The Internet of Things for an industrial equipment manufacturing business can prove to be a boon. When appropriately used, connected devices can help discover huge potential advantages at every stage—from new product development to delivery and after-sales maintenance and service. Let us look at the three main areas for IE manufacturers to drive profitability, leveraging IoT.
Design, development, and manufacture of products
In global enterprises, the internet of things could provide a data stream that results in a comprehensive view of the productivity and performance of plants and equipment. Managers can then report on the information by product, country, facility, vendor, and other criteria. Connected devices can enable engineers to review real-time data, adjust test runs or environmental conditions based on observations and use the feedback in production. Connected sensors can also support inventory management, with smart alerts to prompt procurement to act when the level of required materials or components fall below a certain level. They can also ensure the productive utilization of expensive machinery and equipment by initiating production only when a pre-set threshold of demand has been achieved.
One of our customers, a Formula-1 team, and a maker of racing cars produces as much as 40TB of data in every test run. Mining and analysis of the accumulated data has proven to be helpful to the company to improve their processes, design, and bills-of-material, to produce faster, more reliable, and safer cars. The connected sensors on their car components deliver performance data and the real-time health of the components.
Likewise, manufacturers of industrial equipment can make their entire production area IoT enabled. For example, the equipment used in the production process like pumps, compressors, industrial trucks, tractors, cutting and machining equipment, etc., can be connected to generate usage data which can help determine their performance, safety, durability, and other critical values.
In summary, IoT helps close the loop between product design and testing, which in turn contributes to the profitability of an organization.
Tracking and improving products throughout their life cycle
Industry equipment manufacturers can use IoT to study how their products perform in the next stage of their existence—once they are out of the factory and in use by customers. They can immediately spot any potential issues in operation small or big and take actions with faster diagnosis and a preventive plan. It also helps IEMs have a thorough understanding of how customers use their products. Based on the information received they could help customers avoid breakdowns and performance problems, and revise the design of products and components to achieve more durable and higher-performing machinery.
They can draw out usage scenarios and conditions they did not anticipate, and modify their designs to better support the productivity and safety of their customers. For example, if manufacturers make machines that enable customers to produce devices or components, it is beneficial to understand the actual workloads and how they change over time.
Management and utilization of the assets used in the process
The internet of things helps operation managers ensure the usage and efficiency of their equipment and facilities are at 100 percent or as close to it as possible, minimize downtime, and help identify and address any bottlenecks or under-utilization to maximize throughput and profitability. IoT and plant-floor data can be used to predict and prevent equipment failure, improve reliability and reduce downtime. Data collected would lead to insights which when applied right could upgrade the quality and minimize maintenance costs.
At a strategic level, if you aim to maximize the benefits of IoT, you need to incorporate it into your planning and business process management (BPM), to gain long-term value for your asset-driven business. To know more about how we can help you maximize your profitability, with better production and asset management, please fill the form below to get in touch with me.