The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) can enhances plant efficiency through the use of machine sensors, machine-to-machine communication and network communication with advanced analytics to create a “smart” environment where many decisions never require manual intervention.
How IIoT can Enhances Plant Efficiency
By connecting machines to a cloud, an automaker or supplier can connect its plants around the world, allowing executives and managers access to more data than ever, data that can be used to manage plants and adjust to problems and risks with a high level of precision, sometimes autonomously.
Just like vehicle platforms, global manufacturing footprints are standardized to make efficient use of resources while producing consistently high levels of quality. Yet, over time, the evolution of product development must be aligned with process advancements and innovations.
The cloud is the enabler not only for connecting plants … but connecting the shop floor with the top floor. Less than 1 percent of all available data on the shop floor is used by companies. The rest of that data can become accessible to companies through the Internet of Things.
Much of the Internet of Things technology is already available for companies to use to optimize their processes. For example, the GE Digital Greenville, S.C., plant utilizes LED lights that can pinpoint the location of an operator using an iPad within 10 centimeters.
IIoT also plays an important role in connecting the enterprise with other manufacturing functions and the supply chain. Several leading manufacturers are balancing their workforce with automation, information technology, and process advancements to achieve excellence in performance while producing world class automobiles
The American Society for Quality (ASQ) surveyed manufacturing companies that have digitized their processes and found astounding results:
- 82% increased efficiency
- 49% experienced fewer product defects
- 45% increased customer satisfaction
Connecting manufacturing devices and aggregating the data created is enabling manufacturers to reduce overhead, conserve resources, increase profits and optimize operational efficiencies. There are many ways the IIoT helps in optimizing manufacturing; inventory control and supply chain management help companies become more efficient.
The greatest advancements made possible by the IIoT is energy management. Taking advantage of advancements in device connectivity, manufacturers can now track energy consumption patterns at the device level. By tracking each piece of machinery on the floor, managers and executives get granular visibility into energy consumption.
Naturally, the Internet of Things will also bring to the automotive industry changes that we can’t predict yet. But IoT is already influencing how carmakers build their vehicles and how they think of the future of their products. That influence is only going to deepen as more connected cars come online, and as consumers continue to demand more technology in their vehicles.
Operationally in production, a balance must be reached between centralized control and de-centralized decision-making. Without IIoT, plant managers sometimes must defer key operational activities, which can result in safety, health and environmental implications and costs.