The best way to explain the integration of the Internet of Things (IoT) to manufacturing is by the saying “the writing is on the wall.” While IoT technology may still be in the preliminary stages, it has become clear it will be a part of the future of manufacturing. What the Internet of Things will provide is a gateway to greater data collection, increased production capabilities and more efficient manufacturing.
In 1913, Henry Ford established the first manufacturing assembly line for an automobile. That process for building a vehicle would become the standard throughout the industry, due to the increase in efficiency. Using Ford’s innovation, the time it took to build one car was reduced from 12 hours down to 2 hour and 30 minutes. This type of improved efficiency and forward thinking is exactly what the integration of IoT technology will bring to the manufacturing industry.
Manufacturing today is still seen by many to be working with your hands doing physical labor. In reality many manufacturers have become early adopters for some of the most advanced technological systems. Companies all throughout the world have factories where all or several of their products are built by robots or employee operated machines, some of which have already begun using IoT systems. ¹According to Joshua Bloom, vice-president at GE Digital, 50 billion industrial IoT devices are expected to be deployed by 2020. That number of devices would place the manufacturing industry at or near the top in overall spending on IoT.
With large amounts of resources allocated towards IoT, companies making these investments will expect to see great results. The main initiatives for most companies using IoT is to reduce their spending and increase their level of production. IoT systems are designed to do so by having machines communicate with each other to provide important information used in making key decisions. One resource being utilized by companies now is machine systems that alert you to repairs before a machine becomes inoperable. This allows for scheduled maintenance during hours in which the machine will not be operating. This is just the beginning of what IoT systems hope to accomplish.
Lastly, manufacturing companies that begin using IoT will have a major effect on job markets in that area. Having more of these advanced systems in place will require employees to receive higher level training. That would also mean more employers will require a training certification or degree before considered a job candidate. In the end, the industry is advancing forward and companies will need to advance with it.
¹ Tan, Aaron. “How machine learning is applied in industrial IoT.” ComputerWeekly.com, 18 Dec. 2017, http://www.computerweekly.com/news/450431977/How-machine-learning-is-applied-in-industrial-IoT?platform=hootsuite.