IIoT for Manufacturing
Published on : Wednesday 03-11-2021
Jitendra Joshi elaborates how IIoT is driving the manufacturing transformation across industry segments.
With the advent of new technology, everything is getting revolutionised. Keeping Industry 4.0 in mind, there’s no denying that these rapid innovations revolutionised the way companies manufacture, pack and disseminate their products. Manufacturers are integrating smart technologies along with the traditional manufacturing and industrial practices.
The manufacturing industry, which has evolved over the years, shows us how one thing led to another. What started with the automation sector (steam power and water) in the first revolution, slowly moved to state-of-the-art assembly lines using electricity in the second revolution.
However, this second revolution swiftly changed to the third industrial revolution with the implementation of semiconductors, mainframes, personal computing and the internet. Also known as the ‘digital revolution’, third revolution now, is quickly carrying forward the more advanced technologies. These technologies include Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and analytics, AI and machine learning.
These digitally enabled technologies are leading to enhanced levels of automation, predictive maintenance, self-optimisation of process improvements and, above all, a new level of efficiency and responsiveness for the customers.
Industry 4.0 unfolds with the usage of combined cyber-physical systems, Internet of Things (IoT), and Internet of Systems, making the idea of smart factories a reality. It is a network of digitally connected machines and has the potential of making manufacturing units and businesses more efficient and productive.
Now that the rapidly transforming phase has arrived, a lot of businesses and SMEs are getting ready for the challenges that this transition might bring. The first and foremost thing businesses need to keep their eye on is the skill challenge they may come across.
Industry 4.0 offers a plethora of smart options and a part of the current workforce may not know much about it. So, businesses have to be ready to train their employees for the same. However, in some cases, recruiting new employees may be necessary.
Besides, there are some other factors as well including a clear vision, data security, manufacturing challenges, and the ease of making informed decisions that businesses need to consider as they gear up for this transition 4.0 phase.
SMEs will also play a key role in helping India move towards smart manufacturing. And with Industry 4.0, such entities will be getting notable benefits. Starting from lower costs of operation and optimised customer relationships to having clarity on the production system status, it will help businesses in generating additional revenue. Adding to this, with the help of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and e-commerce platforms, SMEs will have more opportunities and customised services available to them.
Undoubtedly, the growth of digitalisation and innovation has led to smart manufacturing. This is all because of the power of an integrated automation process which helps to manage the production processes smoothly and identifies the errors and work accordingly.
Smart Manufacturing is a blend of various innovations that join to improve the efficiency and productivity of the manufacturing process. It includes several manufacturing processes that use big data processing capabilities, industrial connectivity devices and advanced robotics for controlling manufacturing operations smoothly.
There are several global leaders working on elevating these operations through smart manufacturing processes. One such name is Mitsubishi Electric India whose e-F@ctory Solution offers comprehensive framework that leverages the latest digital technologies such as big data, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Edge Computing, and Advanced Robotics and builds a technological ecosystem that helps end-user to achieve digital transformation in their manufacturing environment.
e-Factory’s core edge computing gathers data from the shop floor which brings computation and data storage closer to achieve data connectivity with optimal efficiency. It also makes the technology easier to process, which deploys as well as runs a wider range of applications on its servers at one go.
e-F@ctory is very useful in streamlining all tasks at the shop floor. It has helped various companies to resolve their issues with their optimal solution. e-F@ctory offers complete management of production information by real-time monitoring of operation status for all production processes at an equipment level. By utilising MAISART – Mitsubishi Electric’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) along with Industrial Robots on the manufacturing shop floor, e-F@ctory creates an environment where humans and robots operate simultaneously, thus improves operating rate of line with long man-hours, supports production that is high-mix, small volume and high cycle. It contributes to the safe and secure production environment through high performance, visualisation and inspection systems using 3D Modelling, network cameras and high-speed sensors.
e-F@ctory is a system that connects everything at one go. For a smart factory to be achievable, the real-time utilisation of production shop-floor data and efficient connectivity with IT systems is essential. With e-F@ctory, by utilising “edge computing,” a technological concept for information processing between the shop floor and IT systems, it is possible to achieve data connectivity with optimal efficiency.
e-F@ctory contributes at three different layers of manufacturing namely shop floor, edge computing and the IT system that helps complete production planning and control and streamlines the execution of manufacturing processes.
Making good use of high-tech IIoT devices in smart factories leads to higher productivity and improved quality. With more and more intervention of Industry 4.0, industry giants will understand the need of replacing manual inspection business models with AI-powered visual insights that reduce manufacturing errors and save money and time.
The never-seen avatar will empower industries across sectors. From the electric/electronic, automotive segment to the food & beverages and distribution segment, the manufacturing transformation is the next big thing that people will see in coming years. The implementation of 4.0 in businesses will help in reshaping the workforce in a quite different manner. The operations of quality control that are driven by big data and edge computing will increase the demand for data scientists, robot-assisted production capabilities will help reduce the manual effort involved, and smart supply will allow for faster and better supply decisions.
Jitendra Joshi is Senior Manager – Product Marketing, Factory Automation & Industrial Division, Mitsubishi Electric India Pvt Ltd.