How to Utilize IoT to Boost Your Industrial Automation
The emergence of the Internet of Things was due to the increased needs of the production sector. In the search for solutions to remove the human factor and optimize the factory performance, the key concept of the IoT was formed. Creating a system of connected devices to get the most out of the data they collect. Now, after more than 15 years of intensive development of IoT automation solutions, we can confidently highlight its main insights that have transformed into stable trends, as well as solutions in the “hot development” stage, which have great prospects. PSA is pleased to reveal the trends we notice with our own eyes.
Industrial Automation: How IoT Makes it Smart
Industrial Automation (IA) – is an approach to managing production processes based on the use of automatic devices to execute operation and control functions. Automation involves both the collection of data to provide inputs to equipment and the performance of an action based on the processed data. So, what has changed through the internet? First, flexibility has appeared. The Internet of Things gives data an immense advantage – access to the cloud. There are much greater opportunities both for data processing and analysis. In IoT ecosystem, all the data on the production process reaches the cloud, hence, you can take advantage of it. In addition, IoT-based automation solutions are much easier to scale and repurpose to meet changing industrial needs.
The main trend in manufacturing is to make it smarter and more independent through the updates of the equipment fleet with machines already implemented IoT support. Surely, you can hang smart sensors on every existing machine and it will work too. However, the emphasis is, and rightly so, on the development of products for industrial automation with support for the functionality of the Internet of Things. This helps companies initially put improved capabilities at each level of the manufacturing automation system:
This is what we call Smart Automation.
Industrial Automation: What to Focus On When Developing a Corresponding Solution
Not all enterprises are ready to turn their factory into smart ones overnight, which is certainly reasonable. However, by deploying IoT-based automation solutions even on a small scale, the company will not lose. For example, you can start to intelligently automate a specific manufacturing process, or enhance control for the group of equipment through IoT. The vector of development of modern smart systems is directly opposite to the traditional factory and assumes comprehensive compatibility. Thanks to this, it becomes much easier to scale such solutions.
The main trends of industrial automation now revolve around the following concepts:
- Smart equipment manufacturing
- Development of flexible/adaptable applications
- Predictive maintenance
As we explained right away, the keyword here is flexibility. Therefore, all the developments should be designed with flexibility in mind.
Industrial Automation: Use Cases Where Companies Can “Skim the Cream”?
The key requirements that drive industrial automation today are flexibility, availability, predictability, and sustainability. Those who can satisfy them, explicitly gain a competitive advantage. Given this, plenty of buzzwords have entered the industrial environment, such as Artificial Intelligent, Augmented Reality, Machine Learning, Factory 4.0, and the Internet of Things, by the way. It’s important to note that the Internet of Things is a basis of a modern factory that can be combined with other technologies to maximize the benefits of each other. Here are some examples of integrated Enterprise IoT solutions which go beyond the hype and are expected to be increasingly in demand in the next ten years.
Machine Learning for QA
Real-Time Control for Raw Materials Processing
Servo Drives for Flexible Industrial Automation
The Near Future Belongs to Cobots
PCB for Industrial Automation Applications
With the advent of the Internet of Things, Industrial Automation has stepped into a new era, where, ultimately, human participation is not expected in processes below the top management. This idea beckons lots of companies, but to get the most out of the automation at this stage and lay the groundwork for increasing further automation, we recommend the following:
- Invest in smart automation products.
- Create flexible products and build flexible systems in production that allow scaling both horizontally and vertically.
- Focus on small businesses since they have huge potential for automation.
- Actively integrate IoT solutions with other solutions that drive automation.
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