What IIoT Means for Manufacturing

INDUSTRIAL INTERNET OF THINGS (IIOT)

What is IIoT?

So, what exactly is the Industrial Internet of Things or IIoT? To understand IIoT, we first need to understand its predecessor, the Internet of Things (IoT). According to an online source, the Internet of Things (IoT) is defined as . . .

“The inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles (also referred to as "connected devices" and "smart devices"), buildings, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data”.

Simply put, the Industrial Internet of Things is the use of IoT in manufacturing.  

For some time now, the IoT has been streamlining our personal lives, connecting the physical and digital worlds. Take for example, wearable devices like the Fitbit or the Apple Watch and programmable or “smart” thermostats, with features including integration with other smart systems, voice recognition and the ability to learn.

Beyond convenience in our personal lives, IoT now has application in some very interesting and some unexpected places, including agriculture, energy engagement and farming. Read the article 

However, not so surprising is #4 on the list . . . Industrial Internet or IIoT.  According to the article, “IIoT holds great potential for quality control and sustainability.” 

This belief is mirrored by our manufacturing partner, Zebra Technologies, in their 2017 Manufacturing Visions Study, stating that;

“Today, forward-thinking companies are embracing a quality-minded philosophy, and it is paving the way for an alternate route to growth and profitability. New processes and technology advancements are enabling companies to focus on quality and reap the rewards that an automated and connected plant floor can deliver.”

At ADI, we are seeing this more and more with our customers, as manufacturers continue to strive towards lean manufacturing practices and “mistake proofing” their operations.  

Poka-Yoke

“Mistake proofing, or its Japanese equivalent poka-yoke (pronounced PO-ka yo-KAY), is the use of any automatic device or method that either makes it impossible for an error to occur or makes the error immediately obvious once it has occurred.” . . . online source.

The importance of minimizing errors and/or identifying them immediately once they happen, is the key to poka-yoke.  And IIoT is one of the main drivers that is making "mistake-proof" manufacturing a reality.

Take for example a Tier 2 automotive supplier ADI is working with, who is implementing a poka-yoke process to ensure:

  • The right product
  • In the right container
  • In the right quantity
  • Delivered to the right location
  • At the right time

The customer is achieving this through a customized POWERPRINT solution, which uses a total of 15 inputs/outputs to provide checks and balances that are eliminating mistakes on their production line or immediately alerting them to a mistake if one should occur.  More on this later . . .

Over the next few months, ADI will take a deeper look at the impact the Industrial Internet of Things is having on manufacturing and give our insider look at what we are seeing. We agree with Zebra’s 2017 Manufacturing Vision Study . . .

“The global manufacturing industry is in the midst of a dramatic transformation that will profoundly alter plant floor operations. With a desire to connect every stage of the manufacturing process, including end-to-end supply chain fulfillment, manufacturers are turning to automation to improve quality and gain unprecedented visibility”.

Read Zebra's 2017 Manufacturing Vision Study