The industrial internet of things represents a new way to run a manufacturing organization, but the revolution enabled by the new technologies may be hard to detect at first. On a superficial level, factory floors are the same with the IIoT as they are without it - the same types of heavy equipment producing the same goods. However, adding sensors to the assets enables new potential regarding the way they are managed and overseen. Personnel in the manufacturing space are beginning to see the potential benefits that come along with this change, as practical use of IIoT becomes more widespread.
Convincing employees and leaders at factories and other industrial facilities that they will be well served by IIoT deployments is a pivotal step in taking these technologies from proof of concept to industry standard, and this process is in motion at the moment. The momentum behind the IIoT and the more general tech movement it is part of - Industry 4.0 - is significant, and the next few years could see widespread transformation.
Assembly magazine recently commissioned a survey regarding the how employees in various manufacturing roles view the IIoT. According to the results, the technology has already begun to take hold in several parts of the factory. For example, 41% of respondents said their plants already have IIoT features integrated into their security equipment. The mechanical systems at 29% of companies are IIoT-integrated.
When it comes to the actual assembly equipment on the shop floor, many companies are using the technology now and a near-equal number plan to do so in the near future. In some cases, plans for future usage are more prominent than current deployment. While 29% off companies have IIoT features on their assembly machinery now, 27% intend to. When applied to the whole assembly line, 20% are using the technology now and 27% want to in the future.
The Assembly survey also found that in general, the IIoT is proving its worth. Respondents already using the IIoT say overwhelmingly that their deployments are working as expected, with 81% answering in the affirmative and 3% stating the technology is better working than expected. Nearly every company is using the IIoT in some way - only 18% of respondents don't employ these systems.
As MRO Electric's Joseph Zulick recently explained in an article for Engineer Live, they key in getting businesses interested in using the IIoT often involves demonstrating the potential value of the new technologies. He noted that the best way for IT departments to spearhead IIoT deployments may be to launch a smaller pilot program. Once companies actually have access to data on some elements of their processes, the use of this information in an analytics context goes from hypothetical to fully realized and effective.
Zulick described valuable use cases for the data: Analytics insights are great for making adjustments on the fly, whether the purpose of these changes is to improve day-to-day performance or to cope with a failure somewhere in the system. In either case, data gives companies the ability to respond effectively and intelligently.
Manufacturing organizations seeking to make their IIoT deployments successful need reliable network hardware to tie their devices together. This is where industrial-grade Ethernet switches from Perle prove their worth, providing connectivity even in harsh working conditions. View our success stories to see how other manufacturers have made use of these systems.