Almost 20 years ago, the introduction of computer-driven automation brought fundamental change to the manufacturing industry. Today, with the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), manufacturing is changing again. The traditional factory floor already accustomed to interconnected production means along a predefined hierarchy, with every asset working together to achieve efficient production at optimal costs. With SIM-enabled IoT, new “smart factories” are envisioning a hyper-connectivity that maintains constant data flows along every link of the value and supply chain to close information and inventory gaps, increase operational efficiency, and lower overall manufacturing costs. This new level of connectivity, backed by IoT and SIM technology, has led some to declare SIM IoT manufacturing as the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0.
Following are five ways that SIM enabled IoT optimizes the manufacturing process.
1) Supply Line Monitoring to Reduce Manufacturing Delays
Interruptions and delays in the manufacturing process are one of a business’ biggest preventable cost factors. According to a survey from Information Technology Intelligence Consulting (ITIC), 98% of companies report that a single hour of downtime costs more than $100,000, with 33% answering that downtime costs as being from $1 to $5 million an hour. SIM-enabled IoT monitoring makes manufacturing processes smoother and more effective by anticipating raw material needs and marking materials for production to reach a specific buyer. Real-time data also gives operators the power to precisely manage supply lines, enabling the effective implementation of lean manufacturing practices that reduce waste and ensure components always are available without keeping an inventory of excess materials that are costly to manage and could deteriorate or become obsolete.
2) Integrated Value Chain Communication Allows for Customized Products
IoT enables smart factories to stay connected to their consumers by analyzing value chain information that can be cross-referenced with inventory and machine data. Value chain data provides greater production agility, thereby enabling manufacturers to create products that adhere to exact customer specifications. For example, a customer that requires specialty automotive parts can have their needs anticipated by a system that will place materials and production orders to fulfill their demands quickly and accurately. Precise inventory information, supply chain monitoring, and real-time performance metrics also allow operators to construct integrated systems for quickly replenishing parts, reducing overall downtime costs, and ensuring greater productivity.
3) Real-Time Metrics for Predictive Maintenance
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, equipment failure causes 42% of annual unplanned downtime. Manufacturing equipment fitted with SIM IoT sensors provides operators with a wide range of performance metrics — such as pressure, vibration, temperature, voltage, and battery charge — that can be used to predict and prevent major equipment damage that leads to failure. Sensors also can be used to spot openings or leaks in pipes and equipment, as well as to measure cracks, extensions, or strain gauges on key structural elements to detect building structure damage. With these data sets, smart factory operators can schedule preventative maintenance before potential damages become critical and lead to costly downtime.
4) Smart Meters and Sensors to Measure Energy Consumption and Monitor Backup Power
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the industrial sector accounted for about one-third of the total U.S. energy consumption in 2016, and as much as 37% of energy brought into industrial plants is wasted annually. SIM-enabled smart meters provide constant monitoring of energy usage, eliminating the need for manual readings and data processing. Constant monitoring helps pinpoint spikes in consumption that can be cross-referenced with sensor data through a management platform to track down equipment inefficiencies or operational issues. Connected sensors also can check the charge level of any backup battery power, including electric vehicle batteries, to ensure maximum energy savings.
5) Alerts to Notify When Tanks are Running Low
Precise fill level measurements from tanks and other storage containers are critical to managing inventory, securing contents, and assuring quality and safety. With SIM-enabled IoT, fill level measurements can be conducted remotely and in real time to help operators anticipate refill cycles. When levels drop below a certain threshold, alerts can be triggered through the IoT management platform and automatically schedule refills. Constant monitoring allows the labor spent on manual checks to be allocated elsewhere and gives operators accurate and up-to-date information about important material supply.
Streamline Your Factory Today with Neo
Industry 4.0 is here, and IoT solutions powered by Neo SIMs gives manufacturers a complete picture of business operations from supply chain to production. Our secure, cloud-based management platform places factories in control of their connectivity, allowing them to make adjustments, as needed, for effectiveness and efficiency.
To learn more about how SIM-enabled IoT can make your factory smart, contact Neo today.