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    Jacob Lauzier
    Jacob Lauzier IIOT / October 15, 2020 MachineMetrics / October 15, 2020

    4 Tips and Challenges for Better IIoT Asset Management

    IIoT, machine learning, artificial intelligence, automation, machine vision, Big Data, and more buzzwords are littering the manufacturing landscape. What do these new technologies mean to manufacturers and are advanced technologies right for everyone? The following will review these questions while presenting some tips and challenges on adopting new technology.

     

    Markets Increase with Confusion around IIoT

    What do all these new technologies mean to manufacturers? 

    It is challenging to keep up with demand. Many industries are looking for benefits within automation and other advanced technology solutions. However, this technology covers a broad range of technology. Most center around connectivity. Managers can become anxious when hearing about growing markets and competitors investing heavily in IIoT technology to reduce cost and labor while increasing production and quality.

     

    IIoT Market Estimates

    Projected Year

    Est. Market Size (Billions)

    Allied Market

    2023

    $197

    Markets and Markets

    2025

    $110.6

    Grandview Research

    2025

    $949.42

    GlobeNewswire

    2027

    $263.4

     

    Challenge: Do not get wrapped up in marketing or matching new technology investments of competitors. Even when looking at case studies with attractive results, there are many individual factors to consider for each company and project.

    Tip: Lead with facts about YOUR operation and best practices.

    Challenge: Data is needed to support claims, facts, and to understand your best practices. Before getting tied up in new equipment or expensive automation projects, it is important to understand what affects your value chain.

    Tip: Assets with easy to use and quick-to-install connected monitoring devices will play a pivotal role when deploying new technology. In some use cases, monitoring assets without any additional equipment or automation has improved production by 20%, and has reduced operational costs by as much as 50%.

     

    Are advanced technologies right for everyone? 

    The numbers associated with IIoT and other technologies changing manufacturing, such as asset management solutions, sound great, but it comes down to your benefit and cost. Depending on your challenges, goals, project or company size, and other factors, the costs of technology might be greater than the benefits.

    Challenge: Everyone will tell you the common costs and benefits associated with new technology. The key to finding out what technologies will provide the best solution for you is knowing the hidden or lesser-known costs and benefits.

    Common technology benefits of IIoT asset monitoring and tracking are managing equipment operation. Having real-time information on equipment can reduce downtime through predictive maintenance. Also, real-time data can provide real-time workflow, inventory, and supply chain data. This information can uncover hidden benefits such as production bottlenecks or ways to better manage supply chains.

    Tip: Connected devices keep managers aware of assets locally, in the field, and at remote sites that can help them make better decisions. As data grows you should look for patterns and possibly combine asset datasets for more informed business decisions too.

    Some of the hidden benefits will occur as more data is collected and more equipment is connected. Progressing IIoT and new technologies often doesn’t lead to replacing everything with robots and automation, but increases the information people receives and amplifies their abilities. Real-time asset monitoring is about engaging and increasing people’s ability to self-manage and find new benefits including:

    • Increased production
    • Higher quality
    • Increased aftermarket and field services
    • Valuable transparency to stakeholders
    • Generate new revenue streams
    • Provide more accurate quotes and timelines
    • Reduce time to market strategies

    When it comes to costs, upfront prices of software, hardware, subscription, etc. are common. Some hidden costs are found when installing new technology that is associated with legacy or a lack of infrastructure which can delay projects and disrupt production.

    Challenge: Infrastructure and resources can increase the costs of new technology. For example, installing new sensors may be easy but hidden IT costs may occur without the right network, cabling, etc. to get information from devices or sensors to where it is needed. Another challenge is to make sure new technology has power. Batteries work well, but don’t scale well. Additionally, know how long a battery is expected to last. If it needs to be recharged or replaced before the end of the product’s life-cycle, you will need to have a plan for who, when, and how to replace or charge batteries.

    Tip: If networking, power, or other infrastructure is needed to install new technology, make sure you consider all regulations, timelines, and costs associated with installation. While documenting your companies physical resources and legacy infrastructure, consider other resources, such as your workers. What is the learning curve like with new technology and do workers require training or new skills?

    Find user-friendly, quick to install devices. Hardware that offers multiple connectors and ways to connect is a massive bonus to working with legacy networks and equipment as well as potential future changes to your technology. Software should be open-source or have the ability to work with other OEMs. Overall, do more with less by limiting complexity. This is often as simple as finding a single platform that is able to host data, devices, and present information in easy to understand numbers, graphics, or reports.

    Much of the benefits associated with IIoT and connected technologies have a common trend; better asset management. There are many products and buzzwords to choose from, but these are a few tips that can help cut through the fog when adopting new solutions.

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