Digital Industrial Transformation: IoT for Manufacturing

Are you prepared to succeed in the Industrial Revolution? Are you digitally mature? How far into your Digital Transformation journey are you? Have you struggled to succeed? Do you know where to begin? Let’s read further and get some insight into the same.

What is Digital Industrial Transformation?

Digital Industrial Transformation is something that can transform the overall way an industry functions. As with the most fundamental shifts, this change is easier to execute in theory than in practice. Starting a Digital Industrial operation involves fundamental shifts across all aspects of the business. To create value throughout the customer life cycle, an organization must reorient its business model from linear to always-on.

For example, customer service in traditional business models begins once a customer reaches out with an issue for resolution; in Digital Industrial Models.

The acceleration of consumer adoption towards new technology and technological advances in broadband networking, cloud-based computing and storage, sensor technology, and many more- are driving fundamental market shifts and a new wave of digitally driven technology is taking place. While improving cost reduction, it is a must for manufacturing industries that have massive volume of data from every process to deliver flawless customer service and customer experience.

As the “Internet of Things” is becoming ubiquitous, B2B enterprises should rethink their products and services to thrive in an industrial environment or there is a risk of being left behind by more digital-native competitors.

So, that was all about Digital Industrial Transformation. Now, let’s discuss what is Digital Industrial Transformation for manufacturing.

What is Digital Industrial Transformation for manufacturing?

There are a few major roadblocks that impact the performance and service of any manufacturer, these are legacy systems, soiled data, lack of data insights for faster decision making. Digital Industrial Transformation as the name suggests helps manufacturers leverage the power of advanced digital technologies like IoT, AI, RPA, ML, Mobile Applications, and Cloud to modernize their existing ecosystems by interconnecting processes and capitalizing on manufacturing data insights. Industry 4.0, IoT, and Digitization are currently some of the most-discussed and yet least understood topics within the manufacturing sector today.

Let’s understand Industry 4.0 in a nutshell

Industry 4.0 is an impressive change in the traditional manufacturing landscape. Also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0 encompasses three technological trends driving this transformation: connectivity, intelligence, and flexible automation.

Industry 4.0 converges IT (Information Technology) and OT (Operational Technology), to create a cyber-physical environment.

This convergence has been made possible thanks to the emergence of digital solutions and advanced technologies, which are often associated with Industry 4.0. These include:

· Industrial Internet of Things

· Big Data

· Cloud computing

· Additive manufacturing (AM)

· Advanced robotics

· Augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR)

Digital Industrial Transformation impacts manufacturing in 5 ways:

· Provides real-time data to make faster decisions

· Improves business operation

· Builds existing product development techniques

· Provides an opportunity for innovative product development

· Interconnects all machines and processes

As everything is going digital, even the industries are shifting from traditional mode to digital mode. And this is transforming the manufacturing industry too. Know the 5 ways IoT is transforming manufacturing processes and the quality of the product.

◾ IoT for operational efficiency

◾ IoT for machine maintenance

◾ IoT for product quality improvement

◾ IoT for new product development through innovation

◾ IoT for developing new business opportunities

1. IoT for operational efficiency

There are 2 ways IoT for operational efficiency takes place — Inventory Management and Asset Management.

a. Inventory Management

With IoT devices and RFID sensors, manufacturers can easily set up communication by interconnecting the warehouse shelves and racks. The manufacturers can also easily maintain a real-time look into the inventory. Stock-in, stock-outs, product checking, unboxing, etc. in a large warehouse will be simplified and conducted easily for the manufacturers. This reduces waste to a great extent contributing to better efficiency.

b. Asset maintenance

IoT devices coupled with RFID and sensors, monitoring tools, raw materials, work in progress products, and evaluating their health, scheduling maintenance based on usage is effective for manufacturing staff. One can also Locate any product within a production zone or any part of the manufacturing unit. It also helps the manufacturer in faster decision making and reduces unnecessary spend on assets.

2. IoT for machine maintenance

IoT devices create alert-driven systems and provide real-time insights into potential machine problems. This also helps in repairing or replacing machines or spares without any real need I.e one can easily do it with the help of IoT. Also, IoT sensors attached to machines can provide precise data based on their movements. For instance, measuring the speed of a piston is easy and monitoring temperature when it’s performing at its peak is simple. Just imagine how much this helps.

In this way, manufacturers can improve asset utilization and prevent discourteous downtime caused by equipment failures or missing or lost assets and use the assets to their fullest.

a. Workforce Management

IoT linked with mobile applications help the manufacturing supervisors and managers to collect instant data from machines, assets through mobile and web dashboards to measure employee efficiency and productivity. This prevents managers from walking into the productivity zones and helps make adjustments based on data gained from their cabin without any hassle. This saves time and improves operational efficiency.

3. IoT for product quality improvement

IoT for product quality improvement? Yes! You can surely use IoT devices in improving the quality of the product. One thing needs to be understood that the defective products or returns add significant costs in addition to damaging the brand value of the company. So, without accurate data measuring current product manufacturing and comparing performances won’t make any sense. Because it is not necessary that every product development process can be improved with a simple treatment or simple observation given to them. Sometimes, a deep dive into the data is required to improve the quality of the process. That is why IoT plays a major role in providing the much needed accurate data for manufacturers.

Costs associated with poor quality products come in many forms including the cost of testing and detecting defective products, repairing, replacing products, machine maintenance costs for developing defective products, contributes to loss of customers, and brings down the goodwill.

Every company is concerned about quality, but leading companies leverage automated systems powered by Industry 4.0 solutions like IoT, AI, ML, Applications to garner accurate data to test their products and remarkably improve the quality.

4. IoT for new product development through innovation

The data of customer groups collected through interviews, surveys may come handy but they won’t happen to know how customers use the product.

Understanding this would help manufacturers create user segments and developing products based on the insights gained will open ways for increasing customer loyalty and making good gains. With IoT integrated sensors on products, identifying how users use the product becomes easier. This data then can be used to develop new products that match the expectation of customers.

5. IoT for developing new business opportunities

With the addition of sensing and data transmitting devices to networks of connectivity and value comes an avalanche of data. With the growth of the Internet of Things, we already have more data in specific industries and applications (e.g. life sciences) than we can humanly handle. But what do you think connected machines can do for your manufacturing company?

The answer is, they could offer quite a lot of benefits. Yes, sensors can help in creating new revenue streams for manufacturers. It covers many things, and at the same time is part of a bigger ecosystem of technologies and value. With real-time insights and new value-added offering services for customers helps improve customer engagement and retention. Using IoT in manufacturing is enhancing the levels of efficiency and productivity.

Conclusion:

The Internet of Things is about to change the entire industry and is already transforming organizations in the true sense of the word and on all levels, ranging from customer experience to the transformation of business models and real innovation as we speak.

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