Efficiency is key to any manufacturing plant, and for that reason, the Internet of Things and manufacturing are a perfect fit. Today, we’re looking at a world that will be filled with almost 30 billion connected ‘things’ (devices and sensors) within the next five years. To understand why this is such big news for manufacturing, you first need to understand what it is that IoT has to offer.

 Efficient Machine and Goods Tracking

A significant amount of time and money is spent tracking materials, machines, and finished products within a manufacturing operation. IoT technologies can be used to track any element within a factory, and it can be done with absolutely no hands-on human intervention. This is possible with RFID tags and on-site readers. The technology used is well proven and established, and is even used in critical industries such as aviation and freighting. RFID tags are passive, so they’re cost effective, and when integrated with suitable software it is possible for manufacturing operators to gather continuous insights into their manufacturing flow, allowing them to redesign their processes and increase efficiency.

 

 

Optimizing Production with Machine Monitoring

Sensors embedded in robots and other production machines can help manufacturers to continuously monitor their efficiency, while staying on top of all maintenance requirements. Remote monitoring and diagnostics can mean that faults or developing faults can be identified more easily, and there is less risk of production halting due to failed machinery. With the data collected, it is also possible to create new maintenance schedules based on the real time diagnostics. Because the monitoring systems require no interaction, they’re also suitable for lights-out manufacturing operations.

 It’s all About the Data

Data will ultimately be more important than any of the individual machines and sensors that a manufacturer uses. With the right data collection techniques and effective interpretation, manufacturers will have the potential to continuously improve and streamline their production processes. IoT allows tracking from raw materials, to production line, and all the way through to quality assurance and delivery.

 

What would take hundreds of man-hours to record manually, can be achieved in real time with IoT sensors. By adopting Industry 4.0 concepts, manufacturers will be able to share data between customer relationship management and supply chain management software, making for an overall more agile and efficient operation.

 

While there will always be security and other technical challenges to overcome when deploying IoT solutions, the potential benefits are too compelling to ignore, and will soon become necessary to compete in an increasingly connected and automated industry.If you are an employer facing these issues of and need to attract & retain top talent or you are looking for that next career opportunity, we will assist.  Schedule a 15-minute triage call today and discuss what can be done to take you to that next level. https://whmeanorassociates.acuityscheduling.com/

James Kemper is the president of W. H. Meanor & Associates, an executive placement & training company specializing in engineering & manufacturing careers.  He can be reached at: jms@whmeanor.com or 704-372-7640 #102 or visit at www.whmeanor.com