The manufacturing industry has changed drastically in recent years. Industry 4.0 has opened up many different doors: evolving processes, creating new roles, and providing opportunities for heightened levels of productivity for businesses of all sizes.
The Internet of Things’ potential is still growing, and that fact leaves plenty of room for further development and growth to be had within industries. Cisco found that only 0.06 per cent of things have been integrated with IoT technology so far – and look at the impact that has had already.
But, what does this mean for manufacturing? Well, so far, 61 per cent of manufacturers who have implemented an IoT strategy admit they have only just begun to explore the possibilities of this technology. So, with plenty to look forward to in the future, how are manufacturers currently making use of the IoT?
Improved workforce safety
In the world of manufacturing there will always be hazards to guard against; there are so many elements within production facilities and factories that must be closely monitored at all times. Over the last half-decade, there was an average of 3,100 recorded major injuries, plus 4,100 reports of injuries that kept workers away from work for seven days or more – but, latest technologies can make a considerable positive impact on this front.
Wearable IoT devices can now, and will increasingly in the future, allow managers and supervisors to monitor and protect their workforce. These devices can check the health and movement of an individual at any given time. Not only will incorporating this technology help to improve the safety of workforces, but it also helps businesses to become more productive by being able to catch health challenges early on and take the relevant actions to amend it.
The manufacturing industry is wholly reliant on both people and the specialist machinery that’s used to make, process and action each component. Currently, the performance of machines can only be evaluated by considering the finished product, and all too often issues only become apparent once a problem has already occurred.
With IoT, this will no longer be such a time-consuming task, thanks to predictive maintenance bringing quicker response times to businesses. The performance of machines can be monitored via mobile devices, and notifications can be set to alert machine management of a fall in quality or malfunctions.
Increased remote and outsourced operations
The manufacturing process consists of a variety of different stages. Each stage has to be overseen by management, who in turn report to each other to ensure consistent quality control. The IoT, however, could make manual activity reports a thing of the past.
With an IoT device, workers are now able to go about their daily tasks without having to report to their manager, because supervisors and management can oversee these tasks from remote locations. For example, if a driver is out delivering products which are ready to be shipped, a small piece of technology can be used to share the van’s location to those back at the factory. The factory will know that the shipment has been made successfully, without the driver ever having to make a manual report.
The Internet of Things will disrupt every industry to create streamlined solutions for all kinds of businesses. If you’d like to discuss how this may affect your organisation, get in touch.