For decades we’ve seen incremental innovations and improvements to manufacturing and machining equipment creating higher precision, faster production, and increased reliability. This is anticipated progress. What wasn’t expected was the disruptor of Internet of Things (IoT) becoming a reality and promising a leap forward in manufacturing efficiency and cost-effective maintenance.
What is Internet of Things?
Internet of Things, or IoT as it’s referred to in most applications, is the connecting of electrical equipment to a network, enabling remote monitoring and operation. In short, it’s connecting equipment or device to the Internet.
I’m sure you’ve seen commercials or advertisements at hardware stores for ‘net connected thermostats, lights, and smoke detectors, however this technology isn’t exclusive to consumer products. Currently there are dozens if not hundreds of software and hardware companies offering connections to common industrial equipment and machining centers to enable broadband communication and control. A plant manager can see real-time the productivity or error rate of a line or particular piece of machinery, or receive an alert anywhere in the world when equipment fails or reaches a certain wear point.
What To Expect in the Future
While this industry is exploding at the consumer level, expect to see wider and wider adoption in industrial applications by equipment manufacturers and 3rd-party implementers. Some may offer the capability as an add-on while others will integrate it with a new design, but more than likely there will be a cost increase to offer this capability. It’s worth it, however. Imagine reducing your downtime by 10-15% because you had insights into potential issues before they became problems. Schedule your maintenance in advance and alert your service manager of wear items you need on-hand for the next shift change.
Recently purchased or leased new equipment for your business? You’re not out of luck; there are already plenty of software and hardware vendors capable of retrofitting many machine types with monitoring equipment to connect your critical systems securely to the cloud.
If you’re considering new equipment purchases or leases, contact your ENGS Finance Company rep for funding options designed with your industry and business in mind.