IoT development: Top 8 IoT applications in the Manufacturing industry
Manufacturing is a sector that is poised to invest the most in IoT software solutions. According to SafeAtLast, 40.2% of all IoT devices are used in business and manufacturing. Increasing customer expectations, a stronger need for workflow automation, the complexity of global supply chains – these are just a few challenges that encourage manufacturers to look for innovative ways of doing business.
In our article, we will describe the top-priority IoT industrial applications. We’ll start off by talking about IoT technology benefits for manufacturers and then move to challenges that it can solve.
Why should you use IoT solutions in manufacturing
At the end of a busy week in your manufacturing facility, you receive an urgent phone call from a client, saying that they have a rush job that needs to be completed by Monday morning.
You’re thinking “sure, what’s the big deal, we’ll just add an extra shift to meet the deadline with a few employees”. You get your crew and are working; the project moves forward at a rapid rate. And then it happens: an important machine part breaks which cause you plenty of difficulties and lags in production.
The maintenance crew requires time and effort to repair the machine and your job gets seriously delayed, leaving your client unsatisfied. So, the following questions arise: “How did this happen and what can we do to avoid this kind of scenario in the future?”
The IoT presents a solution to these types of problems. For instance, in the situation above, that part would not have been broken because sensors would have detected the problems and alerted employees that it needed replacement long before it came to this mess.
It would have been instantly ordered and replaced, without disrupting the facility operations. And all the hassle would have been avoided – the rush job would have been completed on schedule, and the client would have been satisfied and probably seriously thought about offering you some reward.
This example is one of the reasons why manufacturing plants and organizations are investing millions of dollars in IoT-based solutions. Now, let’s take a look at the most important IoT use cases in the industry.
Top 8 IoT applications in manufacturing
1. Supply chain and inventory management
IoT devices help successfully monitor and manage inventory systems on a global scale. Facilities can stay on top of the supply chain by getting a prompt assessment of the available product on the market. These estimates include information about equipment collection, undergoing work, and the delivery date of the required materials.
The IoT also introduces Enterprise resource planning – business process management software that basically eliminates the need for manual documentation of operations. It adds value by providing improved visibility into managerial departments and helping the stakeholders in examining the undergoing process. Therefore, human errors associated with mismanagement and lack of analysis in the organizations are reduced or even removed.
2. Production flow monitoring
IoT solutions can let manufacturers track the production lines from its beginning to end. A comprehensive production monitoring in real-time provides an in-depth insight into what’s being done throughout the whole manufacturing process.
The software can also recommend adjustments that need to be made to cut down operating costs and automate workflow. Additionally, you will be able to discover the reasons for lags in production and therefore reduce manual work and optimize the full production cycle.
3. Smart logistics management
Logistics is one of the most important areas in every industry and the one that needs continuous improvements to keep up with the increasing demand. Smart sensors and devices, for instance, can accelerate many complex logistics operations and help manage them more effectively.
Retail giants like Amazon have been already adopted drones to deliver products to their customers. State-of-the-art technologies such as drones and sensors offer higher accessibility, speed, and efficiency. What’s more, they require less workforce to maintain.
However, much higher investments should be made to adopt a sophisticated technology like this compared to conventional methods. The plus is that they will pay off due to the work automation, error minimization, and reduced human intervention.
4. Software integration for product optimization
Smart analytics is one of the key applications of IoT technology in the sector. Thanks to it, you can process large data amounts collected by smart devices and sensors, visualize it, and see what should be enhanced in the processes.
Leading companies are using custom software for deep analysis of data acquired by large machine and sensor networks. In-depth data analysis and process understanding provide an opportunity to come up with its production optimization strategies.
These strategies could be directly related to the improvement of particular machinery for better performance and output. Before innovative software tools were introduced, analysis of the vast amount of data was a time-consuming task that needed specific skills and strong effort.
5. Packaging process optimization
IoT-based package management can help improve the efficiency and convenience of packaging manufacturing units. Smart devices can oversee all packing stages and update status in real-time.
Embedded sensors can monitor changes in atmospheric conditions like humidity and temperature, detect vibrations, and report issues in case something goes wrong during transit. Through these insights, one can change the way products are packed for improving customer experience and minimizing the costs of packaging.
6. Predictive maintenance
One of the most popular IoT industrial applications is the ability to perform maintenance in real-time. Instead of relying on traditional schedules, you get real-time reports and understand maintenance needs at an exact moment.
Sensors provide accurate data reflecting the machine conditions and detect possible risks. This piece of technology helps remove errors and failures from the manufacturing process. If some parts require replacement or repair, your employees will be instantly notified. Such a smart system will help you save time and money.
IoT solutions can be developed, for instance, to monitor the temperature and energy consumption of the manufacturing equipment. If the temperature of the piece increases or something goes wrong, maintenance staff gets the ability to prevent potential issues long before they come.
7. Factory safety and security
The security of your employees can be ensured by applying a combination of IoT solutions and Big Data Analytics. An IoT platform can track safety indicators of the working environment and instantly notify manufacturers about potential problems. Smart devices can collect data and transmit them to the central system, where it is stored and analyzed.
You will get reports on the number of injuries, temperature indicators, energy consumption, damages, and any anomalies while having the ability to make IoT solutions themselves control things like equipment functioning, water and energy consumption. Thus, the integration of monitoring systems allows effective and safe working conditions.
8. Power management
IoT can provide the industry with successful solutions for this task. Smart devices can communicate with the environment and help control air conditioners, lights, a humidity level, etc. – all for more efficient power management. Manufacturers, in turn, can get real-time reports and see data in an IoT dashboard and manage everything via a mobile or web application.
Today’s manufacturing sector is actively working on introducing advanced software solutions. Organizations want to increase profit, automate various internal operations, and improve customer service.
The Internet of Things can enable manufacturers to streamline various processes, reduce both operating and labor costs, and increase the overall efficiency as a result. Moreover, the integration of IoT technology encourages the creation of new growth strategies and the use of innovations.
We hope, the article has been useful to you. Having experience in building IoT apps and systems, we’ll be glad to help you in answering your questions and implementing your product. If you want to learn more about our projects, see our featured works.
This article was created by Ana Bera, a website manager at SafeAtLast, and edited by Diana Maltseva, a marketing executive at OZiTAG.