Technology shifts paradigms and brings change with it. IoT is no exception. Industry 4.0 refers to it as one of its enabling technologies, and in the manufacturing sector it has been called Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
IIoT technologies are still in their infancy, but applications such as smart factories are already showing benefits for early adopters.
According to a study by Bain & xyndata.com, the industrial IIoT market could be worth up to $200 billion by 2021, covering the manufacturing, building, infrastructure, and utilities sectors.
Metalworking is almost certainly going to be affected by the IIoT. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of how to negotiate the changes that this will bring to the industry.
How is Industry 4.0 related to IIoT?
The fourth industrial revolution is a series of technologies that are bringing radical changes to manufacturing.
Consulting firm BCG predicts that Industry 4.0 will facilitate the collection and analysis of data across machines. Through this, processes will be able to operate with increased speed, efficiency, and flexibility, resulting in higher-quality goods that are cheaper.
Digital manufacturing technologies will allow companies to connect physical assets together, creating a stream of data across the value chain over the next decade.
Manufacturing companies will be able to connect the product life cycle at every stage, from design to sourcing, production, distribution, and sales. IIoT makes every machine ‘smart’ by connecting software, sensors, networks, cloud computing, and analytics.
What is IIoT?
The following five functions will be included in all IIoT solutions:
Collection of data
Sensors are one of the main forms of data collection. They continuously monitor and collect data, like energy usage, temperature, downtime, vibration, etc.
It may not be possible for companies seeking to benefit from IIoT to replace all existing equipment and plant with sensor-enabled ones today.
The IIoT can be adapted to such machines by adding external, sensor-bearing devices. In addition to connectivity, sensors, and control functionality, these cost-efficient alternatives bolt onto existing equipment.
The retrofit appliances and sensors are connected to the network via wireless or hardwired connections. Due to the lack of dedicated wiring, a wireless option can reduce costs and complexity. As a result, machines can be located in areas where wiring is difficult or prohibitively expensive to use.
There are several wireless protocols used in IIoT: WiFi, Zigbee, cellular, Near Field Communication (NFC) and Bluetooth (Low Energy). An array of variables, including the environment, the location, the distance, and the IIoT platform should be considered when choosing the best protocol.
Computing at the cutting edge
Massive volumes of data are collected by machines, placing considerable strain on networks. To solve this potential problem, the data can be pre-processed on a device, with only the data that has value being sent to the cloud for storage and analysis.
In an IIoT network, a network manager is a hardware and software device that is located at the periphery. It serves as a point of connection between the factory and the internet/cloud.
It aggregates and pre-processes data collected from IIoT sensors and devices and transmits it to the cloud for storage and use in IIoT applications.
The IIoT applications receive data and commands, which are passed back to IIoT devices, triggering some type of activity in the machine, such as shutting these down.
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