Industrial Networks and IIoT
Businesses are becoming more and more connected both internally through industrial networks and to the wider world via the web. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a great way for many industrial establishments to utilise that connection to improve their strategy and operations.
What is IIoT?
At its simplest, the IIoT is an extension of the Internet of Things (IoT) but focused for industrial environments such as manufacturing and engineering. By applying the tools made possible by the IIoT to their operations, manufacturers can make huge leaps forward in their efficiency and increase the reliability of their production lines. However, industrial applications call for networking technology that is reliable, easy to deploy, and robust enough for use in harsh industrial environments. Organisations in the industrial sector are constantly updating parts of their infrastructure, and so there is no room for taking risks on unproven technology.
How can the IIoT be implemented?
To be utilised effectively the IIoT needs a stable connection to ensure that functions such as data collection and automation can be carried out reliably. In industrial settings it can be incredibly challenging to maintain a bulletproof connection owing to the harsh conditions. In factories, there are often multiple different manufacturing lines, consisting of various HMIs, PLCs, and sensors which are all connected to the same network, via an industrial switch. Industrial networking solutions such as the ones made by Distec’s partners Teltonika and Red Lion are specifically designed to withstand use within these industrial environments. This means that even companies operating in industries such as oil and gas can capitalise on the innovations afforded by the IIoT.
Here are a few examples of specific uses for industrial networks:
The IIoT enables manufacturers to access large data sets to get an overview of how their business is functioning, and how all component areas are performing. This can give a huge advantage to organisation to run analytics on their own operation, helping companies to identify bottlenecks in their production lines where processes are slowed by inefficiencies. Without the ability to harness the data coming from the production line these inefficiencies would remain hidden and continue to act as a drain on profits.
IIoT can also be used to integrate AI into the production process. This means that businesses can automate processes that were previously manual tasks. This not only increases the speed and reliability of the task, it also allows workers to focus on more cognitively challenging tasks. In turn this improves the efficiency of the business and can be used to build a more positive work environment for employees.
Automation and AI can also be utilised to create agility in the market. This means that companies can change their production to adapt to the market more readily.
Reliability and maintenance
The data coming from the production process can also be utilised by the IIoT to monitor wear and tear on the equipment. This means that rather than waiting for a failure to occur, which leads to significant downtime in production and huge costs for businesses, manufacturers can predict when equipment will need to be repaired, replaced and maintained. The improved reliability makes the manufacturing operations much more efficient, significantly reducing downtime.
Away from production
The IIoT is also able to help manufacturers away from the production line. For example, customer data can be used to improve marketing processes. It can be used to better service existing customers’ needs increasing the likelihood of repeated sales. Businesses can also utilise data sets for new customers, improving sales and increasing profits.
With the rapid rise of digitalisation in industry the IIoT has now become a necessity for companies who want to stay ahead of the competition. Without the ability to use applications to build efficiency manufacturers run the risk of being left behind. The IIoT is gives companies the opportunity to stay ahead of their competition and build an efficient and stable business.
Want to know more?
Learn more about how we can deliver connectivity even in the most rugged of environments by contacting us here