects manufactured by a company. When empowered with IoT, a POC (proof of concept), an MVP (minimum viable product) or a look and feel prototype turn to be so accurate that you can easily experiment and foresee their functionality as well as initial and final operational capabilities.

This kind of IoT application area allows simulating a lifespan of machines, checking updates, and predicting potential issues and bottlenecks. With IoT instruments, producers can get a replica of equipment and goods for monitoring them in a virtual environment before putting them to market.

Finally, it improves product quality, creates efficient supply and delivery chains, opens new opportunities for businesses and brings customer service to a higher level.

Explore how digital twins let optimize the manufacturing process and eliminate any bottlenecks in the production lines.

Either way, getting the IoT solutions implemented into your business processes requires solid expertise in this field. It makes ByteAnt a perfect option for companies eager to tap into IoT competitive advantages. We’re here to help you, just drop us a line or read more about our IoT services. 

How IoT transforms manufacturing industry
How IoT transforms manufacturing industry

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About the Author
Valeriy is CEO of ByteAnt with over 15 years of experience in software development always focusing and embracing new technologies IoT and SaaS. Besides leading the ByteAnt, Valeriy is a public speaker on tech talks, events, and meetups; mentor and marathon runner.

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