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How does IoT technology change the face of global factories?

Author:QINSUN Released in:2023-12 Click:113

It's not surprising that factories are filled with automation - even small productivity improvements in factories have a significant proportion of factors. With the discovery of industrial efficiency, cost saving measures, and new technologies, factories have become innovative test benches, which is understandable.

Therefore, it is not surprising that the Internet of Things, as the next stage of digital transformation, has a series of applications in factory automation. These applications represent a subset of industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) use cases. Effective deployment of the Internet of Things begins with reliable data collection and storage. In addition, the depth of opportunities brought by the Internet of Things is limited to people's imagination.

Collect data and unlock use cases

There are countless use cases for using good IoT technology in factory environments. Here are some templates:

Remote monitoring of system operation status

Asset tracking

Process lifecycle tracking

Cold chain management

Patient safety tracking

Regardless of the use case, everything starts with data collection and storage. The deployment of the Internet of Things usually starts from one end but extends to other applications; After sensors enter the site (factory) and collect data, new possibilities arise on how to process this data.

On the basis of baseline tracking and monitoring functions, machine learning and other analytical methods can be layered to maximize the utilization of information transmitted by sensors. Start with data and then move on to storytelling to extract meaningful content.

Improve efficiency and productivity

In factories, the important victory of the Internet of Things may revolve around improving productivity. The improvement of mechanization and automation in physical processes can help organizations build more things faster and with higher quality.

For example, the Internet of Things can enable remote access and operation of equipment for processing materials on assembly lines. The Internet of Things system can utilize cutting-edge robot technology to accelerate assembly line operations, standardize component creation, reduce product errors, reduce product waste, and automate quality assurance processes.

Improving inventory management

Remote monitoring of factory equipment and processes can generate data for a deeper understanding of procurement and planning. By monitoring the filling level of a given material, the IoT system can notify employees when the material needs to be replenished. More importantly, it can monitor the supply situation over several months to determine how often materials need to be replenished considering many different factors. When material supply orders need to be issued, employees can be proactively signaled to reduce unnecessary costs and optimize inventory procurement.

If there are shared devices within (or between) facilities, IoT systems can use data to suggest the location and time of mobile devices. If a facility encounters high utilization of a device type on Wednesday morning, the IoT system can analyze many factors and recommend the number and type of devices that need to be reallocated on Tuesday afternoon to optimize inventory usage and availability.

In addition, by collecting data on the usage patterns of individual devices, IoT systems can suggest when to perform preventive maintenance on the devices. Tight integration with specific device types can even enable IoT systems to detect errors in devices, mark problems early, and report the precise source of errors. This can greatly save time, allowing the factory management department to make more use of equipment and improve the safety of equipment operators.

Improve the maintenance of factory facilities

For factory innovation, facility maintenance may be an underestimated area. The Internet of Things system monitors the temperature, humidity, and electricity consumption of HVAC systems in factory facilities, which can significantly save costs and reduce energy consumption. It can also detect anomalies, mark maintenance requirements, and help manage facilities. It can also incorporate security measures into its monitoring to help ensure the safety of facility operators.

Improving employee safety

By creating opportunities to reduce equipment defects, product errors, and more effective process management, IoT systems can improve the personal safety of factories. If there is harmful exposure in the factory, such as fire or gas hazards, the Internet of Things system can transmit critical system information and other auxiliary data to ensure employee awareness and safety.

With the global spread of COVID-19, the health status of factory employees has taken a new priority. The Internet of Things system can also mark employees, detect whether they are too recent to mark CoVD concerns, and map anonymous employee data to larger contact tracking during the outbreak. For situations where it is not possible to selectively label individual employees, the IoT system can also detect the level of congestion and issue security warnings when there are too many people in the enclosed space.

It is worth noting that the problems brought about by factory automation are related to labor: will the improvement of factory automation lead to a decrease in factory job positions? Very likely. However, it seems more likely that as digital transformation deepens, job descriptions in the manufacturing industry will change. This can improve employee safety and satisfaction by shifting work from monotonous, repetitive, and fatigued tasks to the field of process or system management, and shifting work to the field of process or system management to monitor systems that are executing repetitive tasks. Time will tell us how the manufacturing industry will redistribute labor in the future.

Adhere to compliance measures

Remote monitoring of factory facilities can help ensure visible and accessible compliance KPIs. By communicating these KPIs early and frequently, automatically executing reports and labeling issues, IoT systems can also help meet compliance measures. IoT systems can not only improve productivity, optimize inventory, reduce maintenance costs, and enhance employee safety, but also enhance compliance in multiple aspects and enable organizations to create new KPIs that were previously inaccessible.

All of these IoT use cases are used to reduce costs: financial, material, legal, time, and social costs. In this constantly evolving era of the Internet of Things, factory automation is still very active and has sufficient reasons. By generating valuable data around processes, IoT systems can quickly become a practical starting point to intelligently and sustainably improve processes.