When IoT technology comes up in conversation, it is often being discussed for consumer use. So many news articles and documentaries talk about how it can make things better and easier for customers, but IoT is also revolutionising industries, like manufacturing!
More and more factories are implementing IoT to revolutionise their production lines and become more competitive in their chosen market, including HVAC!
Connecting HVAC systems to the IoT results in a whole host of benefits, including low energy bills and improved energy efficiency. In fact, connected HVAC systems have the potential to reduce costs by around 20-30% per annum compared to traditional HVAC systems.
In this article, we’re going to look at 5 amazing ways IoT technology is revolutionising production lines…
1. Speed Up Time To Market
Money is the language of business. It’s all about knowing how much you’re making, and how much you’re spending, and making sure the former is a much larger figure than the latter. One of the most enticing benefits of implementing IoT technology into your production lines is the potential to speed up time to market and increase the turnover of your business.
With the help of IoT technology, manufacturers are now able to use self-correcting systems on their production lines, meaning any mistakes are instantly rectified, and efficiency and productivity is improved as a result.
One manufacturer currently benefiting from IoT technology in their factories is CCE (Coca-Cola European Partners). They recently opened a new €20M automatic storage and retrieval system at their distribution centre in The Netherlands. This new facility can hold and automatically move pallets of bottles and cans–through connected, smart devices–enabling them to get products from factories to stores in just 48 hours!
2. Quality Control
When your machines and tools are connected, less mistakes are made because all components in your production line can communicate with one another. The main ‘language’ used to connect IoT devices in buildings is BACnet, and it allows data to be transferred effortlessly back and forth between devices.
Plus, because IoT technology allows for real-time monitoring (more on that in a moment!), whenever any faults or mistakes do occur, they can be detected and fixed instantaneously, causing little to no disruption to your production lines. These faults can be detected through systematic testing, which is like a more comprehensive way of debugging software.
3. Real-Time Monitoring
Previously, many industries lacked the tools to monitor their production lines from start to finish. So when an error occurred, it took a long time to pinpoint the problem and inform the right person for the job–resulting in many delays and a loss of profit.
With IoT, you can gain complete visibility of your production line in real-time, meaning you know exactly what is happening every step of the way. This not only improves efficiency and quality, it improves safety too.
A great example of this is the introduction of smart wearables on factory floors to avoid forklift accidents. The idea is that everyone wears a piece of smart ‘clothing’, like a vest, so that forklift operators know exactly where employees are and can avoid obstacles and accidents. In the U.S. it is estimated that the cost of forklift accidents amounts to over $135 million per year, so this kind of real-time monitoring is sure to save some big bucks as well as some lives!
Real-time monitoring can revolutionise many different areas of your production line, from reports on system performance, to any lags in production. With this improved and immediate knowledge, you can make quick decisions to improve performance, eliminate downtime, and increase operational efficiency.
4. Reduced Costs
It should come as no surprise that an increase in time to market and quality control results in a reduction in costs. That’s what happens when you start doing more in less time, while making less mistakes!
IoT technology can also help you to reduce costs by ensuring that your machines run to the best of their ability and are always maintained correctly and efficiently to reduce the likelihood of breakdowns and repairs.
And, in some factories, IoT reduces costs even further by taking control of the most inefficient tasks. Manufacturers with an ongoing smart initiative like this predict overall efficiency will grow 7x by 2022.
5. Supply Chain Management
IoT can help you to reduce bottlenecks and keep everything in your supply chain running smoothly, which is a huge benefit in an industry like HVAC that tends to be quite seasonal in nature.
With IoT technology, you can switch to a ‘smart management’ of your production lines to ensure that you will never be over-stocked or under-stocked. You can also reduce waste and optimize the use of your resources. Here are 3 of the best ways that IoT technology can improve your supply chain management:
- GPS Sensors can track products at any point in time, so you know where products are, when to order more, and how long it takes to get from ‘floor to store’
- Forecasting is easy with IoT sensors that provide an accurate inventory level
- Smart Sensors can also schedule maintenance of machines to improve efficiency and longevity
According to a recent study by NewGenApps, $70B is expected to be invested by manufacturers in industrial IoT by 2020.
But IoT technology is not only going to revolutionise production lines, it is going to revolutionise the world! One day in the future we will have IoT devices for everything–from helping you decide what to eat for dinner to turning off your lights at night. So the sooner you apply this new and exciting technology to your factory, the better equipped you will be for the future.
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