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IoT For Manufacturing

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In this step, we’ll explore the manufacturing vertical. We’ll start by looking at the manufacturing sector and you’ll learn:

  • How IoT can revolutionise a manufacturing scenario
  • Ways to implement an IoT solution for this vertical
  • How companies are using IoT today to impact their manufacturing business.

Previously, we saw that instrumenting a factory floor with IoT devices can enable factory managers and line workers to better anticipate problems, understand where critical systems are failing and improve the overall operation of a single factory or a network of factories around the world. In this step, we’ll take a closer look at what IoT can do for the manufacturing industry and how you can start building a connected factory solution.

Monitor Manufacturing Equipment

You can improve your processes using industrial IoT by employing sensors and advanced analytics to predict required maintenance and to reduce unplanned downtime that cuts into production time. Visit Intelligent Manufacturing in Plant Operations for examples of IoT in industrial applications.

Monitor Customer Equipment

Create new business models that offer predictive maintenance and performance monitoring for the equipment you produce, delivering a richer customer experience.

Improve Field Service

Access sensor data to improve field service scheduling, ensuring the right technicians and tools are dispatched before potential issues become a major problem.

Capitalise on the Factory of the Future

The factory of the future is enabling companies to seize new opportunities by expanding their value chain, implementing more agile production, and discovering new revenue streams. At the centre of this change is IoT’s ability to transform the entire connected manufacturing ecosystem, from R&D, through the supply chain, to customer service.

Take a look at this article for more information on future trends: Trends – ‘The Factory of the Future’.

Competing in the Digital Age of Manufacturing

Operational technology and information technology are coming together for the first time, creating new opportunities for digital manufacturers. Connected products and people produce terabytes of data every day that manufacturers can access and extract deep insights from to optimise business and manufacturing processes better than ever before.

More importantly, insight from this data helps manufacturers identify new revenue streams by developing high-value service offerings focused on how products and customers interact in the real world.

This transformation is changing the landscape for manufacturers, enabling them to differentiate themselves, achieve operational excellence and disrupt markets.

The Connected Factory

Len Calderone for the website ‘Manufacturing Tomorrow’ describes a connected factory as ‘an array of innovations that impact a consolidated, connected and flexible model of organising factory operations. These improvements primarily relate to the ability of machines to efficiently communicate with each other, the integrated flow of data to a centralised platform, and cross-device functionality.’

Put simply, this means that an IoT-enabled factory will use devices that communicate with each other and the cloud to capture and collect real-time data to enable a more efficient and productive factory. This is the promise of IoT that we’ve been reinforcing throughout this course and applied to this particular scenario.

At a very high level, a connected factory will use IoT devices to communicate machine information with other machines as well as cloud services, collect and store data from those machines, and enable the creation of reports and alerts.

This image shows an IoT device communicating machine information with cloud services, collecting and storing data from those machines, and enabling the creation of reports and alerts

The Future of Industry is IoT

The value proposition for disrupting industry and manufacturing using IoT solutions is enormous and corporations are just beginning to scratch the surface of what IoT can offer. As devices become cheaper and more reliable, and cloud services add features that enable quicker startup times, better data collection and analytic options as well as device management and maintenance features, the way products are built will change for the better.

Explore the resources below on getting started with an IoT manufacturing solution. Once you’ve had a look at these, let’s look at IoT for healthcare in the next step.

Further Resources for Getting Started

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Microsoft Future Ready: Fundamentals of Internet of Things (IoT)

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