The Internet of Things (IoT) has significantly transformed the industrial landscape, with many companies adopting IoT solutions to improve their operational efficiency and increase productivity. The fourth industrial revolution, I4.0 is a big driving factor when it comes to using technology in industrial operations be it manufacturing, supply chain, assembly line automation or automatic identification and data capture (AIDC). Technologies like predictive analytics, deep learning, cloud computing, IoT, AI and ML, Big Data, simulation, additive manufacturing etc, can be leveraged to enhance the business outcomes by optimizing day-to-day business processes, driving the need for industrial automation on small as well as large scale.
IoT and IIoT: Definitions and Differences
IoT refers to a network of connected devices, sensors, and machines, which work together to gather, analyze, and share data in real-time. This data can then be used to optimize and automate industrial processes, leading to significant cost savings and improved quality of output. Tailored IoT solutions for different fields like IIoT, IoMT (internet of medical things) etc. now exist for industry specific purposes.
The IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), a subset of this broader IoT, comprises a network of intelligent devices that are interconnected to create systems responsible for data monitoring, collection, exchange, and analysis.
The IIoT leverages various technologies, including smart sensors and actuators, connecting people, products, and processes to drive digital transformation.
It is tailored for industrial applications, including manufacturing, power plants, agriculture, and oil & gas.
Top Industrial IoT (IIoT) Platforms
Industrial IoT (IIoT) is gaining a lot of traction when it comes to manufacturing and assembly line automation. IIoT is leveraged to optimize and modernize the assembly line and movement of raw and incomplete parts in a segregated and orderly fashion leading to accurate assembly, less risks and potential losses and higher productivity.
According to a recent review conducted by G2 in 2022, the top three industrial IoT platforms are:
a) Fogwing IoT platform
b) AWS IoT platform
c) Siemens MindSphere platform
These platforms offer a range of features and solutions, including remote monitoring, predictive maintenance, and data analytics.
Benefits of Using IoT in Industrial Automation
Use of IoT in industries, IIoT, is capable of enabling a higher degree of automation that was not possible before. From task automation, assembly line automation, tool tracking to ensuring a higher degree of safety and productivity via leveraging predictive analytics and Big Data, IoT will optimize processes and enhance the overall growth.
The integration of IoT into industrial automation has numerous benefits, some of which include:
a) Improved operational efficiency
IoT-enabled devices can automatically collect and transmit data, enabling real-time decision making and optimization of industrial processes.
b) Increased productivity
IoT devices can automate certain tasks, freeing up personnel to focus on more complex or pressing issues.
c) Predictive maintenance
Predictive Maintenance is the process where historical data is analyzed to prevent machine failures resulting in a higher degree of productivity and safety in industries.
IIoT platforms can use data analytics and machine learning algorithms to predict equipment failure before it occurs, reducing downtime and maintenance costs.
d) Increased safety
IoT devices can monitor hazardous environments and provide early warning signals in case of potential hazards, improving workplace safety. Predictive maintenance can analyze the machine utilization and predict the chances of machine or machine part failure in advance which can prevent unfortunate happenings in a factory, saving lives and potential cost to the company. It will also ensure a higher degree of productivity as well.
Industrial IoT Applications
IoT solutions are being used across several industries, including manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, and transportation. Some examples of industrial IoT applications include:
a) Smart factories
Smart factories are a reality now thanks to IIoT where IoT devices are used to monitor and optimize production processes, including machine performance, energy usage, and inventory management.
b) Precision agriculture
Use of IoT is not only limited to manufacturing and smart city or smart home projects. In Agriculture, sensors and IoT platforms can be used to improve crop yields, optimize irrigation systems, and track livestock health and behavior.
c) Remote healthcare
IoT devices can monitor patients in real-time, providing physicians with continuous data and insights into patient health as well.
d) Connected transportation
IoT sensors can be used to monitor vehicle performance, track shipments, and optimize logistics processes.
The integration of IoT into industrial automation has the potential to revolutionize the way businesses operate, leading to significant cost savings, increased productivity, and improved safety. With a wide range of IoT solutions and applications being developed and implemented in various industries, the future of industrial automation looks promising.