It’s that time of year. Snow is falling, the temperatures are dropping and operations are slowing down. This time of year is certainly an opportune time to reflect, evaluate what went well, how operations have grown in the past year… and most importantly, check what’s not working and adjust. If you’re like most, outdated technology, or lack thereof, is at the top of the naughty list so it’s important to allocate room in your 2020 budget to invest in new IIoT solutions for the year ahead. 

More manufacturers are starting to recognize the benefits of investing in transformative IIoT tech to take their smart factories to the next level. In fact, research from MPI Group indicated that nearly 70% of manufacturers credit IIoT technology with increasing profitability. As a result, manufacturing companies will invest a whopping $267 billion in IIoT by 2020!

Manufacturers must start to think of IIoT solutions such as Smart Factory software as an all-inclusive, transformative technology to help operations reach new heights, stay competitive and strategically expand into new markets. Take a look at the top IIoT trends to stay current on the solutions available in today’s market. 

Digital Shop Floor 

The need to transition from manual to a digitized shop floor is nothing new in operations, however, there will be more manufacturers actually making this change in the new year. Gartner forecasts that the enterprise and automotive IoT market will grow to 5.8 billion users in 2020, a 21% increase from 2019. 

Essentially, the core of IIoT applications is to turn devices into smart things that optimize operations.  IIoT devices such as sensors connected to Smart Factory software allows for automatic data collection and can be shared digitally and around a bigger network rather than having to rely on workers manually recording metrics per each shift.

An example of this is how IIoT Smart Factory software is allowing manufacturers to move away from the manual whiteboard (as seen in the above image) on their shop floor to digitized dashboards that allow for operators to handle operation data properly to make more time-efficient, cost-effective and resource-sparing decisions on a daily basis.  

Sensor Data Connectivity

IIoT is transforming almost every surface in manufacturing facilities into a sensor for data collection and providing real-time insights for manufacturers. Sensors are connected to machines and come in handy for the people who are responsible for handling issues like preventive maintenance (more on this below).

This ability to collect data from so many sources combined with increasingly powerful Smart Factory software is finally making big data usable. Manufacturers now have a more comprehensive understanding of their operational bottlenecks. This enables them to improve production, optimize operations, and address issues before problems arise.

According to Hackernoon, around 35% of manufacturers in the US already use data they get from smart sensors in manufacturing, logistics, and final products. 

For example, the ability to create thresholds with alerts to monitor various conditions such as temperature, pressure, level, and flow in machines allow engineers and operators to monitor the wear or damage happening to internal components to avoid breakdowns, routine checks, and production stoppages to reduce downtime.

Preventative Maintenance 

Research shows that a single hour of downtime equates to about $100,000 in losses in manufacturing operations. Preventative maintenance software anticipates maintenance requirements in machines on the factory floor. By connecting to every single asset in your production line, preventative maintenance software allows workers to analyze the operational data to determine when maintenance will be required on any given equipment.

The data collected and analyzed through IIoT Smart Factory Platform helps operations better understand how their machines work, their downtime, and what causes stoppages which allows them to prevent those failures in the future. In 2020, this will not be a “nice-to-have”, but a MUST have to optimize and grow operations.

Shoplogix preventative maintenance software has the ability to run reports to determine how much usage a machine or tool has. It can track a determined threshold such as every 1000 reps or 50,000 parts and monitor the pulse of the machine when it reaches those thresholds to determine if maintenance work needs to be done, or when it needs to be scheduled.

Artificial Intelligence 

Artificial intelligence will make smart factories more efficient and help manufacturers gather insights from the machine data the sensors collect and predict future performance. While there have been great advances in robotics and cobotics, manufacturers are still in the early stages of AI.

In the new year, we will see many dipping their toes into this relatively unknown area of advancement and will focus on data collection and smart reporting rather than full robot takeovers on the factory floor. The step towards collecting smart, real-time and historical data allows manufacturers to gain insights to highlight what is important from their data, eliminating the noise or useless data to help them decide what to focus on.

Smart Sustainability 

Sustainability and waste reduction are two big topics in the manufacturing space, especially when it comes to food and beverage manufacturers. According to the EPA, 66% of manufacturers believe sustainability is essential to remain competitive in the marketplace. Manufacturers are figuring out what they need to measure their sustainability efforts and adopting IIoT technology to a better quality of products and waste reduction. 

Implementing solutions such as smart factory IIoT software allows manufacturers to adopt “lean philosophies”, cutting out waste/scrap produced by poorly run machines where possible and improve the quality of products being made. Smart factory software collects data from sensors and can better control machine performance preventing flawed products from being produced. This type of software also helps operations not only track waste but energy use as well. 

Energy is a huge challenge for all manufacturing operations. This is one of the key reasons that many are implementing smart factory IIoT technology to ensure energy optimization. Many are also using this technology to take advantage of IIoT connectivity to create a paperless plant floor with e-records.

For example, Shoplogix energy module offers the ability to associate power and energy costs with plant floor production metrics, providing visibility into consumption at a granular level and helping to decrease energy costs. 

The Future of Smart Factories

As digital manufacturing and IIoT tech continue to evolve rapidly in the coming years, manufacturers need to budget and plan for these changes to remain competitive in an ever-changing market. Data will be their most valuable asset and Smart Factory solutions are required to make sense of the huge amounts of data collected by sensors to build better processes and make manufacturing more efficient.

Subscribe to our blog to keep up with the latest industry news!

Shoplogix Smart Factory Software

Shoplogix is re-defining the manufacturing industry by making the Smart Factory platform the cornerstone of digital production performance transformation. By empowering manufacturers to visualize, integrate, and act on production performance in real-time, Shoplogix helps to uncover hidden shop floor potential and drive rapid time to value. Contact us to learn how a connected smart factory platform can transform the way you see, analyze and interpret real-time data in your manufacturing operations.