Fridges nowadays have touchscreens. There’s an Instant Pot with WiFi. My porch automatically lights up for 15 minutes when I arrive home after dark. Forget those cute yet mildly terrifying robotic dogs, it’s the small creature comforts of everyday life made possible by advances in technology that remind us we’re living in a magical age. A guy was able to tattoo his client from more than 300 miles away using robotics and 5G wireless, for goodness sake!
We see it in everyday life. More and more common household objects have been engineered with sensors and software that allow them to be networked with other devices. It’s known as the internet of things, or IoT. Adding connectivity to traditionally independent tools is like blessing them with a sliver of sentience, though not enough for them to go all HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey on you (at least not yet).
Taking IoT a natural step further leads us to the industrial internet of things (IIoT) where the same connectivity is utilized for manufacturing and energy management applications. Imagine IIoT sensors being placed in wind turbines to detect weather, transport vehicles to detect movement, even wearables on live workers to detect errors and safety issues. The mind races with possibilities.
Once connected, every machine becomes a cog in a tighter system that is able to monitor, collect, exchange, analyze, and kick out insights in new and exciting ways. No longer is the system of machines only connected by being housed under the same roof, but data can be constantly collected and interpreted from under many roofs for the benefit of more timely maintenance, less downtime, greater efficiency, and incredible results.
Indeed, the magic of IIoT is in the day-to-day details rather than flashy robotics. With greater equipment monitoring comes predictive maintenance wherein cyber-physical systems (CPS) and machine-to-machine communication make possible real-time data collection from the shop floor. Using IIoT and advanced analytics, we can identify machine degradation through early warning signs and declining performance that might otherwise go undetected by the human eye. Consider that roughly 10 percent of industrial equipment ever actually wears out, meaning most mechanical failures are avoidable. Unplanned downtime costs businesses an estimated $50 billion every year.
In other words, the IIoT upside for maintenance is already compelling on its own. And then you begin to realize how it impacts production.
When you think about the size and scope of the supply chain, it’s a lot to drink in. There is so much data to analyze, let alone consume, it’s more than should be expected for any human to manually plow through before the window of response effectively closes. And that’s why we equip our machines with IIoT sensors. IIoT is the conduit through which a data-centric, contextualized view of material flows and related provenance attribute data can be gathered and used for smart manufacturing. Companies don’t even necessarily need to buy new equipment to accommodate these advanced automations. Existing IoT infrastructure can be integrated for the same outstanding results.
At ThinkIQ, we call this granular material traceability and insight powered by IIoT “Digital Manufacturing Transformation SaaS.”
A Quantum Leap In Smart Manufacturing
IIoT is just one component powering Industry 4.0, or the fourth Industrial Revolution. These connected sensors gather the endless, invaluable data from equipment across the supply chain and feed it into a material ledger, which is a novel approach to intelligently tracking material and energy movement and transformations, their associated monetary value, process data, and quality data. It’s the brains behind the raw IIoT data that tracks physical materials, energy, and all associated information instantaneously.
When you combine the insight IIoT provides with granular material traceability, yield, quality, safety, compliance, and brand confidence explodes. Improved visibility has been shown to increase production efficiency by as much as 20 percent in a connected factory.
To wit, ThinkIQ has achieved instances of double production yield, 99.999 percent elimination of recalls, and saved tens of millions of dollars in operational savings at its farm-to-fork deployments. Considering there are tens of thousands of recalls per year, millions of workplace injuries and illnesses, billions of dollars invested in warranty reserves, and trillions of dollars lost in waste, the necessity of predictive maintenance and production efficiency is glaring.
And we owe a great deal of these strides in smart manufacturing to the same technology that automatically lights your porch when you get home late.
Reach out to a ThinkIQ expert and let’s talk about how your existing IoT infrastructure can power your business into a better tomorrow today, or you can download our new eBook titled "Advanced Material Traceability Revolutionizes Digital Transformation"