Smart manufacturing for smart enterprises
The internet of things – also known as IoT – and smart manufacturing are on their journey towards preparing enterprises for an entirely digital future, especially in a highly competitive environment like the manufacturing one. The implementation of IoT in the manufacturing industry – which also known IIoT (industrial internet of things) – has become an obvious and critical must for enterprises who want to keep up with competition and upcoming change in customer behavior and/or requirements.
No industry is immune to the upcoming need for IoT in business processes but the manufacturing industry has already taken many advancing steps towards smart manufacturing and is far ahead of other industries, like the healthcare industry. More and more innovating and succeeding manufacturing enterprises are practicing it and are trying to fully benefit from the opportunities and possibilities that this technology – and way of reinventing business processes – offers and will continue to offer. Besides, not only do enterprises highly benefit from it in the long-term run when it comes to efficiency and productivity, it also helps companies create a better company culture, improve relationships with current clients and get closer to potential ones.
A new way of connecting, a better way of working
The integration of IoT in manufacturing is marked as a new era in the industrial history, called Industry 4.0. It’s the fourth and most recent phase of industrial evolution with a promising future ahead. This new evolution where IoT get integrated puts interconnectivity and communication between machines, products, systems and people in production and logistic processes as a top priority and allows data to be transferred and used in way they have never been before. This results in business processes that become more efficient and productive because of easy accessible data, reduction in time-waste, increase in employee productivity and fast intervention. According to a report by Deutsche Bank Research, smart manufacturing will open possibilities for companies to increase in productivity by up to 30%.
At PegusApps, we have created two enterprise apps for picanol, an enterprise who wanted to make their weaving processes more efficient through mobile apps. These mobile apps allow machinery to connect with each other through Bluetooth connection and give operators the ability to control processes and intervene when needed. The first application (Picanol EasySet) controls the waste length during weaving whereas the second one (Picanol Energy) optimises machine usage. These two applications have a different function but result both in the reduction of costs and increase of efficiency.
What it’ll bring to your enterprise
There are countless of advantages and possibilities that IoT integration brings along in the manufacturing industry but there are certainly two major advantages that can change the approach in a company tremendously and increase efficiency and productivity unbelievably:
Visibility and remote monitoring
Because of smart manufacturing and IoT-integration, the communication and comprehension barrier between factory floors and operators will become much smaller. Real-time available information will make production and logistic processes more transparent and controllable for people with different positions within the company. This also means that operators won’t necessarily have to be physically present to obtain important information from machinery, send out new tasks or intervene when necessary; something which results into higher employee satisfaction and productivity.
Reduce in energy consumption
Energy is one of largest operating costs for most manufacturing enterprises but many of them don’t manage this cost effectively. This can change completely because of the visibility and the real-time available information enterprises gain from IoT-integration. Exact energy usage can be understood, improved and taken action upon. Also, because of the communication between machinery, it is possible to create connected energy solutions that will not affect the quality of products but will surely increase the efficiency.
What’s the challenge?
With every technology come some risks and challenges. One of the challenges that occurs with all internet-connected industrial systems is cyber-safety and data protection. As the IoT technology keeps on growing and evolving, all extra connected devices will be a potential entrance towards company sensitive data. Although the security risks between computers and IoT are similar, the risk will be higher for IoT devices because they usually have weaker defend capabilities and are often required to rely on other devices that do the protection work for them, such as firewalls. Other effective security tools that are often used are data encryption, strong user authentication and resilient coding.
But even though security threats will always exist, there are many ways to protect your company data and networks from attacks and as IoT keeps evolving; so will the safety measures. And let’s face it, the cons of IoT integration simply don’t weigh up to the pros.
Are you trying to explore the opportunities of smart manufacturing for your company? Dealing with some unclear questions? Or just being curious? Let us know; we’d gladly have a talk!