IoT manufacturing solutions are transforming the ways in which products are made. These smart devices are taking over production floors across the country. They’re increasing efficiency, saving energy, and reducing wasteful downtime. Ultimately, the factories of the future are enabling companies to take control of their assembly lines and discover new revenue streams.
To understand how intelligent solutions are changing the manufacturing landscape, it’s important to define the characteristics of a smart factory:
- Able to make optimization decisions on its own without the need for human intervention
- Allows managers to make better shop floor decisions by providing insights into the broader supply chain
- Able to self-adapt and tweak processes by examining workflow conditions in real time
We are seeing more interconnected products today than ever before. They allow people to take control of the environment around them. It only makes sense that traditional manufacturing would eventually catch up with digital technology. As the industry undergoes a major upheaval, here are five ways that intelligent solutions can benefit every manufacturer.
- Enhanced asset tracking capabilities
Whether it’s robotic assembly devices or innovative injection moulds, all manufacturing plants contain assets that are crucial to conducting their business. IoT devices have asset tracking capabilities that are far superior to traditional methods.
In the past, employees were responsible for maintaining records on an asset’s whereabouts. But today, Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) are improving asset visibility and providing accurate location information too. Smart technologies like this eliminate the need for a worker to manually track each valuable. RTLS allows you to locate assets across multiple facilities, whether they’re indoors or out.
Meanwhile, smart factories are constantly generating reams of data. Through ongoing analysis, they’ll eventually reveal asset performance issues. These issues may be costing your business tens of thousands of dollars or even slowing down the entire production process. Today’s technology allows for self-correction – something that traditional manufacturers cannot rely on. This improves asset efficiency and reduces the downtime of your most valuable equipment.
- Significant cost reductions
Smart factories allow managers to reduce waste and identify supply chain issues. When all components are interconnected and ‘speaking’ to each other, the system can pinpoint breaks in communication and poor workflow. IoT devices can alert staff of low inventory levels or changes in demand cycles. Smart equipment can also predict trends and patterns, allowing managers to make informed decisions ahead of time.
When you have predictable inventory requirements and less operational anomalies, cost reductions will certainly follow. Businesses can gain a competitive edge by putting these savings back into product innovation or investing in even smarter technology.
- Reduced workflow challenges
Automation helps manufacturing plants complete more projects with fewer workers. When you’re receiving insightful data across multiple stages of the assembly process, employees can focus on more high-minded tasks. This not only improves efficiency but also fosters innovation in the long term. Here are some other key advantages of an automated workflow:
- Less potential for human error, which can reduce industrial accidents that cause injury
- Eliminate menial jobs involving repetitive tasks so employees can be re-assigned to more meaningful work
- Human workers in a smart factory may take on more meaningful responsibilities, resulting in higher rates of employee satisfaction
If your business has been focused on creating a leaner and more intelligent workforce, a push towards automation may be right for you.
- Improved building security
Manufacturers that deploy intelligent solutions often have better security frameworks in place. Use IoT devices to protect your warehouse with cloud-based access control. Lock building doors and manage surveillance networks through the internet. An Internet-enabled system allows you to oversee multiple plants at a time, which is ideal for manufacturing facilities that are part of a larger complex.
Cloud-based access control is also helpful for compliance. Should you encounter a security breach that requires police involvement, your team can hand over access logs with detailed accounts of all entry/exit times. There is no need for on-site servers that take up valuable storage space. Simply log into the web portal and access your business’ security data from there.
- Improved flexibility
Smart factories are able to shift gears and adapt to industrial changes with minimal human intervention. Traditional manufacturing processes are not as agile: All aspects of the production process must come to a halt so they can be assessed by supervisors. They must then be tweaked to adjust to new schedules or product changes.
With IoT technology, the system is collecting data about the production process 24/7 in real-time. This means the assembly line is constantly self-adjusting based on the patterns or trends it has picked up, without managers having to approve every workflow change. When manufacturers are able to react quickly to industrial shifts, the broader benefits for the business cannot be ignored:
- Increased speed of products-to-market
- Improved ability to capture market share
- Better profitability resulting from workforce stability
For more information about smart manufacturing, please call Circuits Central at 1-888-602-7264 or contact us here.