The revolution of Industry 4.0 is well underway as manufacturing companies leverage automated and connected technologies to link critical systems, streamline key processes and deliver improved outcomes. One critical component of this widespread industry shift is the Industrial Internet of Things, or IIoT for short.
That said, what is IIoT? How is it related to IoT and — most importantly — what does it mean for your business?
IoT and IIoT
The term IoT (Internet of Things) broadly refers to the growing environment of connected consumer and commercial devices. This includes everything from smart home speakers to “intelligent” appliances, and small-scale sensors deployed across wearable and mobile devices.
IIoT, meanwhile, specifically targets manufacturing and other industrial organizations by creating connected networks of monitoring sensors, intelligent equipment and automated processes. The goal is to build industrial IoT solutions — based on sensors, data and connected devices — that support transparent, agile and adaptable industries capable of responding to events as they occur and reducing the risk of potential manufacturing errors.
Here’s what this looks like in practice as part of an IIoT maintenance strategy: Consider a sensor-driven supply chain that monitors the status and location of parts as they’re shipped to your production facility. Its integrated equipment devices are capable of executing automated tasks and reporting proactive maintenance concerns. Human-facing outputs allow workers to address concerns in real time — rather than waiting until production lines fail, downtime occurs and output is reduced.
The IIoT Platform
To effectively leverage the Internet of Things in manufacturing, you need a dedicated IIoT platform. This platform is a connected set of hardware and software tools that help monitor and unify IoT solutions for manufacturing.
IIoT platforms are critical to production success because they help bridge the interoperability gap — different equipment and sensors often use differing protocols to communicate and analyze data inputs. Without a unified platform capable of combining this data and parsing it into something useful, companies face the problem of data deluge — i.e., mountains of actionable information they can’t access because IIoT devices don’t speak the same language and are producing discrete data sets that aren’t providing nearly as much insight as their potential. A unified platform solves this problem.
Benefits IIoT Solutions
By supporting and enabling predictive maintenance, IIoT technology in manufacturing offers three key benefits for organizations:
- Speed: As production expectations ramp up and budgetary constraints demand real-time inventory management, speed becomes a critical manufacturing concern. IIoT monitoring in manufacturing industry applications provides on-demand insight into production status, current inventory levels and potential shortfalls, empowering quick adaptation to changing conditions.
- Scalability: As old equipment is replaced and production facilities expand, businesses need a way to scale on demand. Well-managed IIoT deployments streamline the process of adding devices to the network at large. Instead of requiring days-long production delays, new technologies are easily integrated at scale. IIoT automation technology further draws on the power of sensors and data to facilitate more seamless scaling with minimal input and resource effort by personnel, who can remain focused on innovation and analysis.
- Safety: Safety matters — even small errors or accidents can cause significant production delays. Leveraging IIoT in the manufacturing market allows companies to proactively identify potential shop-floor risks and device maintenance needs before incidents occur.
ATS + IIoT = Excellence
As a technology-driven maintenance provider, ATS is on a mission to help manufacturers utilize interactive technologies and IIoT solutions to capture machine data, analyze it and implement the improvements to keep plant operations up and running.
With multi-industry experience and over three decades of expertise, our sensor solutions can help you optimize uptime. We can help you discover the tools and equipment you need to get up to speed with the Industry 4.0 revolution.
Delivering excellence in IIoT — discover how ATS can help your manufacturing operations today.