Workers in manufacturing facilities are facing various challenges. These include operational inefficiencies, high costs, lack of visibility into timely data, and undocumented business processes.
But these managers are starting to gain relief from these challenges by the growing proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. These technologies facilitate IoT data exchanges between manufacturing equipment, devices and associated sensors, networks, and software.
In 2020, the technology ecosystems for IoT that will be particularly beneficial to manufacturers will be:
- Predictive Analytics;
- Machine Learning;
- Robotics; and
These IoT technologies will drive the spending rate in the IoT worldwide market. According to BCG, IoT spending on discrete manufacturing will increase from $10 billion in 2015 to $40 billion in 20201.¹
Related Reading: IoT Continues to Generate Important Benefits for Productive Sectors
Continue reading this blog post for detailed analysis regarding each of these technologies’ applications for manufacturers. There are powerful capabilities to be harnessed by adopting IoT and assimilating corresponding hardware and software into your business strategy.
Predictive Analytics Alert Humans to Problems
The ability of IoT technologies to predict upcoming needs for product maintenance, forecasts of production output, and imminent product or machine malfunctions in a manufacturing plant will be a major application next year.
Sensors embedded within equipment such as a conveyor belt can alert a human being that the machine will stop operating in 24 hours if not repaired.
This notification enables that person to take action to repair the belt before it stops so manufacturing disruption and downtime are minimized or avoided altogether.
When manufacturing perishable foods, predictive analytics will be able to alert plant workers that a particular food has gone stale so they don’t ship it to stores.
In an aerospace manufacturing plant, predictive analytics could notify a maintenance person that an airplane engine has mechanical flaws.
Machine Learning Gets Smarter as it Processes More Data
Machine learning technology will play a central role in manufacturing in 2020. The beauty of this technology is it continually learns and gets smarter as it receives and analyzes more data. Armed with more information, it generates better insights and recommendations for humans to consider acting on.
For example, machine learning could inform a manufacturing employee that a car being produced has a flaw in its engine. The mechanic would then fix the pump before installing it in a car.
The machine learning technology could also inform the mechanic that the flawed engine is a result of a design mistake earlier in the manufacturing process.
Blockchain Alerts Suppliers to Manufacturing Problems
Blockchain is a digital ledger technology that enables a group of people to simultaneously share and view the same set of database information.
In the pharmaceutical manufacturing arena, for example, blockchain could be used to alert various suppliers that a pill package is flawed and give them information about who last maintained the package and manufactured it.
This eliminates the need for the various suppliers to spend time checking their various sources to find this information. It’s all on the blockchain for easy access and faster problem solving.
Robotics Can Automate Dangerous Manufacturing Tasks
It is inevitable that robotics technology will be used more within manufacturing plants over the next few years. There are already some plants that are operated almost exclusively by robots.
Robotics is a key part of the IoT ecosystem. It will enable manufacturers to respond to changes in demand, use interchangeable tooling that can be switched between different models and variants with no loss in efficiency, and reduce manufacturing errors.
Robotics will also be increasingly used for dangerous tasks that human workers have been responsible for in the past. This will reduce worker’s compensation claims and improve safety of manufacturing jobs across the globe.
Many more IoT technologies
The Internet of Things is much more than one technology or manufacturing application. It is a collection of software, sensors, network infrastructure, devices, and objects (such as manufactured products) that are all interconnected and share IoT data.
There are many other technologies besides these six that will be used in manufacturing next year. But these are four that will be particularly instrumental in changing manufacturing in profound and beneficial ways in 2020.
For more insights about the IoT applications in manufacturing, request a consultation with Identidad Technologies.
2. “Spending on IoT Worldwide by Vertical in 2015-2020,” BCG, 2019
3. “Projected Size of the Global Market for RFID Tags for 2016-2020,” MIG, 2019