Great manufacturing operations are defined by their repetition, so the concept of change is understandably one to be approached with caution. Change of course can come in many different ways, but one of the more common changes to approach the manufacturing industry is the introduction of an Internet of Things system into the operation’s manufacturing floors.
Despite first impressions, the implementation an IoT is becoming easier every day. These are six of the biggest myths that operations managers bring to us when we ask their opinions about IoT systems.
The biggest concern we hear from operations regarding implementation of an IoT for their machinery is that the time to install is not cost efficient. All plant managers should be concerned with potential downtimes of their machines—the more they’re up, the more production the factory will have.
The good news is that the IoT industry itself has advanced enough to minimize installation times sometimes to a single day. In some cases, factory machines don’t have to be idle for that long while the IoT hardware is installed. Today’s implementation times greatly outweigh the time that it would take to fix a broken or malfunctioning machine. Here at DATTUS, we’ve worked to reduce our system installation down as much as possible to ensure that your factory gets back to doing what it does best as quickly as possible.
Simply put: the biggest difference between a SCADA system and an IIoT such as DATTUS is the difference between visualizing data and acting on data. SCADA was created at a time when building a graphical visualization for a manufacturing plant was a new idea, but it hasn’t changed much since then. SCADA only displays information, but doesn’t necessarily allow for insights into that information.
An IIoT system goes a step further and explains what that data represents, including the ability to conduct advanced analytics, equipment benchmarking, and machine learning, all while allowing access to this information on any web-enabled device (as opposed to a local network). This is the main reason why SCADA systems are not enough for today’s manufacturing organizations. IIoT is built on wireless systems that can connect no matter the distance between machines, which is a huge upgrade over SCADA systems that need to be built on local architecture. The local data system that SCADA requires means it doesn’t scale easily, making it more expensive as a manufacturing organization tries to grow its business.
One of the greatest strengths of the idea behind an internet of things is that it is entirely customizable. While predictive and prescriptive maintenance of machines is forecasted to be the most important application of IoT in the next three years, organizations are planning to use system’s flexibility for a variety of reasons:
It’s hard to imagine a manufacturing organization that wouldn’t benefit from better data collection through an IoT system, but it’s still something that we hear from managers more often than not. In addition, it’s important to keep in mind the inherent benefits to digitally transforming your organization, including controlling the shop floor and unlocking your people’s potential.
Another topic that comes up on a regular basis is that shop managers won’t be able to use all of the information that an industrial internet of things can provide. Beginning to tackle this concern includes elements from the second myth: installing the sensors you need will only give you the information you need!
And, if your shop doesn’t need the information now, they might very well need it in the future. In a survey done by Forbes, industrial manufacturing leaders said that predictive analytic tools will increase in importance from 32% where it is today, to 69%. Starting to gather information sooner rather than later will only help to inform organizations with a larger data set that will provide a better base in which to make decisions on.
As you might remember from your history classes in schools, the introduction of steam power wasn’t the only industrial revolution. Since then, the addition of the assembly line and mass production as well as the use of computers and automation have made the 2nd and 3rd industrial revolutions. Industry 4.0 as you might have heard it called, is really just the next industrial revolution, powered by the rise of data collection and data analytics.
It is true that the industrial internet of things is one of the big technologies that powers Industry 4.0, but they are not one and the same. IIoT is one piece of a larger direction in which industrial manufacturing is headed (which includes analytics, control, visualization, and collaboration processes). These tools and machines connected by systems like DATTUS now allow plant managers to optimize workflows faster than ever before, ensuring that revenue and production hits its all-time high and continues to grow.
We often hear people push the decision to implement IIoT systems because they believe it’s a matter waiting for the technology to catch up. The thing is: the technology already exists. IIoT systems have been and are being implemented by industry leaders around the world. Those companies who lag behind are in danger as Bill Ruh, Chief Digital Officer for General Electric, pointed out in saying “Industrial companies that don’t invest in data now will eventually be like consumer companies that missed the internet.”
Building an IIoT strategy isn’t a technical decision anymore, it’s a business decision. The question isn’t “is the technology ready yet?”, the question is “how much return on investment can I get from bringing this system into my shop?” Right now, Internet of Things systems are improving production, reducing downtime, and increasing revenue around the world. The myth that IIoT technology needs to mature is keeping manufacturing organizations from realizing big changes. For more concrete examples, download our case studies to see how DATTUS is already increasing the ROI of many different companies.
The path toward an effective manufacturing IoT starts here. If you’re interested in a live demonstration of how DATTUS can help equip your plant, click here.