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What Are IoT Devices? Explanation and Types

If you’re new to the world of the Internet of Things (IoT), you might be overwhelmed by the types of IoT devices, their myriad uses, and how to connect them. IoT devices, also known as IIoT devices for “Industrial Internet of Things,” help manufacturers automate their factories, predict maintenance, keep workers safer, and increase productivity.

In this article, you’ll learn what IoT devices are, what they do, how they can be connected to streamline processes, and some of the different types of IoT devices available.

What Is an IoT Device?

An IoT device is a piece of equipment that contains sensors, wireless connectivity capabilities, and software to collect and transmit data to your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software.

While different Industrial IoT devices have unique capabilities based on their intended use, these devices may collect data such as temperature, speed, motion, light, radiation, and more. IoT devices can be small and simple devices that attach to your equipment, or whole pieces of machinery.

How Does an IoT Device Work?

IoT devices contain sensors and software that collect and organize data. The devices connect to the internet and the software uploads the aggregated data to your ERP system in real time.

ERP systems can be configured to send alerts if, for example, the temperature of a piece of equipment elevates to unsafe levels.

You can also connect devices to each other so they can communicate relevant data between them.

With a complete network of IoT devices, you get a bird’s eye view of your factory’s ecosystem, plus real time data so your team can make more informed decisions faster.

3 Types of IIoT Devices for Manufacturing

While there are new types of IIoT devices being invented almost every day, here are 3 of the most common types of IoT devices for manufacturing.

1. Sensors

Sensors are crucial to manufacturers for eliminating human error, predicting maintenance on machines, ensuring high and consistent product quality, and creating a safer work environment.

Types of sensors include:

  • Temperature sensors monitor the temperature of machines and materials so they don’t exceed specified ranges, preventing overheating and damage.
  • Vibration sensors detect abnormal vibrations in machinery, helping to prevent misalignments and excess wear.
  • Pressure sensors monitor pressure levels in hydraulic and pneumatic systems that control equipment and processes.
  • Flow sensors measure the flow rate of liquids or gases in pipes to ensure precise control of material movement.

2. RFID Trackers

Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags are commonly used in manufacturing. Here are some of their most popular purposes:

  • Asset tracking
  • Inventory management
  • Quality control

3. Machine Control and Monitoring

IIoT devices are especially useful on the shop floor. Here are a few IIoT devices that you can use for machine control.

  • Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are embedded control systems that manage and automate machinery and processes, making real-time decisions based on data from sensors.
  • Human-Machine Interfaces (HMIs) provide a visual interface for operators to monitor and control machines and processes.
  • Many new machines are IoT-enabled machinery which allows them to communicate their status, performance, and maintenance needs.


IIoT Devices Are Integral to Manufacturing

If you’re looking to collect real time data, automate processes, improve efficiency, and make more informed decisions, it’s time to add IoT devices to your business’s ecosystem.

Not sure where to start? Ask our experts by contacting ProphecyIoT.

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