In a recent article, Ease.io discussed the role digital transformation is playing in driving continuous improvement in manufacturing. According to this article, one of the main catalysts of digital transformation is Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices.
What Is IIoT?
IIoT is a part of a trend called Industry 4.0 and refers to smart machines that use sensors, actuators, and tracking/identity devices like RFID to enhance the efficiency of manufacturing and industrial tasks. These devices are connected via a network. Through that, they carry out data collection, exchange, and analysis.
Because these devices have sensors and use artificial intelligence (AI) for analytics, they can be helpful in tracking, monitoring, and reporting.
In theory, IIoT is quite similar to IoT (Internet of Things), which are smart devices that are connected to the Internet. IoT and IIoT are similar because they are both cloud-based, use sensors and connectivity, and enable communication between machines. However, they are not identical.
If an IoT device breaks down, it doesn’t create an emergency situation. It might be an inconvenience, but it won’t be a matter of life and death.
IIoT devices, on the other hand, are used in industries such as oil and gas, utilities, and manufacturing. If the device malfunctions or breaks down, it could potentially create a dangerous situation. Take a look for yourself at which industries use IIoT devices.
Industries Using IIoT Devices
A lot of the industries using IIoT devices are labour-intensive ones, and use these devices to make operations more efficient, and, in some cases, safer. Here are some of them, the first of them being manufacturing, obviously.
The manufacturing industry, especially automotive, has many uses for IIoT devices. These can monitor heavy equipment to determine when they need maintenance. In a production line, having an equipment malfunction or stop unexpectedly can result in losses. IIoT devices ensure that everything runs smoothly and is repaired before a major issue occurs.
They can also be used to automate processes, requiring less human intervention. That can be helpful in cost saving and making the workplace safer. They can also be used to shut off machinery in case of failure, for health and safety compliance.
IIoT sensors allow farmers to monitor weather patterns to plan crops and expected yields. They can also be used to control irrigation and sprinkler systems. These sensors can also help track and monitor livestock.
In addition, IIoT can be very useful for farming equipment, monitoring fuel levels and maintenance requirements.
The predictive maintenance feature of IIoT devices lends itself quite well to the mining industry. Again, this is a profession where people often have to work in dangerous conditions. So, predictive maintenance allows you to monitor every part of the operation and ensure that equipment is working properly. And, if anything needs to be looked at, there is plenty of notice.
The analytics data provided by IIoT devices also allows you to plan a more efficient plant design, making the operation more streamlined and cost effective.
When it comes to safety, IIoT devices can warn you when mineshafts are looking unstable. They may also optimise the evacuation process. To make operations even safer, there are wearable sensors that can warn you in real time if a worker is in trouble.
The heavy machinery in construction benefits from the predictive maintenance feature, whilst automation can help optimise the building process and improve safety at the construction site.
Fleet managers can use IIoT devices to monitor fuel levels in their vehicles and plan to refuel accordingly. The sensors can also alert you when it is time for each vehicle’s scheduled maintenance. Additionally, it can also allow you to monitor driving behaviour and track the vehicles.
Oil & Gas
Oil rigs are generally located in remote places, where a breakdown is dangerous, mainly because help won’t be able to reach very quickly. IIoT sensors can alert you when the machinery needs to be looked at. They can also alert you to leaks and other dangerous situations.
These sensors can also be useful when using aircrafts for visual and thermal imaging to detect any issues with the pipelines
The features offered by IIoT devices—predictive maintenance, asset tracking, facility management, etc.—do serve to make a number of industries safer and more efficient. So, you can see why it’s being called a catalyst of digital transformation. Unlike its consumer-oriented counterpart, IIoT devices are woven into the fabric of labour-intensive sectors, where their impact is nothing short of transformative.
As the world continues to evolve, one thing remains clear: the Industrial Internet of Things is here to stay, shaping the way we work and thrive in an increasingly connected and data-driven world.
Parul Mathur has been writing since 2009. That’s when she discovered her love for SEO and how it works. She developed an interest in learning HTML and CSS a couple of years later, and React in 2020. When she’s not writing, she’s either reading, walking her dog, messing up her garden, or doodling.