The digital transformation is primarily about reducing costs while increasing production efficiency. To achieve this goal, manufacturing companies should take advantage of the opportunities offered by industrial IoT solutions. How to get paid to optimize production?
Last year’s CGI report on digital transformation shows that as many as 94% of senior managers in industrial plants strive to optimize operational processes. For 91% of them, the main priority is digitization and full IT integration throughout the organization, and 85% of them intend to invest in solutions enabling predictive analytics in the next three years.
What are the main benefits of using IIoT solutions in your daily work? First of all, reducing the costs associated with unexpected downtime, improving safety and increasing employee satisfaction, as well as improving processes and machine operation. The Industrial Internet of Things can also provide manufacturing companies with flexibility and resilience to crisis situations, thanks to which they will be able to develop regardless of the circumstances.
Save and earn with IIoT
According to forecasts by McKinsey & Company, revenues from the IoT market may exceed USD 11.1 billion by 2025. The amount of data collected from IoT devices is also growing at an express pace — Cisco predicts that by the end of 2021 it may exceed 800 billion terabytes.
Why such a huge development of the IIoT market and what can industrial enterprises benefit from it? First of all, savings and the possibility of increasing revenues.
The way IoT cuts costs varies from industry to industry. In the manufacturing industry, savings will primarily come from lowering the overall cost of ownership through the use of predictive maintenance principles, increasing employee knowledge and safety through training, bridging the gap between lower-level workers and management, and identifying and removing bottlenecks in production.
No more unplanned downtime thanks to prediction
Most companies do not know exactly how much unplanned downtime can cost them. In the study “After The Fall. Cost, Causes and Consequences of Unplanned Downtime, ”conducted by ServiceMax experts, found that 70% of companies are unsure when their production machines actually need maintenance or upgrade. Lack of this awareness led to a situation where as many as 82% of the companies surveyed experienced unplanned downtime in the last 3 years, and its average length was 4 hours and cost the company about $ 2 million.
To avoid such situations, it is enough to rely on modern maintenance, which is based on the constant monitoring of machines in the production hall. Thanks to the spread of the condition based maintenance (CBM) approach and solutions offered by Industry 4.0, more and more industrial plants are moving away from prevention in favor of prediction. This approach is based on a large amount of data collected in a continuous manner, advanced methods of their processing and expert knowledge, and allows for earlier detection of potential anomalies and reacting only in the event of receiving information about the risk of an emergency.
How it works?
Monitoring of industrial machines is possible thanks to special sensors that measure various parameters, including vibrations and accelerations arising during operation, energy consumption or system disturbances. Then the data is processed with the help of cloud computing. In the event of irregularities, any disturbances or excessive use of machines, appropriate persons are immediately informed about this fact. The predictive system also notifies you if, when and how production quality is deteriorating or when the machine is using more resources, such as electricity or water, than expected. In this way, the sensors offer access to valuable data, such as about the historical performance of the equipment, as well as signaling impending breakdowns.
Thus, predictive maintenance saves money, including thanks to: reducing costly, unplanned downtime, replacing parts only on the basis of historical data or when it is indicated by irregularities in the operation of machines before a critical failure occurs, ordering only the necessary parts, remote monitoring that sends alerts in real time, and thus radically shortens reaction time or limiting quality problems, and as a result minimizing customer dissatisfaction and employee stress.
Digital twins, and increasing production efficiency
According to the forecasts of the Gartner Institute, by 2021, half of large industrial enterprises will use the solutions offered under the “digital twins”. Digital twins are faithful, virtual copies of physical systems or devices, which means that virtual simulations will behave the same and fail at the same time as a physically existing model.
The use of a digital twin allows you to predict their future behavior and, as a result, reduce critical disruptions and overall maintenance costs, while increasing production efficiency — according to Gartner’s forecast, their use will increase the efficiency of machines by up to 10%.
Digital twins can also help design, train, and make workers safer — especially when combined with other technologies such as virtual and augmented reality. In this way, digital twins provide companies with the following benefits, i.e .:
- extending the uptime of machines,
- reducing downtime caused by costly and time-consuming breakdowns,
- access to advanced predictive capabilities thanks to complex simulations that may cover one machine element or the entire production hall,
- reduction of overall maintenance costs,
- increasing employee satisfaction and safety, reducing training costs, etc.
Overcoming communication barriers and increasing employee engagement
The manufacturing industry often has to deal with communication barriers caused by problems with the flow of key messages between employees on the production floor and management and analysts. Because of this, companies can lose valuable information, and on the other hand, it can translate into a lower level of employee commitment to its success.
Support in solving communication problems within the company is the digitization of production plants, which not only improves fluidity and increases the speed of information flow, but above all gives the ability to make decisions in real time and based on up-to-date data, as well as maintaining constant contact between all employees at all times their changes. The digital communication system facilitates the use of employee knowledge, which is an untapped treasure in many organizations. By giving production workers a voice, the company can grow and at the same time benefit from additional benefits such as increasing their productivity, reducing the number of people on sick leave and leaving work — which is one of the main problems in many manufacturing companies.
IoT brings benefits to employees, while reducing costs by:
- solving invisible problems by filling the gaps between the responsibilities of individual employees,
- increasing the safety of employees, and as a result reducing the number of costly accidents,
- increasing their satisfaction by offering them the opportunity to contribute to the company’s development,
- reducing the number of employees resigning from work, and as a result lowering the costs of employment and training of their successors,
- fostering a positive company culture so that employees invest in success, be more productive and efficient.
Factories often struggle with bottlenecks that are a constant in the production chain, limiting the company’s overall production capacity. One of the basic elements of its management is their quick identification and effective elimination even at the planning stage, which allows you to start production that optimally uses its capabilities.
However, it is not always clear where the bottlenecks occur and to what extent they affect the efficiency of the shop floor. This is where IoT solutions come in handy, helping to pinpoint the areas that slow it down the most. For example, they are able to identify machines that fail more often than others, or need to be upgraded more often, as their current speed reduces the overall efficiency of the factory. They also help identify which machines are underused.
With IoT solutions, you have the opportunity to see how accurate, historical data from industrial IoT sensors can provide hands-on insight into where improvements are needed and what steps need to be taken to get the most benefit, all based on information , delivered in real time. IoT reduces costs by prioritizing and reducing the impact of bottlenecks on the production process, offering process optimization and analysis, as well as conditional analysis to ensure harmonious cooperation between people and machines.
Predicting the future
Finally, by getting sensor data that is aggregated on the fly and analyzed via edge computing or cloud computing, you have the ability to predict the future! Of course, no system is perfect, but the more accurate the data and the longer the history of its collection, the more likely your predictions will be true.
IoT will help you save money by increasing employee safety while reducing the risk of machine failures and unexpected downtime. When you know in advance what may pose a threat to your company’s security, you have the opportunity to fix the problem before it affects your business.
By using the digital twin and looking at the production hall from its perspective, you will be able to predict how planned changes will affect production efficiency, even before their implementation, thus saving time and money.
The Industrial Internet of Things will allow you to predict the future by showing where you are and where else you can make improvements, how you can plan and develop production, and in case of problems it will help you make decisions, because it will provide information needed to plan the next step. IoT gives you an advantage because you know where you are and where flexible decisions can take you.
The choice is yours!