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How Will the Internet of Things Help Manufacturing?

How Will the Internet of Things Help Manufacturing?

At Cisco’s Internet of Things World Forum, currently being held in Barcelona, Keith Nosbusch, CEO of Rockwell Automation, spoke about the impact  the Internet of Things is already having in the manufacturing arena. 

Within the next two years, over half of the manufacturing community will have migrated some of their infrastructure to the Cloud, according to Nosbusch. This tipping point, or as Nosbusch calls it, an inflection point, where technology is changing how manufacturing is being done, is being driven by the convergence of integrated control and information technologies. That in turn is being propelled forward with the Internet of Things. Nosbusch refers to this development as the Connected Enterprise.

What’s the benefit to manufacturers? Most importantly it will put customer demand, production and supplier data in context at a rate that is faster and more accessible. This in turn will lead to lower costs, increased efficiency and faster response times. 

All of those attributes will be necessary as the pressure mounts on manufacturing to deliver goods to a global population of 8 billion, with 70 million people moving into the middle class and spending $8 trillion annually.

The increased stress on resources can be managed through the “convergence of control and information” explains Nosbusch. Rockwell is one of the leaders in providing industrial power, control and information solutions.   

While manufacturers have been generating Big Data for many years, it’s their ability to effectively use the data for analysis and real time problem solving that is important.

One company that is finding success putting all of the pieces together in a meaningful way is Toyota. Its Kentucky facility, using Rockwell’s software, has improved its troubleshooting capabilities. Real time error corrections are possible which has minimized rework and scrap.  And at the company’s Alabama facility these improvements have resulted in an annual cost saving of $550,000.

Nosbusch is very optimistic that these results will be repeated across many manufacturing sectors as these technologies are adapted. “The Internet of Things is a real game changer when it comes to driving this vision into reality, “ Nosbusch said. "It’s happening today, but we are just scratching the surface of what is possible.”

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