The emergence of IoT technology has been exemplarily beneficial for the manufacturing sector. Its integration in factories and workshops has led to the rise of some out of the box features that were not possible with the legacy SCADA and PLC systems.
The term â€śIndustrial IoTâ€ť or â€śIIoTâ€ť is hence used by many that showcases the brilliance of this technology in an industrial setup. It is the future of manufacturing that can optimize on-floor operations and enable a machine to machine interaction to create a connected and automated environment within an industry.
Howbeit, before you implement this technology to garner the capabilities of M2M synchronization and automation, you must first leverage it for machine monitoring. IoT based machine monitoring systems are much easier to deploy in a machine-driven environment and can help you obtain a high return on investment and that too in a payback period of few months.
Moreover, small scale industries that are looking for a breakthrough innovation can easily implement IoT machine monitoring systems to compete with already established manufacturing giants.
How IoT help in Machine Monitoring?
Internet of Things means a network of interconnected devices that share information. In a manufacturing facility or workshop, Internet of Things makes use of web-enabled sensors and devices that are installed on every machine present on a factory floor.
Essential data pertaining to these machines is collected via sensors embedded on them and is shared with a centralized platform in real-time that processes it into useful information. Machine operators and workplace supervisors can use this information to make smart decisions to boost the efficiency of their production lines.
While there are several benefits of using machine monitoring in a factory, the final result in most cases is the same. These systems help companies to reduce their operational costs and boost their production rate while maintaining optimum plant efficiency.
Manufacturing Before IIoT
Before the advent of IIoT, there was no possible way to identify the status and condition of machines. Costly manual inspection operations were required to supervise the condition of a production line. Moreover, there wasnâ€™t any proper way to identify problems that resulted in machine breakdown and unwanted downtime.
Even though the Industrial Revolution 3.0 left SCADA and PLC systems for companies to monitor the condition and performance of their facilities, they had several complications related to inflexibility and scalability. They are ineffective outside the fence applications and are quite rigid due to their complex wired structure.
Furthermore, these systems are purely reactive and do not facilitate machine to machine interaction that is quite essential for modern-day industries. This communication disconnect among machines restricted operators and supervisors to proactively manage their equipment and reduce the downtime of their production lines.
But the implementation of IoT technology has helped workshops and companies to overcome these issues and garner benefits from real-time machine monitoring systems. The data collected from end devices installed on machines can be processed and used to identify bottlenecks and improve the efficiency of the facility.
Below are some of the most intriguing application of IIoT based machine monitoring:
1) Reduced Equipment Downtime:
Companies want their plants to operate effectively and in a streamlined process. However, maintaining a lean manufacturing approach is no easy feat to achieve. They often face unwanted component breakdowns and machine malfunctions that restrict them to keep their production line running.
With IIoT machine monitoring, companies can track when the machine was running and when it was not. They can gain real-time alerts about the machine going down and can hence take proactive measures to reduce the downtime. Moreover, by analyzing the data collected about the machine being in uptime and downtime, companies can identify reasons that result in equipment failures.
2) Improve Facility Efficiency:
Many different factors contribute in determining the efficiency of a factory or workshop. Essentially, since most of the tasks are conducted by machines, equipment, and industrial assets; they grasp a major chunk in determining efficiency.
By processing the data from monitoring systems, machine handlers can determine inadequacies and inefficiencies that restrict machines from operating with the utmost efficiency. For example, companies can monitor the amount of energy consumed by all of their devices and take effective measures to control their power quality events. The real-time energy consumption insights allow companies to do so and help them to proactively manage power utilization, which in turn helps them to improve the efficiency of their plant.
3) Reduce Wastage:
Machines consume more resources when their condition is not up to the mark. In this case, the machines will not only utilize more resources but will also waste the raw materials. Companies hence need to keep an eye on the performance of their assets along with the amount the resources that they utilize.
By using machine monitoring systems, parameters like temperature, pressure, noise, vibrations, etc. can be monitored to reflect the condition of the industrial apparatus. Moreover, these parameters will help companies to identify the volume of resources consumed by the machines. They can hence limit the utilization of resources like fuel, electricity, lubricant, coolant, etc., manage proper stock levels, and decrease wastage.
Steps to take After Implementing Machine Monitoring Systems:
Itâ€™s quite prevalent clear now that the machine monitoring is the first yet a rudimental step of implementing IIoT technology. After successfully implementing the monitoring systems, a company can then use analytics tools along with AI and automation techniques to boost the effectiveness of their equipment and plant even further.
The extent to which a company can benefit from the implementation of Internet of Things technology is immense. Machine monitoring solutions can be the first step that a company can take to achieve operational excellence.