The next technology wave has hit the manufacturing industry. But if you think about it, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) isn’t a trend at all. It's a natural evolution of the automation and connectivity that has been a part of the plant environment for decades. IIoT takes that concept and extends communication and connectivity to people and systems within the manufacturing enterprise.
Connectivity is Key
The opportunity IIoT represents is greater productivity, agility, and new business models like mass customization. You can’t leverage any of these benefits, however, without connectivity. Cloud, and more specifically manufacturing cloud ERP, is the only practical way to become a connected manufacturing enterprise. In a connected manufacturing enterprise all information—from supply chain to customer data to production data—lives in one place and is accessible to all users. Without cloud, it is overly complex and extremely difficult to ensure the proper real-time communication and information consolidation needed to drive data-centric decisions.
Quality is the focal point for many IIoT use cases. MFC Netform, maker of powertrain parts for the automotive industry, connects the results of automated quality inspections to industry standards within its manufacturing cloud ERP. If the part fails, the operator is presented with a “shut down the machine” option.
Another example is smarter reporting—using data from one system to augment another for reducing scrap. The company’s vision system automatically rejects a part and they pull the accumulated value of the scrapped part from the ERP system, then multiply it by the number of scrapped units so that the operator sees the actual “value” of the waste versus just a bunch of parts in a bin. This is only possible with machine-to-machine (M2M) communication enabled by the interconnectivity of machines, systems, and people.
GenZe, an electric bike and scooter manufacturer, uses IIoT to achieve its mission: solving the problem of urban mobility. The company’s scooters come equipped with sensors and telematics, which constantly communicate with GenZe’s data center. Signals on the health of the vehicle, usage patterns, fault situations, and more let the company know where these scooters are, how much charge they have left on them, and at what speed are they traveling.
All these signals from each consumer are combined with the VIN number of each scooter from GenZe’s manufacturing database and service history from its after-sale service management system. The company uses this information to understand customer usage patterns to monitor the scooter’s parts and provide proactive maintenance. When that information is shared with the cloud ERP system, it helps identify potential production or parts issues.
See how a manufacturing cloud ERP helps you leverage the benefits of IIoT, download the white paper: Tying the Shop Floor to the ERP System.