Exploring the Benefits of the IIoT in Manufacturing

Posted by Thane Moore on July 7, 2023

The manufacturing sector has enthusiastically embraced the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) — and for good reason. IIoT devices and applications give engineers, operators, and supervisors greater visibility into the production process, enabling manufacturers to increase efficiency, rapidly resolve problems, and make more-informed, data-driven decisions.

The IIoT is an ecosystem of sensors, actuators, and smart devices that are connected to the data network. IIoT devices collect data and send it to applications hosted on IT systems deployed in edge data centers within the manufacturing facility. Edge computing in manufacturing enables IIoT devices to realize their full potential. 

Industrial edge computing is a distributed computing framework that brings storage and compute resources closer to the industrial facilities where data is being created. It eliminates the latency associated with transmitting data to a distant data center or the cloud, making it possible to transform the data into actionable information in near real time. 

Although there are many IIoT use cases across a multitude of industries, the benefits are particularly pronounced in manufacturing.

How the IIoT Is Used in Manufacturing

Manufacturers have identified a number of uses for the IIoT that deliver real bottom-line benefits and a rapid return on investment. 

  • Equipment monitoring. This is a primary use case of the IIoT in manufacturing. IIoT devices monitor equipment, capture and transmit information, and generate alerts. They can also enable the monitoring and control of remote assets from a central location.
  • Environmental monitoring. IIoT sensors can monitor environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity. This allows manufacturers to rapidly detect and resolve problems that could impact operations, damage equipment, or threaten worker safety.
  • Behavior and process monitoring. Supervisors can use IIoT data to better understand employee performance and identify areas where processes could be improved. For example, if mistakes or defects consistently occur at a particular step, the supervisor might determine that more training is needed or the process needs to be modified.
  • Creating easier-to-use human-machine interfaces. IIoT applications have more intuitive interfaces than legacy systems, reducing the need for training. These applications can also store data from across the production environment in one centralized location, breaking down silos and creating a standardized source of information. 

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5 Benefits of the IIoT in Manufacturing

The IIoT enables manufacturers to capture more data faster and more accurately than ever. It also provides the end-to-end visibility needed for continuous improvement. Some specific benefits include:

  • Increased machine availability and effectiveness. IIoT devices capture important metrics in real-time, enabling manufacturers to perform condition-based and predictive maintenance. IIoT data also allows manufacturers to measure overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) to identify ways to improve productivity.
  • Improved utilization of human resources. Sensors eliminate the need for people to collect data manually, while smart devices can handle many menial, repetitive tasks. This frees up personnel to perform other duties with more significant value to the organization. It can also enhance job satisfaction.
  • Reduced waste and defects. The IIoT gives manufacturers the data they need to identify the causes of waste and make adjustments in real time. The IIoT reduces the risk of errors and defects by increasing automation and minimizing human involvement. Fewer defects mean higher levels of customer satisfaction.
  • Improved supply chain management. Manufacturers can connect production and logistics systems with suppliers, distributors, and customers, making tracking materials, products, and assets across the supply chain easier. This enables manufacturers to respond quickly to problems and minimize losses.
  • Decreased costs. This, of course, is the holy grail of most technology investments. The IIoT enables manufacturers to minimize costly downtime and expensive repairs and take advantage of automation to increase efficiency.

Equipping the Edge Data Center for the IIoT

Manufacturing environments can be tough on IT equipment. Dust, moisture, and heat are genuine concerns. That’s why Enconnex developed the EdgeRack Industrial 8M. This high-quality micro data center cabinet provides a plug-and-play environment for your edge data center, with dust and moisture resistance (NEMA 12 and IP55-rated) and a side-mounted, self-contained 8kW cooling unit. Contact the data center infrastructure experts at Enconnex to learn how our micro data centers for edge computing can keep your edge systems safe and secure.

Contact the Experts

Posted by Thane Moore on July 7, 2023

Thane Moore is the Senior Director of Sales Operations & Logistics for Enconnex and has 20 years of experience in the IT infrastructure manufacturing space working for companies such as Emerson and Vertiv.

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