The Internet of Things is revolutionizing the innovation-absorbent world of manufacturing. From AI to wearables and 3D printing, companies of all sizes are getting attuned to the transformative applications that are securing future returns on investments.

This article is an eye-opening exposé into the historical underpinnings of IoT development in manufacturing. It also provides real-life use cases to help glean upcoming technological trends.

IoT in Manufacturing: a Historical Overview

The term Internet of Things (IoT) refers to network-connected electronic devices that are equipped with sensors, software, and hardware in a way that allows them to relay data to other devices via the Internet. Examples include POS machines and voice controllers. IoT has proven indispensable in simplifying our daily routines and improving our day-to-day activities. At their core, IoT devices have an astounding ability to autonomously monitor activities, track mechanical processes, improve efficiency, and feed companies with critical information to help make game-changing decisions.

IoT in manufacturing prompts companies to gather operational insights and design marketing funnels and pipelines that guarantee ROI. Despite the recency of smart devices, IoT’s introduction in manufacturing came several decades ago, in 1968, when General Motors implemented a programmable logic controller (PLC) in their automatic transmission manufacturing department, even before modern internet accessibility was commonplace.

At the time, the integration of telephony enhanced manufacturing efficiency tremendously

By 1999, the term “Internet of Things” was coined to encapsulate all gadgets that were capable of accessing the Internet without a visual interface. It is only within the last decade that the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) became pertinent in every industrial segment in the world, including manufacturing.

IoT in Contemporary Times

The nature of the automation provided by IoT is such that a network of internet-connected manufacturing tools is developed in a way that minimizes human input. This is realizable since the equipment in question now has sensors and software that can identify problems such as the presence of harmful chemicals, heartbeat rate, and humidity on the manufacturing floor.

These capabilities bring numerous benefits of IoT to the manufacturing scene, including process optimization,  inventory optimization, asset monitoring, and predictive maintenance, among others. These activities ensure energy and cost savings for the business owner and greater ROI for investors.

Manufacturing IoT in Action

Digital Twins

The digital twin is a virtual representation of a manufacturiing examples equipment or a system, receiving real-time data from the equipment. This is achieved through simulation and machine learning. Virtual replicas of equipment allow plant managers to model processes, identify and address threats, and make critical decisions without sacrificing valuable physical assets.

Renowned manufacturing company Kaeser Kompressoren SE is recognized for providing measured compressed air products transformed from product-selling to service-selling using digital twins technology. Such service ingenuity enables the company to charge clients based on real air utilization instead of a predetermined fee. The result was a 30% savings in product price. The confidence accorded by virtual monitoring has also led the brand to onboard close to half of the major commodity vendors.

internet of things

Remote monitoring

For manufacturers with industrial assets, uninterrupted remote monitoring facilitates equipment health and performance longevity. In-equipment sensors are capable of spotting and addressing issues that may arise. Such innovativeness unveils new opportunities for an equipment-as-a-service enterprise model.

Portable toilet manufacturer Armal excels at moulding equipment to produce plastic frames and components for their fabrications. Its main aim was to optimize power usage by monitoring the machinery remotely. By moderating power usage across the manufacturing cycle through inputs from IoT sensors and software, the company reduced machinery energy expenses by 40%.

Logistics management

Adverse weather is a longstanding threat to manufacturing companies that need to move their products down the chain of distribution. Weather affects visibility and reduces commute time. Additionally, it increases the risk of fraud, particularly when large assets are involved. For fabricators that are heavily reliant on transportation, IoT fortification can be worthwhile. IoT-based logistics cover use cases in the value chain such as warehousing, fleet management, and cargo tracking.

Online retailer and cloud computing, juggernaut, Amazon, has recorded great success by making last-mile product deliveries using drones in its tradition of continually giving service options to its customers.

The Future of IoT in Manufacturing

From what we have seen so far, not many would disagree that IoT gives more power to consumers while presenting an avenue for exponential growth in manufacturing. Major industry players are seizing this nascent technology to digitize their manufacturing operations for the purposes of servitization and competition. Let’s not forget that manufacturing is a secondary human activity out of which the greater part of modern living emanates. Experts favourably portend that the global IoT in the manufacturing market is expected to expand in size to $53.7 billion in 2025 from $33.3 in 2020, demonstrating a compound annual growth rate of 10.2%. Based on this, the sustained transformation of conventional factories into intelligent smart spaces with the help of an IoT development company will inspire growth in adjoint industrial segments.

IoT in the manufacturing segment is coiling up to make giant strides in the near term. More and more manufacturers will be committing time and capital to adopting interconnected and smart manufacturing protocols as they move into the new age of production efficiency.

Enter the Future with Softeq

Whether you’re keen on price leadership, process optimization, and cost-savings, you need the contribution of seasoned Internet of Things development’ experts to guide you through the first steps of your IoT overhaul. At Softeq, we pride ourselves on deep IoT implementation know-how across multisectoral applications to ensure that every client begins their IoT foray with a winning hand. Every stage of the development of your IoT solution is geared toward the long-term sustainability of your company.

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