How the Internet of Things is Impacting the Manufacturing Industry
The Internet of Things (IoT) has been gaining traction in recent years. Experts say that by 2020 tens of billions of devices will be connected to the Internet. The one industry IoT has impacted more than any other is manufacturing.Smart manufacturing, which involves the use of Internet-connected devices to streamline a company's manufacturing operations, is expected to grow exponentially. In fact, research firm Bl Intelligence said that given current trends, the number of IoT devices should escalate from 237 million in 2015 to 923 million in 2020. Here are some ways IoT is impacting the manufacturing industry.Improved Efficiency
IoT can improve efficiency in a number of ways:
- Through sensors and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), IoT can gauge operational effectiveness and can determine whether certain machines may need to be fixed or replaced before they break down.
- Through shelves, forklifts and other equipment connected to RFID and sensors, manufacturers can gain real-time images of all inventory. The process could also work on the production floor, where IoT would monitor inventory consumption.
- Connected sensors and devices and allow manufacturers to increase their success as field service providers. They can also make the supply chain more transparent regarding a product's condition as well as scheduling and locations.
- Through data from mobile computers, assets and machines, manufacturers can measure worker productivity. Managers can also get a dashboard view of the condition of their machines.
IoT can also help manufacturers become more efficient through predictive maintenance. Connected devices collect for manufacturers data and then analyze it using elaborate algorithms. Employing performance history as a guidepost, software can predict future performance of production lines and the equipment they use. Four things IoT-enabled predictive maintenance accomplishes are: boosting productivity, increasing product quality, promoting more efficient decision-making, and reducing costs.Improves Safety
Manufacturers have always considered safety a top priority, and are therefore always seeking to improve it. Connected sensors and devices, for instance, provide manufacturers information on defective machines to help prevent workplace injuries. IoT also lets companies provide employees with sensors or use video analysis to spot in real time any product flaw or irregularity. Another IoT trend meant to enhance safety measures is the use of wearables to monitor things like air quality and the amount of traffic during an employee's daily commute. Also, a construction firm in Australia uses smart helmets to monitor employees working in the desert to protect them from heatstroke.
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