The pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production as it does on almost any other industry. We already know that. A significant drop in the volume of orders and staff reductions — these were some of the effects many manufacturers faced in the past year.
It seems that this situation may persist for some time to come. Manufacturers are starting to look more and more for effective ways to maintain efficiency and continuity of work. Here, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) offers an effective solution to many of the problems of the Covid era.
Below, I describe three, in my opinion, key areas in which IIoT-based technologies can effectively help in the manufacturing industry.
IIoT-based systems help maintain safe working distances. Real-time movement control of personnel, tools and assets (RTLS systems) enables the registration and tracking of all interactions during a shift, which can be particularly helpful in identifying the causes and foci of potential threats. Systems can notify about exceeding the set limits of social distance and send immediately adequate warnings.
In this context, IoT tools provide information to help quickly contain the spread of the virus, such as temperature monitors, can detect workers showing fever — the most common first symptom of the virus. When we identify a threat, RTLS technologies also provide information about the areas in which the infected person has been and what tools they have recently had contact with.
2. Pandemic restrictions
The introduced rotation work systems and the limitation of the number of people who can simultaneously stay in the hall are another result of the restrictions introduced in order to maintain safety. Using IIOT sensors, operational managers can remotely monitor equipment operation, control processes, set tasks and informative alerts. Using dedicated applications integrated with the IIOT platform, they can also provide operators with instructions that previously required personal contact and a visit to the hall. The improvements work on both sides. Operators can efficiently communicate causes of downtime (e.g. using voice functions) and digitally report the operating status.
In addition, sensors that monitor the operation of machines support control over the execution of orders. Sales and customer service departments can focus on their tasks, eliminating the time spent asking about order statuses, deadlines, etc. Some IIOT platforms (FitMech) have modules for the analysis of data visualization in real time (Real-time previews), anywhere and anytime, using a browser, tablet or e.g. TV. The information provided by the IIOT-based platforms allows for easy monitoring of processes in terms of performance, providing managers and team leaders with the ability to quickly detect problems and intervene if necessary.
3. Controlling costs and improving efficiency
A large proportion of factories suffer from lost revenue, which in turn puts a lot of pressure on resource monitoring and cost control. Efficiency becomes crucial.
Efficient management of production operations, material flow and order control is another area in which IIOT can do a great job.
Paper reports — often supplemented with a pencil, we replace them with digital tools (e.g. operator panel, automatic production boards), which are fed with data collected by intelligent sensors.
The production line downtime will be significantly reduced if we have real-time information about its occurrence and cause.
IIOT is a big step towards automation of management
IIOT is a big step towards automation of management Industrial data analysis platforms such as FitMech support intelligent data analysis and machine learning algorithms. In a recently published report (Gartner Top 10 Data and Analytics Trends for 2021) — Gartner predicts that automated decision support systems will be the fastest growing type of artificial intelligence in the next few years in the industrial sector.
This type of artificial intelligence is estimated to have 44% of the market share in 2030.
What are the other areas to be developed by IIOT?
I encourage you to get into the discussion :)
Szymon Arciszewski, COO / Co-Founder at FitMech (firstname.lastname@example.org)