IIoT and Smart Manufacturing
How IIoT Gives Manufacturers a Platform for Modernisation
Manufacturers have faced unprecedented challenges over the last eighteen months. First, they had to navigate restrictions on imports and exports as a result of the Brexit agreement, before facing supply chains breakdowns and workforce shortages during the pandemic.
In response to this growing pressure and a focus on domestic production, the UK government has pledged additional funding to ensure small and medium-sized manufacturers can build back better by investing in new digital solutions. In addition to the £300m joint government and industry funding as part of the Made Smarter Adoption programme, they have now committed another £53m funding to drive development in the latest manufacturing technologies.
So how can manufacturers make the most of digital transformation? One way businesses can gain a competitive edge is through the adoption of IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), which is creating a new wave of smart factories that could provide a £6.3bn boost to UK manufacturing according to a report by Vodafone.
What is IIoT?
IIoT is an extension of the Internet of Things (IoT) namely applications relating to industrial environments such as manufacturing and engineering. One of the main focuses of IIoT is machine-to-machine (M2M) communication as well as big data and automation. By applying these tools to their operations, manufacturers can make efficiency improvements and increase the reliability of their production lines. IIoT encompasses all industrial applications, including robotics, IoT devices, and software-defined production processes.
IIoT and Smart Manufacturing
Smart factories are extraordinarily diverse and flexible, but the feature they all share is the use of automation and networking technologies. These technologies capture, transmit, analyse, and ultimately harness data from across the factory floor, using it to connect, monitor and control almost any assets within the business,
So, a smart factory might implement controls to automatically adjust the production line when a particular output is reached or install sensors to monitor the oil levels or temperature of certain components. It might even capture information on production efficiency over time to analyse trends in factory performance and ultimately innovate and optimise.
In an industry as competitive as manufacturing, the benefits that IIoT can bring can play a huge role in developing a business:
One of the biggest benefits to manufacturers is the increased efficiency that IIoT can deliver, giving companies the ability to automate processes and improve the speed at which machinery can complete their tasks: whether that is in manufacturing, mining, oil and gas or energy. By increasing efficiency, companies can improve their output without exponentially increasing costs, creating larger revenues and profit margins.
Improve reliability and safety
IIoT processes reduce the number of manual tasks needed in the business process. By minimising manual intervention, you can reduce the number of errors made, therefore improving the reliability of the business overall. It also helps to improve safety as many dangerous tasks that previously had to be undertaken by humans are now automated keeping employees out of harm’s way.
Easy transition into smart manufacturing
IIoT gives manufacturers the ability to introduce smart factory processes incrementally. IIoT products such as the Red Lion FlexEdge™ Intelligent Edge Automation Platform enables businesses to utilise data that comes in from the factory floor. Companies can then utilise that data to learn about their processes remotely, identify weaknesses and alter their practices to improve the bottom line.
IIoT provides a platform for improvement as the manufacturing industry accelerates its journey through digital transformation. At Distec, we offer a range of smart manufacturing solutions designed to improve resilience and enhance efficiency. To find out more visit our website or contact us for details.