Whether you’re responsible for facilities, production lines, sustainability goals, or operations, success is often tied to increased efficiency and productivity.

From factories to warehouses and distribution centers to food processing facilities, organizations around the globe are adopting the Industrial IoT (IIoT), wireless networks that pull in critical, sensor-based data to help users lower costs, gain new operational insight, and improve productivity. Rapid IIoT adoption is forecasted to continue within industries like discrete manufacturing, where $119 billion is expected to be spent on IIoT solutions in 2019 alone.

Here are four ways that the IIoT can help you create a smarter, more efficient facility, site, or enterprise:

1. Automate Data Collection for Better Use of Man-hours
Factory worker using automated machine The manual collection of facility and operational data can slow productivity and introduce the risk of human error and inaccurate data. With the IIoT, critical data such as temperature or relative humidity can be automatically collected, verified, and stored in a centralized dashboard. Your facility management team can then easily access the data and use it to monitor trends, identify anomalies, ensure and verify compliance with environmental standards or requirements, or create benchmarks against which to measure performance and create best practices. The automated collection of data also frees up employees to focus on other important tasks where their specialized skills are necessary.

2. Boost Savings on Key Utilities
Automated manufacturing machine using electricity.Industry relies heavily on utilities – water, air, gas, electricity and steam (W.A.G.E.S) – to power, drive, and fuel production lines, storage facilities, and nearby office spaces. Real-time utility data can warn facility managers of unusual usage patterns, and provide insight into whether that use signals a potential problem. For example, in a manufacturing plant, if a typical month of production requires one tank of water but data indicates that it’s instead on pace to empty within three-and-a-half weeks, this could signal a leak or process gap that needs to be addressed.

With the IIoT, you can also identify and eliminate poor energy management practices. Intelligent lighting control applications like SiteWorx Tune can automate light levels based on occupancy and other customizable parameters, and maintain the necessary levels of illumination for work and safety purposes without being on 24/7. The resulting savings may be up to 90% in lighting-based energy costs.

3. Increased Uptime and Productivity
Industrial energy meters used to measure key utilities within a facility. The IIoT can help to reduce utility expenses.Whether it is an HVAC system or the conveyor belt on the production line, any machine that breaks down unexpectedly can result in costly unplanned downtime and lost product. Through facility monitoring solutions such as SiteWorx Sense, facility or production line managers can identify troublesome machine-level behavior and perform preventative maintenance before a breakdown occurs.

For example, vibration sensors can be affixed to a machine motor and send performance data to the facility monitoring software, which the facility or production managers access on their computers or mobile devices. A notification a machine’s vibration levels differ from the rest of the line, or a previously established benchmark, may indicate the need for maintenance and head off unplanned downtime. With this information, maintenance can also be scheduled at off-peak hours to eliminate or minimize any disruption to productivity.

4. Achieve Sustainability Goals through Detailed Data Insights
The IIoT can help to reach sustainability goals and where opportunity is for additional improvement.According to a 2018 Bain survey report, 81% of global companies said sustainability is more important to their business today than it was five years ago, and 85% believe that it will be even more important in five years. Since the IIoT can centralize facility and operational data, sustainability managers can more easily, and more closely, monitor usage of their most crucial utilities. In the same way that facility managers create benchmarks with the IIoT to reduce operational costs, sustainability managers can set up their goals as benchmarks and compare them to actual usage.

The IIoT adds a lot of value to any business through the automation of manual tasks, greater visibility into facility and line-levels conditions which can signal potential problems or when maintenance is needed, and accurate real-time and historical data which helps to keep sustainability initiatives on track. Because of its adaptability in terms of sensor sources and the wide array of data points that can quickly be made available for analysis, an IIoT solution can be everywhere at at once and provide the insight you need to create new operational efficiencies.


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