How IoT Is Transforming Manufacturing: Top 8 Use Cases

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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.

What Is the Industrial Internet of Things?

To begin with, let’s have a closer look at what IIoT is. This term is used to describe the application of the Internet of Things in the industrial sector. IIoT systems allow users to unite physical objects into one network for various purposes and needs of manufacturing enterprises.

Thanks to modern IIoT solutions powered by sensors and smart devices, it is possible to organize an efficient and immediate exchange of data between different equipment, machinery, robots, and vehicles without any human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. The range of use cases of IoT in manufacturing includes remote monitoring of production lines, alerts about machinery malfunctions, predictive maintenance, automated stock transportation, supply chain process tracking, and others.

Internet of things in Manufacturing: market review

The size of the IIoT market in 2022 was $321.81 billion. Just compare: in 2020 this figure was $216.13 billion. The market is said to be expanding at a CAGR of around 23.2% globally in the period between 2023 and 2030. 

General global IoT market volume is expected to hit $3352.97 billion by 2030.

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.

 

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According to recent studies, total enterprise IoT spending in 2022 increased by 21.5% to $201 billion. It is predicted that in 2023, enterprise IoT spending will continue going higher and will grow by 18.5%.

    Benefits of IoT in Manufacturing

    The key reasons why the IIoT market, investments in this sector, range of IoT examples in manufacturing, and demand for IoT software development services are growing at this pace are related to the benefits these solutions offer to companies. Of course, it can be rather challenging to enumerate all of them, especially given the fact that they may vary depending on the specificity of the enterprise. Below you can find some of the most prominent advantages of using IoT in manufacturing:

    • Opportunity to reduce operational costs. IoT in manufacturing helps optimize many administrative and production 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.

    Top 8 Use Cases of IoT in Manufacturing

    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.

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    • Predictive maintenance 

    This case involves using IoT in manufacturing 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. Special sensors and smart devices installed directly on the machinery and manufacturing lines can also detect any unusual patterns in the work of equipment and send notifications to the company’s server. Such solutions help to avoid additional operational expenses that can be caused by unexpected equipment failure and downtime.

    • Asset performance management (APM)

    IoT in manufacturing, 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. Moreover, APM solutions are intended for helping you to minimize the risks of unplanned downtime. Using advanced analysis capacities, these technologies can detect emerging issues and prevent any potential ones. Thanks to the proactive approach to any possible problem, you can be better prepared for all the situations that have a negative impact on your production processes.

    • 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, adjust your business strategy, develop better production plans, etc. It is important to highlight, that in the manufacturing industry digital twins can be created for any particular production line, any assets, ready-made product, as well as any other “real/physical world” scenario that is included in the production process.

    • Quality management 

    In the era of technology, there is no need to conduct quality management procedures manually. This task in the manufacturing industry can be solved thanks to the network of connected smart devices. Such networks can include special IoT sensors to track not only the parameters of the manufacturing process and the quality 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 and customer satisfaction. All errors are reported in real-time, to allow operators to take the necessary steps to prevent quality deterioration. Automation of quality management and all related processes helps to increase the accuracy level and minimize the risks of mistakes.

    • Supply chain management 

    Industrial 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 the time of delivery. As a result, clients, partners, end users, and other participants of supply chains, who are waiting for shipments of products can be better informed about all the processes. And in case of any unexpected changes in supply chain processes caused by external factors, they can make more grounded and efficient decisions. IoT devices and software can also play an important role in avoiding problems related to deliveries and fleet management

    • Inventory management 

    These solutions can automate and streamline inventory tracking as well as facilitate reporting. Operators can remotely monitor each individual inventory item, its status, and its location – which also helps reduce the time between making an inventory order and the moment it is delivered. With IoT-powered management systems, managers and operators have constant precise visibility of the quantity, position, ad movement of inventory items. These insights are extremely valuable for further better planning and timely elimination of any issues related to the assets.

    • Remote monitoring 

    Remote production control solutions help to significantly reduce operating costs as well as expenses on the labor force. Smart devices installed on manufacturing equipment and production lines send instant alerts in case of emergencies and provide operators with full visibility of manufacturing processes. Thanks to that, it is possible to avoid product losses and eliminate inefficiencies in production that can be caused by the application of exclusively manual monitoring procedures. Such solutions can be used for monitoring assets and machines, as well as conditions at the facilities.

    • Safety for workers

    This case is one of the most popular IoT applications in manufacturing as 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. Such solutions can help businesses to timely react to emergencies which allows them to avoid more serious consequences that can be observed without quick and correct reactions. Moreover, there are smart devices that can track worker fatigue levels and health states. When unfavorable levels are detected, a manager will receive a notification. As a result, overall risks for employees are reduced.

     

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    Challenges of Adopting IIoT in Manufacturing

    Despite all the benefits IoT solutions can offer to the industry and the expanding range of IoT examples in manufacturing, 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, the peculiarities of your manufacturing process, and your demands.

    The Future of IoT in Manufacturing

    Given the growing investments in the design of IoT apps and devices for the manufacturing industry as well the high interest in the implementation of such solutions from the side of enterprises, it is expected that the number of use cases will continue increasing. And with the development of AI tools and technologies that can be observed today, a special focus for the IoT in manufacturing will be placed on predictive maintenance and process automation.

    Moreover, the vulnerability of IoT systems to various cyber threats remains to be rather high these days. That’s why it is believed that in the nearest future engineers will be actively working on finding new ways to protect such systems and sensitive business and machine data from all kinds of hacker attacks.

    In general, there are solid grounds to presuppose that in the years to come, more enterprises will rely on IoT devices in their everyday operations. Thanks to this tendency, the demand for the custom IIoT system is expected to skyrocket.

    With rich expertise in IoT development services 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 industry 4.0 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.

    FAQ

    How is IoT used in manufacturing?

    The range of IoT applications in manufacturing today is rather wide. For example, such solutions are used for monitoring the technical state of equipment, asset tracking, and inventory management. IoT helps to reduce operational costs, increase productivity, improve the quality of products, and ensure better safety for workers.

    What is the future of IoT in manufacturing?

    Given the growing investments in the development of IoT apps and devices for the manufacturing industry and the high interest in the implementation of such solutions from the side of enterprises, it is expected that the number of use cases will continue increasing. And in the future, more enterprises will rely on IoT devices in their everyday operations which will bring new use cases of IoT to the industr