Jul, 15 2020

What is Industrial IoT?

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The Industrial IoT links together learnable machines, big data technologies, sensor technology and automation technology that already coexist separately in the industrial environment. This closer networking of the digital mechanical world creates the potential for profound changes in global industry, and many aspects of private and social life.  

The concept of an Industrial IoT brings promising approaches, for example the ability to sustainably improve the manufacturing of a company. This applies to both business aspects and production engineering considerations. Companies that consistently rely on the networking of machines and systems will be more productive, for example, if data from production can be used profitably by greatly improving machine running times. Operating and maintenance costs will decrease because machines are serviced and repaired before they even fail. Ultimately, this leads the way to higher customer satisfaction as their wishes can be fulfilled in a timelier manner and with a more tailored approach.  

This brings us to the so-called “IoT Size 1”, which can be achieved when unique items can be flexibly and quickly produced upon request. Within the scope of the ever-increasing digitization of production, individualized products can be produced by a mass manufacturer provided the right economic conditions. This is soon to be a reality with the Industrial IoT. 

What is the difference between Industrial IoT and the conventional IoT? 

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the networking of devices. These devices can communicate independently via the Internet or a cellular network and perform various tasks. Thecan be everyday machines such as vehicles, household appliances, consumer electronics and many other similar everyday devices that collect information about their use, their environment and that of their users. In the IoT, such devices have a clear identity and can communicate with one another and receive commands. With such an IoT, applications can be automated, and tasks can be carried out without outside intervention.  

The Industrial IoT quite simply represents the industrial form of the IoT. In contrast to the conventional IoT, it does not represent the consumer-orientated concepts but rather focuses on the application of the IoT in a manufacturing and industrial environment. The term Industrial IoT is derived from a combination of two technologies: The Internet of Things and Industry 4.0. The goals of the Industrial IoT are to reduce costs in production, improve operation efficiency, ensure faster processes, and enable implementation of new business models. When used correctly, the Industrial IoT has a positive impact on the company’s growth, competitiveness, and future viability.  

What do Industrial IoT applications look like?  

Real-time Tracking

An important core goal of the Industrial IoT is to achieve realistic and timely mapping of the industrial and logistics processes within leading software systems. In the view of future challenges  such as complex production processes, more varied products and increasingly smaller and more customer-specific batch sizes – dynamization of production is essential to make the complexity manageable. A lack of transparency in regard to the processing status and manual entry of bookings often causes problems. One of the most brilliant inventions within the past few decades is without a doubt satellite navigation system, those such as GPS. However, this technology has two serious disadvantages; It only works outdoors, and the accuracy is only around 10 meters. These properties make GPS completely unsuitable for mechanical industries as the location precision must be accurate. Centimeter-accurate cover is used today in companies via the use of RTLS sensors. Such sensors are located, for example, on boxes within a production facility, which trigger sensor activity when moving that then pass this activity onto the responsible persons. Product information, as well as processing, are decisive factors when it comes to maintaining deadlines, quality, machine utilization and compensation failures along the value chain of a product. A decent tracking of products inside and outside of the location enables a reaction to possible delays, allows for improvements in order planning and additionally creates a higher processing transparency.  


Predictive Maintenance 

Predicative maintenance is already one of the most tangible solutions in the Industrial IoT. The idea of predictive maintenance is to obtain status data from machines in order for systems to be proactively maintained. In such an application scenario, a maintenance process can be described in detail, which is based on the evaluation of process and machine data. Thanks to this real-time processing of the data, it is possible to create completely new forecasts, which ensure maintenance is tailored to requirements – before a fault occurs – which in turn guarantees a reduction in downtimes. With its proactive nature, predictive maintenance differs significantly from conventional maintenance approaches. Traditional reactive maintenance is easy to implement but carries a high risk. Only when errors or faults have occurred are problems analyzed and actions are taken to rectify the fault. In contrast to predictive maintenance, reactive maintenance cannot proactively prevent machine failures and thus results in considerable downtimes. Under certain circumstances, the required spare parts can only be ordered after the fault has occurred and the analysis has been carried out.  

In practice, predictive maintenance offers a variety of advantages. Knowing the current status of the machine or systems means machine failures can be avoided and field service operations by service employees can be optimized. Maintenance and service intervals, as well as spare parts management, in turn become much easier to plan thanks to predicative maintenance and the Industrial IoT. In addition, by analyzing the data collected, it is possible to improve machine performance and achieve higher productivity. 

Connected Future with IoT 

Both the regular IoT and the Industrial IoT deal with the digital networking of things. One on a private basis and the other on an industrial basis. Whether the conventional IoT or Industrial IoT, the potential is huge. Companies that realize this potential will benefit greatly – significantly accelerating their digitization compared to competitors. The above two application scenarios  “real-time tracking” and “predictive maintenance”  are only a fraction of the possibilities that the Industrial IoT offers. Although it can be said that the Industrial IoT is still in its initial phase, the potential for it in society has long been recognized and some pragmatic approaches are already being used within the industry. 

Whatever your use case, reliable, secure and global cellular connectivity can be a huge differentiator when it comes to Industrial IoT success. To find out more about how EMnify’s connectivity stands apart from the rest, please get in touch with one of our experts.  

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