The traditional automation in manufacturing facilities or production units will soon turn a post technology. Now we have Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) or the concept of Industry 4.0 to smartly replace traditional automation approaches. The IoT solutions for manufacturing can be designed and developed in comparatively less requirement of hardware / software, budget, and time.
IoT solutions for the manufacturing can fulfill the end-to-end digitization requirements of physical assets, machine, and equipments that can be tracked and regulated in real time even from remote locations. IoT-connected factories, production units, and manufacturing facilities allow industries to view routine activities in real time, analyze data gathered from operations and make better decisions to continuously increasing profits.
Certain challenges faced by businesses in the manufacturing & production industry due to the lack of IoT technology are as follows:
Lack of efficiency and productivity
They are the major issues that keep increasing the cost of running operations. Industries with manual operator based processes where one-machine-one person policy is followed, often struggle with this issues. In this scenario, the whole manufacturing or production line can be affected by mishandling or absence of a single employee.
Many manufacturing facilities also lack at measuring the true ratio underlying losses; like availability loss, performance loss, performance loss, and quality loss. These are measured through Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).
One-operator-performing-multiple-tasks can also cause lack in efficiency and productivity. Take the example of an injection molding machine that does not work as soon as it’s turned on. They need proper time to reach the temperature where they can perform the molding operations. Then there is a hydrating machine which also requires time to build pressure to inject melted plastic inside the models. Depending on the size of the machine, the whole process may take from 30 minutes to 2 hours. If this period is included in the working hours, the production, employees have to wait for the time till machine is ready to function.
Here IoT can help such machines readying before employees reaching their work stations. Sensors can take care of factors, like weather, that traditional automation process cannot do but the affect the machine for sure. With IIoT technology, the machine will already be ready to work at the time operators reach there.
Difficulties in handling logistics & Inventory
Departments in industries handling logistics and inventory face challenges related to accuracy, lack of inventory oversights, and redundancy. Many warehouses do not even have proper space utilization/ warehouse layout that lets them place materials in an organized manner. With IoT sensors and sensors-based mapping as well as inventory system, employees can instantly discover what is where.
Inefficient asset management & maintenance
Inefficient asset management & maintenance results in not knowing what you have and how it is, whether or not a particular plant, machinery or equipment is over or under maintenance, or an operator is mishandling a machine, or improper risk management process in begin followed.
By applying IoT solutions, the above mentioned challenges can be dealt with sensors and software.
No real time data analytics
Real time data and analytics can define and revolutionized the future of a manufacturing business but not all businesses in manufacturing do use real time data analytics. IoT sensors and devices installed in a manufacturing unit generate a lot of data that these sensors and device use to improve their own accuracy and performance.
Heterogeneous system (OT & IT integration)
Heterogeneous computing consists of elements not using similar kind of systems to achieve a single goal. This is how a gap is created between the operational technology and the information technology. Lots of businesses engaged in manufacturing and production, which were one of the early adopters of the information technology for manufacturing process automation, have also been facing various problem related to performance and productivity due to depending on heterogeneous system. IoT can give pause to all these issues and create a perfect sync with heterogeneous systems.
Environment, Health & Safety (EHS)
The technology of IoT can do much more than just to let us control home / office appliances, machines, equipment. IoT sensors can also help in transforming the way companies collect, monitor, analyze and make sense of their EHS data.
These challenges can be dealt with following solutions
- Production flow monitoring solutions
- Complete digitization of physical assets
- Environment, Health and safety solution
- Alert & alarm, notifications solutions
- Protective maintenance solutions
- Routine insight of production facility
- Overall Equipment Effectiveness
- Capacity utilization solution
- Machine downtime
- Data analytics