Integrating IoT Sensors for Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 has modernized the manufacturing sector through advanced analytics, interconnectivity, automation, and IoT sensors. Scroll down to learn how IoT sensor integration can be a game-changer.
Unless you live under a rock, there are good chances you have heard about Industry 4.0. While Industry 4.0 is not a new concept, there is still some ambiguity. Thus, scaling up its widespread adoption across various industrial sectors is a huge challenge. Before diving deeper into Industry 4.0 implementation and the role of IoT sensors, let’s get some basics clear.
What is Industry 4.0?
After steam-powered machines, sophisticated assembly lines, and advanced electronics, the manufacturing sector is undergoing another revolution.
The 4th Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0, signifies a seamless integration of futuristic technologies like IoT, cloud computing, AI, and machine learning with traditional manufacturing processes.
Industry 4.0 focuses on innovative, data-driven, and agile manufacturing strategies for enhanced operational efficiency, decreased time-to-market, and a safe and productive work environment.
Here’s what Industry 4.0 adoption means for the manufacturing sector:
- Safety regulation compliance
- Lower overheads
- Reduced operational costs
- Better sustainability
- Improved ESG scores
- Enhanced customer experience
- Higher ROI
IoT Sensors & Seamless Integration of Industry 4.0
An interconnected, optimized, and scalable manufacturing ecosystem lies at the core of Industry 4.0. IoT uses smart sensors to connect processes, products, and people for a smooth transition from legacy infrastructure. Here’s how IoT plays a crucial role in shaping the future of Industry 4.0:
- Enhanced control of operations
- Increased agility and productivity
- Opportunities for innovations
- Process automation
Industry 4.0 – Potential Roadblocks and Role of IoT Sensors
Integrating data-driven and automated Industry 4.0 technologies into the existing framework is a mammoth task. Thus, despite the term floating for almost a decade now, only a handful of manufacturers have tapped into vast benefits.
From the sheer volume of data to legacy systems, the road to Industry 4.0 adoption is long and bumpy. Let us see some of the potential bottlenecks in the implementation of Industry 4.0.
Copious Volume of Data
Multiple interconnected devices produce huge amounts of data. Extracting meaningful information from such data is overwhelming. Also, manufacturers have to deal with inaccurate and unstructured data. This can result in faulty insights that can hamper your decision-making capabilities.
Disparate and Siloed Data
One of the most critical “Industry 4.0” challenges is to collect, store and analyze data from factory floors to offices. Achieving overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) via disparate data can be a hassle. Additionally, several manufacturers still struggle to analyze siloed data and prepare a predictive model to discover a fault early and resolve it immediately.
Managing Continuous Data Growth
According to Exploding Topics, around 2.5 quintillion bytes worth of data are generated daily. Now, that’s a whopping number! And with an increasing number of manufacturers embracing Industry 4.0, the amount of data will continue to surge.
With such a massive set of data, the possibility of having erroneous and irrelevant data become higher, which can hamper critical decision-making.
Lack of Interoperability
The core idea of Industry 4.0 is to build a connected manufacturing system. But, it is easier said than done. Interoperability between different devices and technologies is a real headache for many manufacturers. Lack of interoperability can result in several issues such as delayed time-to-market, high costs, and incompetencies.
Lack of Data Analytics
Data is often collected from different sources and so, it is usually unstructured and incoherent. This adversely affects data transparency, making it difficult to track critical performance parameters. A lack of data analytics can hinder decision-making capabilities.
Risk of Data Security
Bigger data means a greater risk of it falling into the wrong hands. Data security is one of the major concerns for manufacturing sectors as integrated digital systems are vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Cyberattacks not only result in the loss of confidential data but can bring operations to a screeching halt which can affect profits.
How Industrial IoT is Driving Industry 4.0 Forward?
For manufacturers, collecting quality data is the cornerstone of the digital transformation. Industrial IoT enables manufacturing companies to gather and evaluate data for more informed decisions. Here’s how IoT technologies can take Industry 4.0 forward:
Better Data Visibility and Analytics
Before Industry 4.0 became a reality, data visibility was always a point of major concern. While manufacturers could monitor the operations on the floor, managing movable assets can be trouble. From vehicles to production and assets to personnel, IoT-enabled devices interconnect everything. This allows manufacturers to keep track of real-time production and supply chain data. Plus, discovering potential causes for delays in the production cycle becomes quick. Technicians can resolve possible issues before the machine breaks down and avoid inconvenience.
IoT sensors provide useful insights into potential equipment failure. From fluctuating humidity levels to rising temperatures, you can predict any change in performance. Such predictive models improve OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) preventing costly failure and downtime.
Optimized Operational Efficiency
Interlinked machinery – from forklifts to heavy equipment – allows a holistic perspective of the entire production line. Real-time data enables well-informed decisions and brings accountability across various stages of production. Moreover, IoT sensors can identify potential barriers and areas of improvement. Manufacturers can invest in providing specific and targeted solutions to avoid sudden shutdowns. This results in better productivity, lower downtime, and enhanced profitability.
Streamlined Supply Chain
IoT sensors connect processes and systems, making the entire supply chain more visible. Transparency in the supply chain ensures better collaboration throughout the process. With real-time data, you can discover potential obstacles within the supply chain and resolve them before it affects the output. This makes the supply chain more resilient and adaptable to changing market conditions.
Real-time data monitoring significantly lower unexpected downtimes, thus saving thousands of dollars. Equipment malfunction results in inferior quality products and also pose a danger to the life and limb of the onsite personnel.
Industrial IoT makes problem detection quick and easy, allowing manufacturers to optimize safety standards and deliver superior-quality products.
Types of IoT Sensors and Their Practical Uses
There are several different types of IoT sensors with each having its unique application. Here are some of the common IoT sensors that make Industry 4.0 integration effortless.
Temperature sensors are used to ensure assets such as boilers or liquid chemicals stay within a prescribed temperature range. Besides, these sensors can remotely monitor and detect variations in temperatures to preserve the quality of raw materials and final products in various industries such as pharmaceuticals, food processing plants, dairies, breweries, and logistics.
Vibration sensors are important to capture irregular vibration patterns that can be an early indication of an impending equipment failure. These devices play crucial in the preventive maintenance and monitoring of transformers.
Vibration sensors gather readings to analyze anomalies in the machinery allowing the manager to deploy a team to resolve the problem and avoid long downtime.
Level sensors are used to monitor shifts in fluid levels in a container, vehicle, or machinery. These are highly suitable for monitoring liquid levels in fuel tanks – both fixed and mobile – to deter any attempts to theft and prevent spillage or leaks.
Pressure sensors can capture minor changes in the air, fluid, and gas pressure that can affect industrial operations.
For example, in the automotive industry pressure sensors can keep the drivers informed of the tires’ condition and slows down wear and tear.
Anti-theft sensors can be fixed in oil tankers to prevent theft and misuse. Any variation in oil volume is captured as sensory data and transmitted as an alert to concerned authorities.
Also, these sensors are attached to the expensive machinery which keeps them safe and sends out an alert when it goes outside the premise limits.
Humidity monitoring in hospitals is crucial to restrict fungal and bacterial growth to keep indoor air quality good. This is just one example – there are several industries where humidity levels have to be monitored to ensure the product quality isn’t compromised. These sensors can alert the authorities if the humidity level goes beyond a set limit.
These sensors can accurately measure the distance between different objects. They are useful in fleet management and manufacturing industries. For example, proximity sensors can warn operators of a possible collision between two vehicles.
Gas leaks can cause severe casualties, and even jeopardize business when not contained immediately. Gas sensors can detect leakage of toxic gases in a manufacturing unit and ensure workers’ safety by averting catastrophic disasters.
IoT sensors are a pivotal component of Industry 4.0 enabling manufacturers to optimize production lines and supply chain. IoT devices and systems leverage sensors to capture data from the physical world, which is then processed digitally. By combining this data with AI, these devices are able to make intelligent decisions. Explore and get in touch with the best IoT Development Company to choose the right sensors for your industry requirements.
Kamal Rupareliya, a Director of Products at Intuz, focuses on innovation through technology such as IoT, JAMStack, and Serverless Computing. He is an expert in IoT, Mobile Design, and Product Strategy, and he loves applying inventive ways to utilize technology and empathy towards creating remarkable digital software products.
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