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Role of IoT in the Manufacturing industry

September 9, 2021
7 min
IIoT

Alongside the growing digitalization of numerous processes within all industries, the Internet of Things is rapidly expanding its role in manufacturing. IoT can raise productivity to a completely new level, helping businesses hit one commercial goal after another. But just how seamless is the integration of IoT in manufacturing? Is the sector fully ready for Industrial Internet of Things  (IIoT) solutions? Let’s take a closer look at the IoT market to find some answers

Internet of things in Manufacturing: market review

The size of the IIoT market in 2020 was $216.13 billion, a figure forecasted to reach $263.52  billion in 2021. The market is said to be expanding at a CAGR of around 22.8% globally in the period between 2021 and 2028. 

General global IoT market volume is expected to hit $1463.19 billion by 2027.

The best-established IoT market is believed to be in North America, so it’s a good model for its structure and market revenue by application. Manufacturing isn’t the largest field for IoT, but it is continuously growing.

IIoT market

According to recent studies, total enterprise IoT spending in 2020 increased by 12.1% to $128.9 billion. Spending on IoT in 2021 is expected to grow even faster, by 24%, with annual growth beyond that at about 26.7% every year.

The reason the IIoT market, investments in this sector, and demand for IoT software development services are growing at this pace is the benefits these solutions offer to companies. Here are some of the most prominent advantages:

  • Opportunity to reduce operational costs. IoT helps optimize many administrative and manufacturing operations, to use energy more efficiently and decrease machine downtime.
  • Enhanced safety in the workplace. IIoT solutions and wearable devices allow for tracking activities by workers that can result in injuries. These technologies can also monitor various external factors and provide notifications about events that could lead to serious incidents, such as a gas leak.
  • Improved product quality. IoT-powered systems, with the help of sensors, can detect changes in machine settings and configuration. After finding even the slightest error, sensors will alert operators, who can then solve the issue in a timely fashion to avoid product quality deterioration.
  • Better forecasting. Sensors can continuously track the state of machines and notify staff when maintenance is needed. This means that IoT-enabled networks can help you not only identify necessary maintenance promptly but also avoid spending money when it is not required.
  • Informed decisions. As IoT sensors gather all critical data related to the work of your equipment, managers can base their decisions on more precise facts and take steps to enhance productivity.

IoT manufacturing solutions: use cases

Below are some of the most popular use cases for IoT solutions in manufacturing. It’s worth mentioning that all solutions built for dealing with these tasks are highly customizable and can be fully tailored to the needs of any factory or plant.

IIoT use cases

  • Predictive maintenance. This case involves using IoT technologies for analyzing equipment health and predicting maintenance needs before there’s an emergency or necessary machinery downtime. Based on the received data, it’s possible to build a long-term maintenance strategy and make the right decisions.
  • Asset performance management (APM). IoT, often coupled with AI, can be used to predict the risk of asset failure or degradation. Accumulated historical and real-time performance data can be correlated with inspection reports, maintenance records and other related data for better business planning and optimizing and monitoring asset health.
  • Digital twins. These solutions make it possible to build a digital model of various real-world objects, locations, people, and business processes. Having a representation of your manufacturing operations in virtual space will give you valuable insights to help you optimize existing procedures, ensure better productivity, reduce operating expenses, etc. 
  • Quality management. IoT networks can include special sensors to track not only the parameters of the manufactured products but also the state of the machinery, its performance, settings, and configuration, which together have a direct impact on the quality of products. All errors are reported in real time, to allow operators to take the necessary steps to prevent quality deterioration.
  • Supply chain management. IoT devices powered by GPS and other technologies can efficiently track and authenticate various products and their shipments. Data received from sensors placed on products enables companies to more accurately estimate time of delivery. These tools can also play an important role in avoiding problems related to deliveries.
  • Inventory management and remote monitoring. These solutions can automate and streamline inventory tracking as well as facilitate reporting. Operators can remotely monitor each individual inventory item, its status, and location – which also helps reduce the time between making an inventory order and the moment it is delivered.
  • Safety for workers. IoT can also create smarter and safer work environments. IIoT systems can include advanced sensors, cameras, and AI and AR tools that help to identify risky situations, possible issues with machinery, and incorrect actions of employees that can lead to injuries. As a result, overall risks for employees are reduced.

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Adoption of IoT solutions for manufacturing: main challenges

Despite all the benefits IoT solutions can offer to the industry, many companies prefer to delay adopting these technologies. That’s a reaction to some of the risks and pitfalls associated with IoT integration. Let’s look at the key issues.

  • Financial risks. IoT manufacturing solutions require significant investment. However, in the initial stages, it is impossible to be fully confident in the ROI. It’s important to bear in mind that software development is certainly not the only cost involved.  There’s also the necessary hardware (sensors, for example), and the cost of cloud storage and tech support. Uncertainty about how long it will take to recoup these investments and start to generate revenues is a strong discouragement for some companies to implement IoT-enabled digital transformation.
  • Lack of employees with necessary qualifications. Most companies in the manufacturing industry do not have staff specialists with strong knowledge and experience in software development, IT security, cloud technologies and other related aspects. Adopting IoT tools may require introducing changes to corporate structure and hiring new employees.
  • Difficulties in integrating new solutions with legacy systems. Implementing IIoT in the existing operation ecosystem without losing data or breaking some processes can become a real challenge.
  • Data security issues. The risk of cyberattacks is believed to be higher when IIoT solutions become integral to a company’s operations. IoT security tools also present additional cost. However, with the right approach to these issues, you can always minimize the existing risks. At Cogniteq, we can help you with the development of your security strategy based on the ongoing industry situation, its highest standards and your demands.

With rich expertise in IoT development and a deep understanding of the current needs of the manufacturing industry, we offer IIoT solutions that can cover a wide scope of tasks. Today our portfolio already includes a number of successfully launched IoT projects developed for companies working in various spheres. Maybe our next solution will be built for your business? Reach out to us for a consultation! To discuss all the details of how we might work together, please fill in the form available on our website and we will get back to you as soon as possible.