The Importance of IIoT in a Smart Factory
In the manufacturing sector, the rise of Industry 4.0 is evolving at a rapid pace and technological advancements are the backbone of this evolution. Key technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Automation and Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) are essential. As part of connected and adaptive manufacturing, Smart Factories are a new opportunity to adopt exciting technology in order to achieve demanding production goals.
Smart Factories rely heavily on smart manufacturing, with the use of data, they are a highly digitalised and connected production facility. They are designed to drive the adoption of digital manufacturing processes and create better outcomes for productivity, delivery, reduced labor and energy costs.
As part of Industry 4.0, new technologies will be introduced as part of intelligent manufacturing and they can also be found in Smart Factories, for example:
- Adopting robotics at a deeper level such as drones that would replace current human workloads.
- Use of machine learning to analyse data gathered by sensors and monitoring devices in order to make real-time decisions to improve the efficiency of production.
- Utilising IIoT to create a system of connected devices with predictive capabilities to make autonomous decisions based in an intelligent, decision-making environment.
IoT focuses a lot more on connectivity, data analytics and automation as part of a huge digital ecosystem. “In IIoT technology, sensors are attached to physical assets,” says Robert Schmid, Deloitte Digital IoT Chief Technologist. “Those sensors gather data, store it wirelessly, and use analytics and machine learning to take some kind of action.”
IIoT can transform linear manufacturing supply chains into interconnected digital supply networks (DSN), making factories more efficient, saving on costs and reducing risk for human operators.
The most notable feature of IIoT systems is the use of sensors to detect, for example, if a machine goes down or reaches a temperature that’s too high, sensors then track the source of the issue and trigger a service request. This is known as ‘Predictive Manufacturing’, a fascinating system that converts data into information and make intelligent decisions about the machine or process.
SAP Whitepaper: Advantages of Intelligent Assets
A core pillar in SAP’s Industry 4.0 strategy, Intelligent Assets equip organisations to reduce downtime, empower employees and increase efficiencies across industrial equipment and manufacturing units.
In a whitepaper produced in partnership between SAP and BizClik Media Group, Rachel Romanoski, Solutions Manager, Digital Assets, SAP, dispels some of the myths surrounding asset intelligent, and shares insight into how even small investment in asset intelligence can pay dividends in minimising cost leakage and realising an asset’s potential.
As with all innovations, the ceiling for Intelligent Assets is as high as an organisation can dream, afford and implement. But Romanoski says that just a little intelligence can go a long way: “Oftentimes people think Intelligent Assets need to be the latest and greatest cutting-edge technology. They can be super advanced, such as leveraging physics-based engineering simulations to forecast potential failures, and help mitigate them. But it could be as simple as a temperature reading. You can pull a lot of simple information from most equipment, and by enhancing that data through ancillary solutions and digital capabilities, you can create that Intelligent Asset.”
One of the most immediate benefits is reducing or, in some cases, eliminating unplanned downtime. Equipment failure is one of the most common causes of disruption and can cause chaos throughout the supply chain.
“The true power of the Intelligent Asset is in changing the basic, reactive emergency work or time-based, planned maintenance and being more prescriptive and tailored to that specific asset and use case,” Romanoski says. “Ultimately, you can reduce the unplanned events that often carry a big price tag.”
"Oftentimes people think Intelligent Assets need to be the latest and greatest cutting-edge technology... But it could be as simple as a temperature reading"
Other financial benefits include stemming cost leakage and “sweating assets” to the full potential. “Maybe you can consider the lifecycle of the asset and understand whether you can push it a little bit further,” Romanoski explains. “It might be that the best course of action for a low-cost item is to run it to failure. Having this information that we collect over time empowers those people to make those better decisions, but also has a trickle down effect to building resiliency and efficiency into the entire supply chain.”
To read the full report, including insight from Intelligent Assets, Intelligent Factories, Empowered People, and exclusive insight from Dominik Metzger, the lead on SAP’s Industry 4.0 programme, CLICK HERE.