What benefits does smart manufacturing technology bring?

What benefits does smart manufacturing technology bring?
Needless to say, smart manufacturing technology has been deployed in more and more factories around the globe. Specifically, manufacturers are relying on Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices and the data they generate to achieve various objectives, chief among them predictive maintenance and remote monitoring.
 
IIoT, also known as Industry 4.0, has been touted as the fourth industrial revolution, the culmination of all previous revolutions – from human-to-machines replacement during the 19th century to production line implementations of the early 20th century – that transformed the manufacturing domain. This time, manufacturers employ IIoT devices and the data they generate to get more insights and intelligence.
 
“The application of IoT in the manufacturing industry is called the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT),” said Merit Solutions in a recent blog post. “This network of intelligent devices, machines, computers and objects increases automation in many industries by collecting and sharing huge amounts of data with end users – thus improving operational efficiency, productivity, and time and cost savings. These insights help drive smarter and faster decision making while providing valuable insights in real-time.”
 
According to the post, IIoT can assist manufacturers primarily in four areas, namely predictive maintenance, remote monitoring, customer experience and field service. These are further discussed as follows.
 

Predictive maintenance

 
IIoT has contributed to better predictive maintenance, which plays an important role in the manufacturing process as manufacturer seek to minimize the cost associated with equipment failure and factory downtimes. With IIoT sensors and data, operators can get a firmer grasp on impending machine failure and act accordingly. “Intelligent devices can predict when a machine is about to fail, and this allows you to better plan for maintenance. For example, a machine on your floor may be sensitive to temperature, velocity or pressure changes. So when these changes occur, this could indicate potential failure, and the device would essentially ‘predict’ this before any unplanned downtime occurs,” the post said.
 

Remote monitoring

 
Remote monitoring is another area where manufacturers can benefit from IIoT. “Simply imagine your assets having eyes and ears and communicating this back to your dashboard, allowing you to respond to current conditions quickly. For example, a cooling system installed on your clients’ premises can be fully managed through your dashboard,” the post said.
 
It’s also worth to note that this capability is especially beneficial for end user entities, such as solar power plants, that operate multiple large sites. With remote monitoring, operators don’t have to be physically present at each individual site to check the status of equipment.
 

A more tailored and engaging customer experience

 
According to the post, the interaction between the end user entity and their customers at every stage of product development, from initial research to sales, can bring invaluable insights to the organization and improve the customers’ overall experience. “Through all these touchpoints, data can be analyzed to drive action tailored to the different customer needs and preferences. Also, through historical analysis, future product innovations can be leveraged to offer better-designed products and services,” it said.
 

Improve field service

 
Finally, improving field service is another benefit IIoT can bring to manufacturers. “Sensor data out in the field can greatly save you time and money and increase efficiency before potential issues become a major problem. This data ensures that the right field service technicians and tools are dispatched at the right time while optimizing and automating your scheduling process,” the post said. “Field service had always started with a plan that, in reality, was never realized due to unforeseeable factors and delays that were out of their control. IIoT ensures increased schedule accuracy and delivery – leading to increased productivity and customer satisfaction.”


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