In an ideal world, manufacturing machines would work perfectly around the clock without needing maintenance or repair.
In the real world, every manufacturing facility leader knows that downtime for your machines is an inevitability.
One advancement that is poised to change maintenance schedules and patterns for the better is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). IIoT takes a similar path to the Internet of Things as we know it by connecting objects with one another. The difference, of course, lies in the specialized focus on manufacturing facilities and the needs and functions of their machines. Here’s a look at the practical application of IIoT and how Specification Data Management™ (SDM™) software is helping to facilitate a smarter manufacturing environment.
What Does IIoT Look Like?
As we become more interconnected via gadgets and devices (think Amazon’s Alexa or Apple watch), manufacturers are examining how to apply these technologies to daily operations. In IIoT, this means connecting machines and infrastructure to collect data and transcribe it into usable information and insights.
For maintenance purposes, IIoT can help maintenance teams better understand a machine’s efficiency and usage to better gauge repairs and general upkeep needs. Many gauge the implementation of IIoT as the next logical step in creating a lean manufacturing environment. Data capture and analytics are playing an increasingly important role in how manufacturing companies become more efficient and cost-effective, and connected devices can help to facilitate the creation and transmission of data.
Shifting from Reactive to Predictive Maintenance
A recent study by Frost & Sullivan outlined that shifting to IIoT technologies will enable companies to move from reactive maintenance routines to predictive ones. Using the data collected by sensors and connected devices, maintenance teams can be empowered to do the following:
- Improve maintenance operations — Maintenance is no longer relegated to taking place when something breaks, but can rather be prioritized to maintain good working conditions for the long term. Maintenance schedules become dynamic based on real-time data to make companies more responsive to machine needs.
- Reduce operating costs — When necessary downtime can be planned, companies can better prepare to reduce effects on operations and reduce costly unexpected shutdowns.
- Track machine health — Users can see at a glance the status of each machine at scale without having to perform manual diagnostics.
SDM’s Role in Facilitating IIoT
At its core, Specification Data Management provides a single source of truth at the DNA level into all the products you manufacture and the machines that make them. Specification data plays a role in facilitating IIoT in two ways: first, helping optimize production and second, creating visibility into production lines and equipment in a facility. First, companies can use SDM to rationalize SKUs, reduce inventory, and consolidate items to boost efficiency throughout the production process (and the supply chain at large). By leveraging specification software data to better plan operations, manufacturers can reduce the wear and tear on their machines by streamlining production. Thus, a perfect IIoT application.
For example, companies who undertake an SKU rationalization project find that fewer SKUs means fewer unique products to produce. Having every product’s DNA within reach through SDM helps to improve quality and reduce the need for costly package reprints or product remakes, both of which can expand your machine’s lifespan and maintenance strategy.
Second, most facilities don’t have a digital view of their lines. With specification management, companies can visually map out their lines. Being able to instantly see critical equipment and machinery data such as controls, warranty information, speed settings, maintenance records, and so on, is the perfect complement to IIoT data. For example, if a facility manager gets notification from his or her industrial internet application, they can go into the machinery specification to see what part needs to be ordered or maintained.
Want to learn more? Contact us to learn how Specright is an ideal complement to IIoT technologies.