The industrial revolution did not come to an end in the 20th century - On the contrary, innovation is continuing at breakneck speed. One cornerstone of the innovation in manufacturing is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The IIoT and the more traditional Internet of Things affect everything from the production and supervising equipment used in factories to inventory and supply chain management. Lead times can be reduced, setting up a factory can become significantly cheaper and supply chains can be made leaner.
Some opportunities in industrial automation
- Make factories easier and cheaper to build by reducing the traditional wiring for communication. A big manufacturing plant can contain many kilometers of wiring that must be sufficiently hardened to withstand the sometimes hostile environmental conditions.
- Machines with many moving parts can be equipped with sensors to track vibrations and other types of stress much easier to detect wear and tear in advance. Wiring up such sensors in the traditional manner might not even be possible due to the cables being in the way for the machine to function correctly or being subject to excessive wear.
- An abundance of cheap wireless sensors means you can sprinkle sensors wherever useful data could be gathered and not where they can be positioned due to wiring constraints, especially if the sensors can harvest the energy they need from the environment.
- Data analysis and machine learning can help in reducing bottlenecks and optimize processes, which among other things can translate to shorter time to market, energy savings and lower costs.