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Three ways the IoT has emerged as a powerful force in the manufacturing industry

June 21, 2018 | Best Practices | Automation

The Internet of Things (IoT) has changed the manufacturing industry with increased connectivity, an improved supply chain, and has enhanced smart manufacturing.

IoT in manfacturing

The Internet of Things (IoT) has triggered a transformation in the manufacturing industry with regards to operational efficiency, supply chain management, asset tracking, and safety and security. The IoT's impact in manufacturing space seems to be a rather profound one. Statistics further affirm the aforementioned declaration the IoT in the manufacturing industry was almost $27 billion in 2016. Technological breakthroughs and innovations have played a pivotal role in proliferating these industry trends, enabling a seamless connectivity of all devices and systems involved in the plant and ensuring an optimized operational process.

The potential for cyber-physical systems to improve productivity in the manufacturing process is vast, a fundamental aspect that can be credited for IoT in manufacturing industry proceeds. The IoT has set in motion the idea of fourth industrial revolution (Industrie 4.0) with the influx of a new array of technological advancements that focus on decentralizing the production control and maximizing the industrial throughput.

As IoT provides the foundation for automated data acquisition, manufacturers have been leaning toward integrating digitization in processes for bringing incremental improvements in their product line as well as a consequential transformation in the business models. The behavioral shift has been noted across major end-use domains of IoT in manufacturing industry such as automotive, pharmaceutical, machinery, and food and beverage sectors.

IoT in manufacturing trends

Below mentioned are three major arenas where proliferation of IoT in the manufacturing industry has proved be lucrative:

1. Connected IoT products in the manufacturing industry

The penetration of the IoT in the manufacturing industry has led to a renewed realm of connectivity, where each and every operation is interconnected. The paradigm shift in occupational interlinking has allowed the manufacturers to enhance customer satisfaction with a better service channel and improved product performance.

Overall device management procured almost 40% of the overall industry share in 2016, and considering the growing preference of using product-as-a-service (PaaS), the coverage is likely to upend in the near future. In a bid to harness the power of IoT in manufacturing market, some of the renowned progressive manufacturers have already integrated innovative services such as digitization of ongoing maintenance, assisted operations, etc. 

Some of the IoT applications in the manufacturing market with regards to the connected products include:

  • Monitoring actual product performance and creating detection signals by providing closed loop feedback.
  • The integration of advanced services is expected to leverage higher margins and greater customer satisfaction levels.
2. Connected supply chain in the manufacturing industry

Having recognized the potential of the IoT in the manufacturing market, experts have enough reason to believe the IoT will sway future supply chain models. Today, manufacturing is not just about producing goods, but is also about economics of supply and demand, product benchmarking, application scope, customer engagement, and the value chain. A substantial improvement has been observed in the supply chain, with the adoption of advanced sensors such as GPS and radio frequency identification (RFID) with regards to inventory control and better tracking of warehouse assets.

Technological proliferations have narrowed the gap between developed and developing nations, offering IoT in manufacturing market players lucrative opportunities to expand their geographical reach. In this regard, it is prudent to mention, of late, one of the most intriguing aspects has led to an extensive penetration of IoT in manufacturing industry is the increasing demand for faster delivery. As per estimates, a larger fraction of the manufacturers today explore the feasibility of logistics networks to ensure accelerated delivery for certain selected products. Statistics further validates the fact, which claims network management procured almost 25% of the overall IoT in manufacturing industry share in 2016. Experts claim two basic proficiencies must be integrated in the system to modify the value chain are reproducibility and stability.

Asset tracking is another disruptive trend infused by the IoT in the manufacturing industry to ensure a sound supply chain management. While the term "asset tracking" is not new to the industry, the advent of advanced IoT technologies have enabled it to gain a new attention. Today's advanced asset tracking solutions provide organizations a complete way to renovate their supply chain and logistics operations. And the transformation is already underway. A recent survey said almost 70% of the manufacturing and retail companies have already started the digital transformation in their logistics operation and supply chain model. 

3. Smart manufacturing and the IoT

The growing inclination toward smart manufacturing justifies the growth potential of IoT in manufacturing industry. Smart manufacturing practices require IoT driven data analytics for asset utilization and improved efficiency. Integration of digitization in manufacturing space has opened up new scope of applications for sensors, equipment I/O data, and actuators, thereby offering immense business opportunities for companies involved in IoT in the manufacturing market.

In this regard, it would be prudent to mention global competition and increased consumer demand have pushed the manufacturers to remodel their production line. This has made effective floor management very important. Combining old and new data with analytics driven insight is expected to provide the manufacturers the required degree of flexibility and decision-making capability to combat with supply demand variation and market complexity.

In order to exploit the utmost potential opportunities of smart manufacturing, experts claim, it is essential to incorporate an intelligence layer that integrates shop floor with executive suite and provide real-time analytics for decision making in an all-in-one integrated system.

Potential market constraints for the IoT

While the potential of IoT in manufacturing market place is claimed to be humongous, there are a couple of factors that have proved to be deterring for the business growth, interoperability and security concerns being at the pinnacle. Legacy systems associated with the process involve different protocols that don't allow seamless interoperability. It is deemed to be an intriguing challenge for the players involved in IoT in manufacturing industry, which is not only about deploying a new technology, but also a new operational blueprint for the overall business model. However, having recognized the immense potential of this tech prodigy, there are some renowned giants who have been vying with one another to unveil its true potential.

The proliferation of IoT in the manufacturing industry is sure to witness a remarkable escalation over the coming years, given the incessant efforts by the market giants to unlock the immense possibilities of IoT and analytics that have become more insight-driven. In addition to this, with the increasing demand for productivity improvement, performance enhancement, and quality upgrades, companies are mobilizing IoT in the manufacturing market.

Author

Satarupa De, Global Market Insights. This article originally appeared on Global Market Insights' market research blog. Global Market Insights, Inc. is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.

View the original article and related content on Control Engineering

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