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How to Use IIoT to Improve Shop Floor Management

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has emerged as a transformative force revolutionizing all parts of the manufacturing industry, including shop floor management. Using IIoT technologies, shop floor managers can better monitor, control, analyze, and optimize production processes. This interconnected ecosystem of intelligent devices grows your business, and grows with your business.

In this article, we’ll explain how you can implement IIoT to optimize your shop floor management workflows and processes.

What Is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?

The Industrial Internet of Things, or IIoT, refers to connecting various technologies, like devices, sensors, and machinery, via the Internet or an internal intranet network. These smart IoT devices are equipped with software that can collect, transmit, and even analyze data in real time. Except for devices that use edge computing, the devices communicate with a centralized software system that acts as a repository of all information.

In other words, a smart factory uses a wide variety of devices that communicate with each other to monitor and control production. Having an IIoT ecosystem on the shop floor makes tracking, analyzing, and optimizing performance easy.


How to Use IIoT to Optimize Shop Floor Management

Upgrading your current processes to include IIoT is a necessary process in Industry 4.0. Smart factories are quickly becoming the norm, and for good reason. IIoT makes shop floor management easier and more efficient than ever before.

Here are some tips and tricks you can use to improve production in a smart factory.


1. Monitor Equipment and Processes in Real Time

You might find new machinery comes equipped with Internet connectivity capabilities. If not, you can upgrade your machinery by installing smart sensors and devices throughout the shop floor. An IoT consultant can help you select the right devices for your needs.

These devices can monitor equipment performance, production processes, and environmental conditions in real-time. The real-time data allows your team to detect issues as soon as they occur, optimize workflows, and make data-backed decisions to improve efficiency.


2. Switch from Scheduled Maintenance to Predictive Maintenance

IIoT-enabled predictive maintenance systems use data collected by sensors to monitor equipment health and predict potential failures before they occur. Instead of spending money on maintenance that your machines might not need, or risking downtime by letting equipment become so worn that they fail, predictive maintenance lets you fix problems before they happen. 

By analyzing equipment performance metrics and detecting anomalies, your shop floor managers can schedule maintenance proactively, minimize downtime, and extend the lifespan of machinery.


3. Manage Inventory More Accurately

Spend less time manually tracking inventory and increase your workforce’s productivity using IIoT technology. Shop floor and warehouse management teams can use IIoT devices to automate inventory management processes by tracking the movement of materials, components, and finished goods on the shop floor.

IIoT devices like RFID tags, sensors, and barcode scanners enable real-time inventory tracking, accurate stock levels, automated replenishment, and reduction of stockouts or overstocking.


4. Ensure Consistent Quality

IIoT devices capture data related to product quality within the parameters of your choosing during the manufacturing process. Sensors can collect information about temperature, speed, humidity, and pressure and analyze the information in real time to detect quality issues, deviations from standards, and defects.


5. Manage Workforce Productivity

IIoT solutions can enhance workforce productivity and safety on the shop floor. Smart tech for your workforce includes wearable devices, smart tools, and connected equipment that offers workers real-time information, instructions, and alerts.

Some manufacturers even opt for Hololens augmented reality glasses that provide an overlay of instructions during real life tasks.

IIoT-enabled safety systems can detect hazards, monitor employee health and wellness, and prevent accidents.


6. Identify Areas of Energy Loss

IIoT sensors and meters can monitor energy consumption, equipment usage patterns, and environmental factors affecting energy efficiency. By analying this data, shop floor managers can identify opportunities to optimize energy usage, reduce costs, and implement sustainable practices. This helps your company stay in compliance with environmental rules and regulations while saving money on energy.


7. Integrate with Supply Chain Partners

IIoT facilitates seamless integration with supply chain partners, suppliers, and vendors. You can leverage IIoT data across the ever-changing supply chain. Your shop floor managers can improve supply chain visibility, collaboration, and responsiveness to changes in demand or supply dynamics.


Increase Efficiency on the Shop Floor with IIoT

Embracing IIoT solutions will open doors to a new era of shop floor management for your team. Experience elevated efficiency, agility, and innovation. From saving costs on machine downtime using predictive maintenance to increasing revenue through optimized workflows, IIoT is an integral part of shop floor management. Contact us to learn how our IIoT solutions can relieve your factory’s pain points today.

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