3 Biggest Use-Case Applications for the IIoT
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is changing the way industrial manufacturers approach operations, employee safety, and machine maintenance. With access to real-time big data via devices connected to an IIoT network, manufacturing companies are gaining more insight than ever before
IIoT empowers stakeholders to reap all the benefits of traditional manufacturing, while taking efficiency, savings, and safety to the next level. Three use-cases in particular are driving the technological revolution and transforming manufacturing as we know it today.
1. Condition Monitoring
Condition monitoring proactively communicates potential technological issues before failure. This is possible due to a system of devices that communicate with one another via IIoT. These devices monitor variables like machine temperature or vibration and report any patterns of concern. This vigilance allows manufacturers to shift from reactive maintenance approaches to proactive and preventive strategies.
Condition monitoring is actively used in a variety of manufacturing industries. From green energy, to oil, to food production, condition monitoring is transforming sectors across industry in new and exciting ways. More producers are gravitating toward it for the clear benefits it offers: decreased maintenance expenses, increased lifespan of equipment, and added safety.
IIoT condition monitoring also connects manufacturing companies with tools and technologies governing Industry 4.0. This includes cloud computing, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and automation.
2. Predictive Maintenance
In the same realm as condition monitoring, predictive maintenance identifies when a machine isn’t functioning as-expected. While it relies heavily on condition monitoring to inform a strategy, predictive maintenance is nonetheless a standalone use-case for IIoT.
Predictive maintenance can save manufacturing companies significant bottom-line costs. More important, it can eliminate downtime and the lost revenue that comes with it. These top- and bottom-line benefits make predictive maintenance one of the biggest driving forces behind the growing demand for IIoT. Many times, the return on investment (ROI) of an expanding IIoT network is measured by the top- and bottom-line savings a manufacturer is able to generate via predictive maintenance efforts.
It’s important to note that IIoT is not the means to saved maintenance costs. Smart implementation of sensors and processes are what enable savings. Systems need proper governance to function accordingly.
3. Health and Safety
Wearable technology is becoming increasingly common in the workplace. Construction workers now wear “smart hats” that gather both employee data and work environment data, for example. These smart hats collect measures such as heart rate, oxygen level, air toxicity, and more. These IIoT-enabled wearables communicate data to software that can predict unsafe working conditions and prevent hazards before they become apparent.
In the United States, a workplace-related injury occurs once every seven seconds. The hope is that with the adaptation of wearable technologies and IIoT, companies will benefit from technological support in combating the high rate of injuries. The strategy is to create a multi-faceted approach using mined sensor data to change employee behavior with triggers that alert parties to risky situations and peripheral technology to react and prevent injuries.
These three critical use-case applications for IioT — condition monitoring, predictive maintenance, and health and safety — are revolutionizing the manufacturing industry. As they continue to produce cost savings, operational reliability, and employee safety, it’s no doubt we’ll continue to see innovations in this arena.