How can IoT devices minimise downtime in a manufacturing plant?

  • IoT data enables predictive maintenance, allowing companies to identify patterns and trends that indicate equipment failure or repair needs, reducing planned and unplanned downtime.
  • Real-time data and monitoring provided by IoT devices allow for quick access to information by relevant stakeholders, speeding up problem diagnosis and resolution, and further reducing downtime.
  • IoT sensors can monitor operator behaviour and provide targeted training to reduce the occurrence of errors or quality issues that could lead to downtime, promoting operational excellence and reducing the risk of costly disruptions.

Unplanned production disruptions can cause significant cost losses and lead to large-scale workflow disruptions. The Internet of Things (IoT) can help organisations reduce production downtime in a number of ways. Although using this technology requires an investment of money and time, the positive results are usually worth it.

Consequences of downtime

Downtime in manufacturing extends far beyond the malfunction of a single machine. Initially, it renders the equipment unusable. However, if ordering a part for that device or waiting for technicians to diagnose and propose solutions takes longer than expected, the overall downtime can escalate. Depending on the machine’s criticality, companies may need to reorganise entire production lines or temporarily shut down sections of the factory due to downtime.

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In other scenarios, downtime can severely impact productivity, leading to a reduced workforce during specific shifts. Companies facing urgent delivery deadlines affected by machine failures may struggle to fulfil contractual obligations.

How IoT improves downtime

IoT data enables decision-makers to accurately predict maintenance needs. By analysing the data collected by sensors and devices, companies can identify patterns and trends that indicate when and how equipment is failing or in need of repair. This predictive maintenance approach optimises the scheduling of maintenance activities, ensuring that necessary repairs or replacements are carried out at the most appropriate time, reducing planned and unplanned downtime. By responding to equipment failures in a timely manner, manufacturers can maximise uptime, reduce outages, and optimise asset utilisation.

Also read: Top 5 Internet of Things (IoT) platforms

IoT also makes it easy for internal and external teams to quickly access real-time data, speeding up problem diagnosis and resolution. Through connected devices and real-time monitoring, relevant stakeholders can obtain the status and performance data of manufacturing processes in real-time. This data-driven approach helps company leaders make informed decisions, such as determining the best time to replace equipment, rescheduling production schedules, or allocating resources more efficiently. With timely and accurate information, teams can act quickly to address potential issues, reducing the time it takes to diagnose and resolve issues, further reducing downtime.

In addition, IoT sensors can monitor operator behaviour in manufacturing environments. By capturing data on operator interactions with equipment and processes, companies can identify and correct errant behaviour that could lead to downtime or quality issues. This includes providing targeted training to reduce the occurrence of such situations and improve operator skills. By promoting a culture of safety and operational excellence, manufacturers can reduce the risk of costly production disruptions due to human error.

Crystal-Feng

Crystal Feng

Crystal Feng, an intern reporter at BTW media dedicated in tech trends. She is studying Chinese-English translation at Beijing International Studies University. Send tips to c.feng@btw.media.

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