The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is changing the way manufacturers collect data and analyze production, but is this having a positive effect on uptime and costs? In short, yes, it's not only evolving the ways factories work, but giving them more useful data than ever before.
We look at some of the ways IIoT is changing the manufacturing world.
Increased connectivity for better communication
Connecting your printers and devices improves manufacturing efficiency, meaning you can monitor production lines, edit messaging or receive alerts about potential problems with machinery.
Printers that are coding or marking are connected via Wi-Fi and accessible via apps or dashboards, making quick code changes much easier, all from the comfort of an office or out on the road.
This in itself is saving staff time as they don't have to kit up to go to the production line to make these kinds of changes. They are able to check how your production is matching up to your KPIs, allowing production lines to be sped up if necessary to meet a deadline or specific output amount.
Managing a production line speed from the office is an ideal way to increase your factory's output and efficiency. Being able to see these kinds of statistics can help you form manufacturing strategies to further improve your output and find cost savings.
Planning and predictive maintenance
Smart devices means smarter planning potential. Devices like Linx's smart printers inform production managers of any maintenance issues if a line is slowing down or showing signs of wear-and-tear. This allows for planned downtime or for a switch of printers to be put in place to minimize disruption.
By predicting and being alerted to potential maintenance requirements earlier, you can plan for downtime, saving you valuable time and money. According to analyst firm Aberdeen Research, 82% of companies have experienced unplanned downtime over the past three years and that unplanned downtime can cost a company as much as $260,000 an hour.
This new intelligent way of manufacturing is helping large and small businesses alike, with confectionery producers being highly influenced by this. The sugar tax and targets to reduce the amount of sugar in diets has hit this industry hard. Lean manufacturing has helped combat these challenging times.
By introducing IIoT devices into the manufacturing process, production lines can be more flexible with the speed or even location of a printer, which can reduce unnecessary wastage and cost.
Support on the go
All of these devices can be managed online, which gives greater support from the printer manufacturers. Issues with printers and coders can be accessed digitally allowing troubleshooting to start remotely, assessing whether an engineer needs to visit or not.
This remote way of working is resolving problems quicker and even alerting the printer manufacturer of service or ink refill dates.
Time and money aren't spent on fixing problems because the printers are aware of potential faults, all of which is highly beneficial to any production line.
The IIoT is still in its infancy, but it will continue to be more prominently used in manufacturing processes, bringing with it more time, maintenance and cost efficiencies.