When most people talk about the Internet of Things, they think of the commercial, and often quite silly, integration of sensors and wireless messages on devices that don’t need them. From ‘smart fridges’ that keep a digital grocery list to the doggy fitness trackers, there are all sorts of essentially useless ‘smart’ devices. In the industrial arena, however, the increased use of sensors and status messages is anything but useless. When the temperature, resonance and integrity of every piece of your manufacturing machinery matters, the more sensors and automated monitoring, the better! This is the true application of the Internet of Things technology, one that end users would never guess and rarely see. Here are 3 of the top ways that adding IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) capabilities to your manufacturing process can make your process safer, more efficient, and prevent costly repairs by detecting potential issues early on.
1. Wear and Tear
Industrial machines are in constant motion and use. Even those rated for optimum safety still need to be regularly inspected and replaced when they have fallen below acceptable conditions. While these intervals can often be estimated, the true time between necessary part replacements can vary based on ambient conditions around the machine (temperature, humidity, and wind if outside), and the exact moment of replacement can be difficult to determine. Sensors allow you not only to catch fast deterioration early before it causes problems but can also save money by confirming that parts are still good at the beginning of their estimated replacement window, allowing you to get every day of good work from them possible before replacement.
2. Leaks and Corrosion
Many manufacturing processes involve the use of potentially corrosive materials, and a single leak can cause catastrophic damage to the surrounding parts. When you integrate leak and corrosion sensors into your equipment, you can cut the damage off almost before it has a chance to begin. Perhaps a single piece or cluster may need replacement, but the entire process isn’t sacrificed to the corruption of one particular component. The key is to know where to place your sensors. Corrosion is most likely to be caused by exposure to moisture or dangerous chemicals used the manufacturing process. Rather than frequent personal checks of these areas for signs of damage, a sensor can get you faster, more accurate information on where and when leaks or corrosion occur so you can take care of the issue before it becomes an issue at all.
Having remotely accessible sensors on your manufacturing equipment, no matter what you are producing, is an incredibly valuable technical upgrade to your IT and production infrastructure. Join us next time for the second half of this two-part series where we’ll talk about performance analytics and integrating IIoT devices into your system!