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How Industrial Internet of Things Changes Product Design and Manufacturing

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-03 Click:22

In 2011, German scientists first proposed the concept of Industry 4.0, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as a government strategy.

Priority is given to flexible large-scale production, including agile customization of products, coordination of people, machines, equipment, and sensors, information transparency, and the ability to make decisions at dispersed manufacturing points.

Promoting Industry 4.0 requires new manufacturing processes, technologies, training, and systems. The Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) plays a crucial role in connecting various parts, enabling decentralized processes and decision-making.

Today, 10 years later, enterprises have made significant progress in manufacturing automation, intelligence, and innovation, which can be seen everywhere in the end-to-end workflow of the manufacturing industry.

Let's take a look.

Industrial Internet of Things and Digital Twin Engineering and Product Design

Conceptualizing a new product, building it, and testing how it works are two different things.

Usually, the engineering department releases product designs, and then an independent team of engineers reviews the design based on the actual working mode of the product and requests product changes. Although this iterative design can improve product quality, modifications require time and money.

Now with the IIoT virtual digital twin, product designers can execute hypothetical virtual representations to view the performance of products in various scenarios. A digital twin program is a computer program that injects real data about a physical object or system, and then outputs predictions or simulations of how that object or system will work.

Digital twin simulation improvement and modification of products. Due to the fact that digital twins are product simulations, using them can eliminate the time wasted in the production workshop when defects are discovered, and the repair cost is higher.

W., the head of StephensonStrategies, an IoT consulting firm David Stephenson said, "Real time data from digital twins allows designers to 'see' in real time how (product) features are being used or ignored, as well as misuse patterns caused by poor file quality." Usually, products can be digitally updated through software updates, reducing maintenance issues and improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.

For example, Tesla achieves this through wireless software updates

Automation, real-time visibility of manufacturing workshops

A central premise of Industry 4.0 is decentralized manufacturing.

From an IT perspective, this means that more computing runs remotely at the edge of the enterprise and outside the central data center. Industrial IoT technologies such as sensors, robots, automation, and video streaming have promoted edge manufacturing.

At the manufacturing level, the focus is on automated manufacturing processes and their visibility to improve efficiency and save costs. Especially in repetitive production environments, such as a box of breakfast cereal or a roll of tissue being repeatedly produced, industrial IoT robots achieve automated assembly lines by faithfully repeating the same operation without potential errors.

This kind of automation can accelerate the production process and reduce production costs, but it should be noted that humans must be able to intervene when necessary.

This is where real-time visibility plays a role.

Sensors embedded in robots and other automated manufacturing equipment will sound alarms when specific processes or equipment emit signals of potential malfunctions. Due to the fact that alerts predict problems before they occur, proactive maintenance can be performed to prevent failures.

The visibility of industrial IoT supported by sensors and video streams plays a crucial role, as the average downtime cost for repeated manufacturing is estimated to be $6000 per hour.

The production factory is also equipped with cameras for video transmission from various points in each factory. A production supervisor, if he/she is not in the workshop, can observe potentially troublesome production processes through his/her smartphone and respond immediately. The equipment, products, and other enterprise assets at the manufacturing level, as well as in the safety equipment cage, can also be continuously monitored through video cameras to achieve safety objectives.

"It's not just enough offline analysis, because our goal is to identify a problem downstream significantly in advance, which requires real-time monitoring of event information for key components," said Evan Guarnaccia, SAS Solution Architect. "It could be a small motor that, when it has a problem, will trigger a bigger failure, or it could be a very expensive component."

Active IIoT with video streaming support

The early industrial Internet of Things was built around sensors, robots, and automation. As more manufacturing continues to operate in dispersed factories, these industrial IoT technologies will continue to play a crucial role.

Next, we can look forward to seeing more video streams, allowing supervisors and managers to observe the practices in factories where they are unable to physically attend and actively respond to what they see.

From an early perspective, manufacturing engineers faced challenges when attempting to communicate with others about product design. Nowadays, manufacturing engineers can communicate with design engineers half a world away through video streaming. In practical operation, manufacturing engineering can demonstrate the complexity of products in real-time to design engineers.

This promotes more timely and effective product modifications, and increases the power of digital twins, allowing engineers in the design and manufacturing fields to virtually visit products before installing individual chips, bolts, engines, or user interfaces.