What IIoT Can Do For You

January 27, 2021 - 7 minutes read

The Internet of Things (IoT) is expanding into helping smaller businesses improve their efficiency and productivity. But there is an Industrial Revolution happening, called Industry 4.0, that’s bringing more connectivity to manufacturers and industrial companies. As more businesses adopt robust IoT applications in their operations, we’ll see a shift in how IIoT is viewed and applied to each business’s unique needs.

In this post, we’ll cover what exactly Industrial IoT (IIoT) is, how you can implement IIoT to work seamlessly with your existing infrastructure, and what it can do for the industry’s exiting maintenance workforce.

Industrial IoT

The IIoT involves the same things as an IoT system (connectivity between devices and sensors to the cloud and IoT software) but it also adds another layer of complexity. By connecting machinery, computers, and people into the system, IIoT applications use advanced data analytics to optimize industrial operations. IIoT systems can be applied to any facility, especially if they’re experiencing more downtime than revenues allow. With IIoT, maintenance personnel and the maintenance budget can work more efficiently to combat losses in revenue and product quality.

Using IIoT to Augment Your Assets

It’s important to take a look at your current assets and operational workflows to get a baseline idea of what can be optimized and fixed with an IIoT application. IIoT applications work best when they’re targeting specific problems and workflows, rather than being a one-size-fits-all solution that tries to fix everything. An IIoT expert can help you analyze your current infrastructure and devices as well as pinpoint how an IIoT solution can work alongside existing assets while complementing maintenance plans that are already in place.

Look for an IIoT firm that offers the latest technology and has a proven record of helping incoming employees train on information that could be lost by employee turnover. Craig Resneck is VP of Consulting at Boston-based ARC Advisory Group, a leader in technology research and advisory role for the IIoT industry. According to Resnick, in the process industries, the average impact of unplanned downtime is around $20 billion, which accounts for about 5% of the annual production of these companies. IIoT is a great tool to automate maintenance to minimize unplanned downtime and maximize the return on automation assets. Reliability experts say that unplanned downtime costs companies 10 times as much as planned downtime for maintenance.

Although IIoT can fix a lot of problems your company might be facing, it’s important to know that IIoT technology is not a good investment if it doesn’t enhance the value of your current machinery and equipment. On the other hand, there are many companies that haven’t considered IIoT-enhanced predictive maintenance or haven’t found a viable solution and are still able to combat unplanned downtime using other methods and tools. By maintaining their equipment more frequently and having replacement parts on hand, these companies are fighting downtime risk in a suboptimal way that costs a lot in the way of maintenance and parts.

IIoT technology can bring a balance to situations where companies are fearful of the next machine break-down, giving companies a tolerable target for downtime. Think of IIoT as augmenting your company’s existing machinery assets and optimizing your maintenance budget with predictive maintenance and minimal unplanned downtime. Seek out a predictive maintenance firm if you think your company would benefit greatly from a combination of computing technology, sensors, and IIoT to leverage your maintenance dollars in an optimal way.

Finding New Talent

In the past three decades, industrial facilities have become much more complex and technologically enhanced. Manufacturing facilities now work 24/7, and their equipment is at a high risk of breakdown due to the increased stress on the machinery. Employees also are at risk of becoming burned out and unhappy with their jobs.

While the demand for equipment uptime has increased enormously, the availability of skilled maintenance personnel that knows how to keep machinery working and running 24/7 has decreased considerably. Those that do have the experience to maintain equipment under strenuous conditions are older and reaching retirement age. But there is a massive shortage of skilled workers that can replace the older, more experienced maintenance workforce. College graduates have shifted into pursuing more innovative roles, rather than seek employment that involves equipment and hardware maintenance.

IoT app development

With the increasing popularity of IIoT technology, we need to fill the void of the exiting maintenance workforce and lower numbers of new, trainable employees with sensors and computing technology that can help companies achieve a tolerable downtime risk. Using IIoT, companies can get an hourly report on machinery efficiency and output which can help identify anomalies faster. This can augment routine maintenance and lower the impact of downtime on the company’s bottom line.

IIoT and Beyond

IIoT is a flexible and highly impactful technology that can be used to fix a multitude of problems and issues within a company. No one should be able to say that they tried implementing IIoT technology and it didn’t work. Without the correct guidance from experts and experienced professionals, IIoT can’t provide the maximum return on investment or find immediate value in your business. If you’re going to give IIoT a shot, make sure you’re optimizing its chance for success.

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