Why Are IoT and Manufacturing a Good Fit?
IoT and manufacturing are a good fit because IoT automates many processes that were previously manual. That makes manufacturing operations faster and safer.
Here’s an example: manufacturing equipment with sensors allow you to monitor machinery on the shop floor. Before IoT, you didn’t have accurate data on how much you were producing or whether the equipment was in need of maintenance. Now, the machinery transmits information on all sorts of things, including when it needs to be repaired. More to the point, it can tell you exactly what’s wrong with it, so you don’t waste time trying to figure out what the problem is or what tools you need to fix it.
Another example is that networked manufacturing equipment can be programmed to work autonomously. IoT can drastically reduce the amount of human intervention needed in the manufacturing process. In turn, manufacturing becomes safer when there are fewer people involved – think of the reduction in injuries you’ll see.
What Is the Future of IoT in Manufacturing?
IoT is still an emerging technology. As it continues to develop, it will become more and more useful to manufacturers, making them even more efficient.
Not convinced that IoT is anything more than a passing fad? Take a look at some of these statistics: in 2020, close to a third of all IoT spending (hardware, software, services, and connectivity combined) in the Asia Pacific region (excluding Japan) will be for manufacturing.
What else is in store for IoT in the realm of manufacturing? McKinsey predicts that information from equipment sensors will be integrated into a central data lake (which will also contain external information such as supplier specifications, quality indicators, and market trends). This data will allow manufacturers to gain an overall picture of performance and whether they’re hitting their targets.
Analysts at McKinsey add that greater access to data will enable managers to make better decisions. Because data collection and analysis will be automated, managers have better insight into why things went wrong and how to fix it.
IoT will also change the manufacturing process in that designing products could change almost completely. Currently, the design process isn’t reactive – it takes place in a silo. With networked products, manufacturers can receive feedback on products immediately. They can incorporate those recommendations into product lines quickly, creating better merchandise.
Moreover, future factories might operate on an as-a-service model; companies would rent manufacturing space with highly configurable equipment so they could save on producing their goods.
If the prospect of an IoT-enabled manufacturing process appeals to you, now is the time to start investigating how you can implement it at your business. Remember that the most successful implementations are the ones in which nothing is rushed and everything is considered.