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Productivty advantage through IIoT

Each year, manufacturers lose thousands of dollars to waste. Every plant or line manager knows the usual suspects: unplanned downtime, material waste, overproduction, and quality-related losses.

But there’s an insidious form of waste many managers are unaware of: inconsistent and inaccurate data. Such data can lead to the wrong insights and poor decisions which ultimately undermines efforts to successfully move to a data-driven management culture. The number of finished products, length of downtime, speed of the line, and number of rejected units all need to be monitored constantly and reliably, not just at the end of the shift.

To help eliminate waste, manufacturers need access to the data that identifies opportunities for continuous improvement. Unfortunately, many plants still collect operations data manually. This manual method leads to inefficiencies, delays and poor data integrity because the way one person manually measures time, quality or efficiency will likely differ from the way other colleagues do, even if only slightly. These differences in human interpretation mean that data will be inconsistent which leads to errors in analysis and financial losses.

However, these data challenges also bring plenty of opportunities, one of which is the adoption and use of the industrial internet of things (IIoT). A 2017 survey by Verizon found that 73% of executive are either researching or currently deploying IoT.

Your packaging line as a data-collecting machine

IIoT can be leveraged to collect data automatically, removing opportunities for human error and variability. You’re likely familiar with the elements of IIoT—sensors, machines, network gateways, the cloud, machine learning, analytics and software — and it’s now possible to combine these technologies in a platform to efficiently collect, evaluate, transform and analyze data. Your supply chain and enterprise business systems can serve as additional sources to complement operational data from equipment working on the packaging line.

As your equipment accrues data through attached sensors, insights can be pushed to a shared dashboard viewed by various stakeholders or to custom dashboards designed and populated for specific roles (e.g., Maintenance Engineer, Packaging Engineer, Plant Manager, Production Supervisor, Quality Manager and others). This gives packaging line managers a bird’s-eye view of their operations and the ability to make waste-reducing decisions.

IIoT solutions combine data collected from sensors and machines with data from Shop Floor, Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and other sources such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to provide a data foundation upon which numerous analytics-driven applications can be built. These applications can be designed to focus on solving specific problems such as waste reduction, productivity improvement, and efficient capacity utilization.

This is the value proposition of IIoT in manufacturing: collect data automatically and resulting insights from your equipment and operations by connecting via IIoT technologies. Line managers are now enabled to quickly make decisions that will save time and money and help sustain competitive advantage.

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