Years from now, historians will talk about a fourth industrial revolution. It is a revolution unfolding at an astonishing pace, making use of cutting-edge technologies that blurs the lines between biological, physical, and digital boundaries.
Manufacturing has been changed dramatically as a result of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, especially thanks to the Internet of Things. Read on to learn what IoT is, the impact it’s had on manufacturing, and what the future holds.
What Is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things refers to a system of inter-related computing, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals, or people with unique identifiers, with the ability to transfer data over a network. There’s no need for human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
This technology has evolved from the convergence of wireless technologies, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), microservices and the internet.
How Has IoT Changed Manufacturing?
For a start, IoT has affected the type of equipment used in factories. Instead of mere mechanical equipment, many production facilities now use machinery connected to a network. It doesn’t need humans to run it; with IoT, you could have an entire factory that runs autonomously.
“Smart” equipment saves time and money. It can run its own diagnostics, so you don’t have to guess what’s wrong with the equipment. It can notify technicians in the event of a breakdown and tell them exactly what’s wrong so the technician can bring the right tools to fix the problem. That means production can continue more quickly.
Another advantage of “smart” equipment is that it collects and analyzes data. You can figure out how much you’re producing and how to become even more productive through modifications to your assembly line. Your equipment can also determine when to power down based on your production schedule and when to utilize more energy.
Second, factories can now create “smart” products – objects that are networked and can transmit information without any intervention. These products are actually easier to manufacture because more features are delivered through software.
The Future of IoT in Manufacturing
IoT isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, the use of IoT in manufacturing will only increase. What does the future hold?
Open, interoperable standards are the next rung on the ladder. Equipment from different manufacturers must be able to “talk” to one another. This will boost IoT adoption as well as improve efficiency for manufacturers.
Industry experts believe that IoT’s use will grow within manufacturing even further as more and more companies see its benefits. IoT-enabled factories produce more goods, reduce the dependence on human workers, and operate more efficiently.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is still in its infancy. The technology that powers it, although advanced, is still emerging. IoT represents an amazing opportunity for manufacturers to get in on the ground floor of a cutting-edge technology that will only continue to develop further and reap more benefits. Even at this point, it’s clear IoT is a driver of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and those who utilize it will be on the right side of history.