The development and adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) is a critical element of smarter manufacturing. Though manufacturing companies have been implementing sensors and computerized automation for decades, the sensors, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) and PC-based controllers and management systems are largely disconnected from IT and operational systems. These systems are organized in hierarchical fashion within individual data silos and often lack connections to internal systems. There are several reasons for these legacy structures, including significant security issues. These legacy structures differ from the open, highly connected IP network structures that play such a large role in the value propositions of IoT. While the transition to more open network architectures and data sharing of IoT poses challenges in manufacturing and industrial markets, the combination of IoT, Big Data, and M2M optimization will bring profound opportunities.

In the case of manufacturing, high value production equipment has been heavily instrumented for some time in a closed, hard-wired network environment. Industrial standard sensors, controllers and networks are expensive and upgrade projects in existing facilities are not easy. The growth of IoT on the consumer side has driven cost reductions in sensors, controllers, and communications through high volume semiconductor manufacturing. However, industrial standard equipment is constrained by a huge installed base of legacy equipment and standards. As costs of industrial standard “smart” sensors with IP communications and embedded controls falls, these solutions will be implemented across the whole range of manufacturing equipment and in new areas that have not seen heavy investment in automation, such as Balance of Plant4 (BoP) equipment and supply chain logistics. IoT will benefit manufacturing companies by collecting data from these sensors and communicating that data to factory floor workers, plant managers, software systems and many aspects of the supply chain.

“Industry 1.0 was the invention of mechanical help, Industry 2.0 was mass production, pioneered by Henry Ford, Industry 3.0 brought electronics and control systems to the shop floor, and Industry 4.0 is peer-to-peer communication between products, systems and machines.”

The basic principle of Industry 4.0 is the essence of IoT and smart manufacturing. By connecting machines, a manufacturer can create intelligent networks along the entire value chain that communicate and control each other autonomously with significantly reduced intervention by operators. for an example IoT-enabled vision where machines predict failure and trigger maintenance processes autonomously rather than relying on unreliable monitoring by maintenance personnel. Another IoT example is self-organized logistics that react to unexpected changes in production, such as materials shortages and bottlenecks. Manufacturers will use technology to deliver dynamic, efficient, and automated manufacturing processes. IoT delivers new value by connecting.

1. People.

Connected sensors will provide an unprecedented level of visibility into the factory operations and supply chain flow in a much broader range of manufacturing than just the very high value processes currently enabled. IoT in manufacturing will improve business by connecting people to the right information, over the right device at the point of need and cross company boundaries to include suppliers, maintenance partners, and distribution chains. New mobile-ready software will allow plant managers to have access to data such as equipment efficiency, line efficiency, data visualization tools and alerts from any location at much lower costs than previous custom systems.

2. Process

In the first phases of IoT deployments, manufacturers will seek visibility into specific visibility and supply problems. Manufacturers may deploy these systems of use third party managed solutions to get started. As IoT becomes more pervasive, manufacturers will enable faster information flow, faster decisions, and greater market responsiveness by connecting devices into both operational and business software processes. Machine to machine (M2M) communications will enable new levels of automation. For example, Any OEM uses sensor data to decide if it’s too humid to paint an automobile. If the system defines the conditions are unfavorable, the automobile will be routed to another area of the manufacturing process, reducing repainting and maximizing plant uptime. This change alone saved the company millions of dollars or rupees .

3. Data.

Mobility and the IoT will change the types of devices that connect into a company’s systems and these newly connected devices will produce new types of data. IoT will connect physical items such as sensors, actuators, video cameras and RFID readers – to the Internet and to each other. Big data processing and analytics, either on-premise or in the cloud, will collect and analyze data from IoT-enabled devices. These solutions will turn data into context that can be used to help people and machines make more relevant and valuable decisions. Smart manufacturing systems will link production and business domains such as Material Requirements Planning (MRP), Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRPII) and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). There are many potential business use cases for IoT in manufacturing.

4. Factory visibility

IoT data and IP networks will connect what’s happening on the factory floor to enterprise-based systems and decision makers. IoT will provide production line information to decision makers and improve factory efficiency.

 For example, a plant manager walking the production floor could also use IoT and visibility tools to access the efficiency of each machine, view production from any location, and reduce the time to decision and action. For example, Some OEM,s -enabled SCADA applications allow tablets to display performance data and status updates traditionally available only on PCs. Instead of being chained to a control room, facilities managers and production personnel will have easy access to real-time information and collaborate more effectively.

Another Example will say that “When you train people with mobile technology, you can dramatically shrink the delta between when a problem occurs and when it’s acted upon. If there’s a quality control problem in a production line, they can shut down the line before it continues to create products that will all be waste.”

5. Automation.

Plant networks have been isolated from each other and from local and distant business networks. Today, we can use IoT and IP Networks to connect everything within a plant and provide connectivity and information sharing across multiple locations and business networks. Once machinery and systems are connected within the plant, manufacturers can use this information to automate workflows to maintain and optimize production systems without human intervention.

6. Energy management.

 In many industries, energy is frequently the second largest operating cost. But many companies lack cost effective measurement systems and modeling tools and/or performance and management tools to optimize energy use in individual production operations, much less in real-time across multiple operations, facilities, or an entire supply chain. There are numerous ways that IoT and automation of environmental controls such as HVAC and electricity can create cost savings for manufacturers. Connected energy solutions can provide peak demand charge avoidance and enable economy model operations. Certain IoT-enabled HVAC systems also offer integrated weather data and prediction analysis to help manufacturers understand expenses and plan energy usage.

7. Proactive maintenance.

Manufacturers have widely accepted the concept of preventative and condition-based monitoring but many are still in the process of implementing these programs. Lower cost sensors, wireless connectivity and big data processing tools make it cheaper and easier to collect actual performance data and monitor equipment health. If the manufacturer has equipment that’s supposed to operate within a certain temperature range, the company can use sensors to actively monitor when it goes out of range and prevent malfunctions. Measuring vibrations to detect out of spec operations is another example. Businesses, particularly industrial businesses, lose money when equipment fails. With new sensor information, IoT can help a manufacturer improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), save money by minimizing equipment failure and allow the company to perform planned maintenance.

8. Connected Supply Chain.

Just in time manufacturing isn’t a new concept, but IoT, analytics and IP networks will help manufacturers gain a better understanding of the supply chain information that can be delivered in realtime. By connecting the production line and balance of plant equipment to suppliers, all parties can understand interdependencies, the flow of materials, and manufacturing cycle times. IoT enabled systems can be configured for location tracking, remote health monitoring of inventory, and reporting of parts and products as they move through the supply chain, among many other things. IoT systems can also collect and feed delivery information into an ERP system; providing up-to-date information to accounting functions for billing. Real-time information access will help manufacturers identify issues before they happen, lower their inventory costs and potentially reduce capital requirements.