Today’s manufacturing landscape requires businesses to adapt quickly to dynamic business environments and evolving shop floor needs. As a result, more and more businesses are increasing their investment in automation to improve productivity, efficiency, and product quality.

One of the most common ways to do so has been the implementation of industrial IoT across manufacturing environments. In the United States alone, the industrial IoT market is growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 12% and is projected to reach a valuation of $1.3 trillion by 2032.

As continued investment in IoT devices has fueled innovation and increased accessibility, more and more businesses will look to adopt these tools to help digitize their production processes, streamline data collection, and improve overall efficiency.

In this post, we’ll discuss some of the greatest benefits that industrial IoT can bring to the manufacturing industry over the coming years.

What is the Industrial IoT?

We’ve written comprehensively about manufacturers’ adoption of industrial IoT in the past, but as a refresher, IIoT refers to a category of connected devices, sensors, and equipment used in an industrial setting that can communicate with any number of other devices or systems using an internet network.

When it comes to industrial applications, the Internet of Things has served as a stepping stone and foundation to the next level of automation in manufacturing.

Over the years, technology developers have transplanted the basics of IoT to the manufacturing industry, creating smart factories that leverage the high level of device interconnectivity to improve production efficiency and quality.

Types of Industrial IoT Devices

There are thousands of different types of IIoT devices that can be used in manufacturing depending on the businesses’ specific needs and processes. Some of the most common sensors and devices we’ve come across include:

  • Barcode scanners

  • Torque drivers

  • Foot pedals

  • Web cameras

  • Pick-to-light strips

  • Printers

  • RFID tags

  • Adon lights

  • Sensors that measure current, proximity, vibration, temperature, humidity, and more

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but demonstrates the vast array of different tools that exist to help manufacturers tackle any number of different challenges.

Benefits of Industrial IoT for manufacturers

The increasingly complex manufacturing landscape requires even more capable automation technology to meet customer demands.

Manufacturing businesses adopting the Industrial Internet of Things stand to gain on all levels, ranging from production efficiency, customer satisfaction, and overarching business decisions. Here are the standout benefits of integrating the Internet of Things in a manufacturing environment:

1. Automated data collection: In more traditional settings, employees utilize more manual data collection methods. And in numerous instances, paper-based collection and storage methods lead to human mistakes and errors that damage overall data integrity.

However, connecting machines and devices to the internet allow for automated, real-time data collection. This provides accurate data for analysis, leading to more informed business decisions.

2. Improved productivity: Manufacturers with IoT-enabled production processes stand to improve productivity by increasing machine utilization. As earlier discussed, connected machines are a continuous source of data, providing insights into equipment performance.

This allows manufacturers to improve overall equipment effectiveness, getting the most out of the machines in their operating period.

Furthermore, adopting IIoT devices results in better human capital utilization. Smart devices can be deployed to handle more menial and repetitive tasks, freeing up manpower to execute other duties.

3. Real-time production visibility: Adopting IoT provides manufacturers with real-time production tracking and holistic visibility into shop floor processes. Connecting with and drawing data from machines on the shop floor gives supervisors and managers an idea of what’s going on across the factory floor.

Analyzing this data can provide informative insights, allowing managers to identify problems and their root causes. This leads to continuous improvement as manufacturers refine the system.

4. Reduce quality defects: Embracing IIoT pushes manufacturers to implement automated processes in the factory. Taking out the human element in the most automation-hungry processes eliminates errors and mistakes that translate to defective items coming off the production line.

With significantly fewer quality defects, the business becomes more profitable due to increased customer satisfaction and brand reputation.

5. Decrease costs: Above all else, manufacturers leverage the Industrial Internet of Things to decrease manufacturing costs and increase process efficiency.

By utilizing connected devices, operators are able to streamline their workflows, automating a significant portion of the manual input and data collection associated with traditional processes.

Additionally, machine monitoring capabilities provide data about equipment health, enabling manufacturers to implement preventive maintenance. This decreases costs by cutting down on downtime and costly repairs.

The benefits of connecting industrial IoT with Tulip

Ultimately, we encourage any manufacturer looking to increase production visibility and productivity within their operations to consider exploring industrial IoT.

Using a platform like Tulip, businesses are able to connect their equipment to a single, centralized ecosystem to leverage digital work instructions and production dashboards alongside their IoT devices.

The combination of these tools not only enables operators to work more efficiently, but also provides supervisors with actionable insights into what’s happening within their facilities, allowing them to make informed decisions and drive continuous improvement.

If you’re interested in learning how Tulip can be used to connect the systems, machines, and devices across your operations, reach out to a member of our team today!

Unlock the benefits of industrial IoT with Tulip's connected ecosystem of apps

Learn how manufacturers are gaining real-time visibility into their production using IoT-enabled applications built with Tulip.

Day in the life CTA illustration