Something good is happening in the Manufacturing economy. That something good is technology, says Chris LeBeau is Global IT Director at ATS.
According to recent studies, the nation’s overall economy grew in March for the 82nd consecutive month. According to the country’s supply executives in the March 2016 Manufacturing Institute for Supply Management’s Report On Business, economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded for the first time in the last six months.
Like most everything else, technology has been key to the manufacturing industry moving forward. In the last 25 years, most manufacturers have implemented new technology in some form, with the overall goals of boosting output and increasing revenues, LeBeau says in an article for Manufacturing Business Technology.
Now, manufacturing is undergoing the next wave: the implementation of the Internet of Things (IoT) to again experience gains. What is IoT? A report by BI Intelligence defines it as “any stand-alone internet-connected device that can be either monitored and/or controlled from a remote location.” According to BI, any company using an IoT solution is leveraging the IoT ecosystem, which comprises things like sensors, devices, remotes, dashboards, networks, gateways, analytics, storage and more.
Manufacturing is leading the adoption of IoT, and BI predicts they will invest $70 billion dollars toward that end by 2020. Not surprisingly, manufacturing has seen the highest ROI from IoT compared to other industries.
Just how are manufacturers leveraging IoT? There are many ways, but one of the most significant and beneficial is in maintenance. The automation of maintenance using technologies like sensors on equipment delivers a number of benefits. It can improve situational awareness of plant operations and real-time condition of equipment. It can present maintenance information to personnel in a summary view as dashboards with real-time measurements and performance trends. It can provide automated alerts based on degraded performance giving the staff ample time to act and therefore prevent more serious failure and disruption. And, if the manufacturer is far enough along in adoption of concepts like predictive maintenance, increased analytics functionality that significantly impact performance, efficiencies and output.
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