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Preventing facility downtime: 4 benefits of manufacturing IoT

June 01, 2020

Preventing facility downtime: 4 benefits of manufacturing IoT
Unplanned downtime costs industrial manufacturers an estimated $50 billion each year, figuring in the cost of repairs as well as the loss of man-hours, raw materials and product.

But now there’s a way to mitigate the risk of downtime—the Internet of Things in manufacturing.
A wireless network of smart sensors and connected devices can capture data throughout a plant and identify when, where and how downtime can be minimized.

Here are 4 ways manufacturing IoT can help prevent facility downtime:

  1. Identifying and scheduling preventative maintenance—While it’s customary for manufacturers to do maintenance on production equipment based on specification guidelines, this isn’t always the best course of action. It may not take into consideration machine run rates, speeds and duration. Now, through IoT, plant managers can actually schedule and perform preventative maintenance. Vibration sensors, which measure motor vibration frequency and temperature, make it possible to identify potential mechanical problems like misaligned couplings or unbalanced motor sand to schedule maintenance proactively—before the potential problem becomes a real one.

  2. Maintaining proper working conditions—The use of power metering and flow monitoring can prevent problems resulting from gas or water leaks from faulty or damaged pipes. A flow meter captures data to indicate when liquids are moving out of a pipe faster than usual, which can be the sign of a malfunction. Measures can then be taken to protect the main production area from flooding.
  3. Minimizing delays by sustaining production and production quality—Major shifts in temperature and humidity can affect the quality of raw materials and cause unnecessary production delays. Whenever employees in a food or beverage plant go in and out of a refrigerated unit where raw ingredients are stored, for example, doors can be left ajar and ingredients spoiled—which can result in shortages and slowdowns until new inventory is delivered. Temperature and humidity smart sensors prevent problems like this by transmitting data to a facility-wide monitoring application that not only regulates factory conditions but also triggers preventative measures to keep them from occurring.
  4. Improving safety conditions on factory floors—Accidents due to faulty equipment or malfunctions can be hazardous to factory employees and result in downtime, both when the mishaps occur and subsequently when injured workers are forced to take leave.
By detecting mechanical problems and potential safety risks, IoT sensors on equipment and embedded throughout a plant can prevent such incidents from occurring, giving plant managers and workers ample warning and time to take the proper precautions.

Conducting a risk audit
One of the most effective ways to prevent downtime in a manufacturing facility is a risk audit, which involves conducting a thorough analysis of all equipment and systems to identify all the possible risks that could occur at the location. Such an undertaking requires a lot of advanced planning and the proper equipment to do the analysis, but for large facilities it may be well worth the investment. Once a risk audit is completed, companies can get a better idea of where manufacturing IoT solutions would be most beneficial.
If you have customers who are interested in deploying the Internet of Things in manufacturing, visit the IoT marketplace at https://iot.ingrammicro.com or contact us at us.iot@ingrammicro.com.