The Internet of Things (IoT) is a catch-all phrase for the network of communications between formerly non-computer-connected objects. Within the manufacturing community, another term has been defined, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). This covers any technology and software that allows for the capturing, processing and transfer of information between different sensors gathering new data. This new information can help increase production efficiency, improve logistics, and bring constant improvement to the production process. While IoT is just taking off, there have been many tangible benefits and case studies from manufacturers at the forefront of fully connected factories.
One possible benefit of IoT, cited by Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE, is increased ROI from the extended use of equipment through better production and failure analysis.
“If we can take an aircraft engine, and if we can get 10 percent moretime on wing for that engine, that’s worth billions of dollars to our customers,” he said. “But you have to be able to do a better job on analytics and modeling failure, and things like that.”
That is where much of the growth will have to take place. Along with the technological leaps that manufacturers will face with the onset of IoT, it is just as important that the piles of new data collected can be analyzed for optimal outcomes.
Rockwell Customer Case Study
King’s Hawaiian wanted to increase its bread production yields with a new, highly automated factory and gather more accurate information on its outputs, so the company sought a solution from Rockwell Automation.
King’s Hawaiian needed to have “a common infrastructure for machine builders for first centralized data-collection system.” Through a comprehensive assessment and assistance from Rockwell Automation, the company was able to form a plan to meet their objectives. The company’s production lines were integrated with an extensive network set up to monitor its bread production and improve efficiency.
The solution incorporated an “Integrated Architecture System” enabling the Logix controls to work with King’s software. With a system design built by a Rockwell Solution Partner, the new factory, which doubled the company’s production, opened one week earlier than planned.
“The common network architecture enabled us to get this plant up and operational in a matter of weeks instead of months,” said the director of engineering for King’s Hawaiian. The company expects the centralized data collection and control system to enable additional production efficiencies like automated parts ordering. IoT will enable enterprise-wide decision-making when its other facilities are upgraded for future demand.
When implementing the Internet of Things, the accompanying solutions are often more comprehensive than building a better factory. Within the oil and gas industry, Rockwell has partnered with Microsoft for software and hardware solutions for its entire supply chain. For off-shore drilling rigs, hydraulic pumps can be monitored remotely. Within a pipeline, oil can be more accurately monitored, improving operational intelligence, and local gas stations can have real-time monitoring of their supplies, improving distribution planning. Watch their video to find out more.
Broader Impact of IoT
“We believe it could create as much as $11.1 trillion a year globally in economic value in nine different types of physical settings.” McKinsey Consultant estimates the economic impact of IoT by 2025 in their recent guide.
Building automation equipment that can communicate with a common language is of paramount importance for optimizing production processes. For advanced economies, McKinsey predicts that over the next 10 years IoT will be used at a greater rate in advanced economies rather than developing countries. In advanced economies, the impact of IoT on “Factories” and “Worksites” will account for 57% and 54% of the global gains in those sectors. (Charts below). With standardized communication between production sensors and equipment, the economic impact could be $1.1 trillion just for factories. This is out of an estimated global economic impact of $5 trillion for B2B companies and a total of $11.1 trillion.
As technology and software become more compatible and factory automation continues to grow, the actual impact will become more apparent. IDC Manufacturing Insights surveyed companies about IoT and found: “that 55% of discrete manufacturers are researching, piloting, or in production with IoT initiatives. And IDC forecasts the worldwide IoT market will grow from $1.3 trillion in 2013 to $3.04 trillion in 2020.”
The potential value and range of production improvements that could be made with IoT could help American manufacturing stay competitive in the coming decades. The gains will come from increased employee productivity, development of processes that allow for continuous improvement, more product innovation, and shifting the focus of manufacturers to customer-facing activities.
The Internet of Things via expanded sensors, controls, and software is being incorporated into the newest factories and most cutting-edge production facilities. The increase in productivity comes with growing amounts of data for manufacturers. As standardization for manufacturers becomes apparent, various industries will establish definitions for IIoT with increased interoperability between all systems and components.
To effectively implement the Industrial Internet of Things, manufacturers need versatile mechanical solutions for structural support, safety, and linear motion. Learn more about how item North America’s engineers use the high-quality aluminum framing system from item to design and build custom mechanical solutions for a wide range of industrial applications.
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