The term IoT was first originated by Peter T. Lewis to narrate “the combination of people, processes, and technology with connectable devices and sensors to activate remote monitoring, status, manipulation, and evaluation of trends of such devices.”
So the entitle has been around for a while now, but the idea still continues to develop and evolve as technology continues to facilitate through new hardware like sensors, and through the collection and analysis of data. So, how have the advancements in smart manufacturing affected the manufacturing business?
Benefits of Smart Manufacturing
Smart factories deploy smart manufacturing to gain production efficiencies, improve production quality and lower reaching to market. Machines can now address failure points and collect data that can be used to increase predictive and preventative maintenance, which in the long run improves uptime. Data analysis is used to predict and prevent failure; it indicates when intervention is required and suggest the necessary corrective actions. Troubleshooting is more systematic, which benefits both manufacturers and customers.
Sensors, Connectivity and Data
The entire concept of smart manufacturing plays around collecting and analysing the data. Sensors collect the data and networks transfer the data. If a device or piece of equipment on the floor is independent, it will not contribute to the collective understanding of the smart factory. Devices and machinery equipped with sensors have the ability to monitor, collect, exchange and analyse data – all without human interference. The sensors collect data, and communicate with correct information on the plant floor, as well as outside the plant (or from the outside in) faster, in order to make easier decisions.
Every device that has the ability to collect intelligence needs to be on a backbone of some type that allows it to produce data or have data pulled out of it. New sensor with networks can be established, or sensors and data networking can be added to existing devices.
As for the data itself, decisions need to be made that make the most sense for the manufacturing plant. How and where to house the data is one such decision – should it be kept in-house, or outside of the organisation walls? Data security is of important concern, so if data is stored off premises, remote connectivity and how to safely get into your system from the outside needs to be addressed.
Auto component, in Particular
Since automotive component manufacturing is the largest sector in the manufacturing industry, it permits special consideration in the IoT as it impacts manufacturers and their customers. In terms of complex components, the data gathered and analyzed can help ensure maximum replication in the process, consistent quality, and low defects. And again, the data also helps determine preventative machine maintenance which helps avoid unplanned break down.
From the customer perspective, smart manufacturing provides various benefits for communication and visibility. Machine data collection and reporting provides the customer important timing information on project and production order status.
And so it goes. The drive to glean more – and better – data from industrial equipment and systems will continue to improve productivity in all the sector as technology, sensors, and systems continue to evolve, to the benefit of the moulders and their customers.