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Will IoT Play A Key Role In Digital Transformation For Manufacturing?

We are at a time when the world is collapsing into data to give new meaning and Smart Manufacturing becomes way of life. It is going to be the fourth industrial revolution, where automation, connectivity, and the Internet of Things meets manufacturing

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The Internet of Things (IoT) will connect the physical world in becoming a type of information system through sensors and actuators embedded in physical objects and linked through wired and wireless networks via the Internet Protocol. There will no longer be a difference between information and materials, as products will be inextricably linked to "their" information.

What happens is a complete consolidation of devices and process management. "Process and device" will be inseparable; physical things become part of the process. What this means for the plant is that machines and work flows merge to become a single unit. The work flow ceases to exist as an independent logistical layer as it is integrated into the hardware.

Internet of Things (IoT) will revolutionize, transform & create business opportunities for industries to become connected in a magnitude that has never been possible earlier. The Internet of Things is creating a new world, a quantifiable and measureable world, where people and businesses can manage their assets in better informed ways. IoT implementation will involve all sectors to take the next leap to make these initiatives come true.

Indian Government Initiatives
India is envisioned to be one of the countries where a lot of innovation is happening around IoT across different verticals and technologies. Under 'National Manufacturing Policy' (NMP), the contribution of manufacturing is from ~15% to 25% of GDP by 2022. 'Make in India' is placing India as a global manufacturing hub. It is essential for Indian manufacturers to improve productivity and adopt quality consistency to ensure success.

In an effort to thrust the 'Make in India' initiative to the global level, Mr Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, pitched India as a manufacturing destination at the World International Fair in Germany's Hannover in 2015. Mr Modi showcased India as a business friendly destination to attract foreign businesses to invest and manufacture in the country. The Government of India has taken several other initiatives to promote a healthy environment for the growth of manufacturing sector in the country. India is also an attractive hub for foreign investments in the manufacturing sector as we see several mobile phone, luxury and automobile brands, among others, have set up or are looking to establish their manufacturing bases in the country.

Manufacturing In The New Era
The manufacturing industry by nature has been following traditional methods than going for automation. This lack of excitement comes not because it isn't relevant, but rather because the concept of collecting massive volumes of data from manufacturing processes is not really new. Manufacturers have had sensors and automated data collection (ADC) devices operating on their plant floors for decades now. 80% of Indian manufacturing industry will be adopting the advanced trends in IoT by 2020, said a report unveiled by Tata Strategic Management Group (TSMG) in collaboration with FICCI recently.

As manufacturers start to upgrade to the IoT they may face some hindrances like, cyber-attack, difficulty determining RoI, technical difficulty integrating the IoT in delaying in implementation of automation. As with any other new technology, IoT adoption also calls for a learning time. Decision makers are elusively familiar with the concept of the Internet of Things and they don't realize all that's possible when information rich technology is brought into production processes. The responsibility also lies with the IoT companies, who need to educate consumers on the difference between secure and unsecure connectivity of smart products. With all this new information available about interdependencies, the flow of materials, the cycle time, and so on manufacturers can produce the product smartly. The opportunities presented by the Internet of Things is clear but so are the challenges.

Digitisation of Manufacturing
In the manufacturing industry, IoT plays two pivotal roles. a) It can connect the "things" that make the product-machines and equipment-to potentially make the manufacturing processes run more smoothly. b) One can tap into data collected or generated by the products, making them "smart" products, hopefully using that data to benefit the customer and build the business. Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to offer advanced connectivity of devices, systems, and services that goes beyond machine-to-machine communications (M2M) and covers a variety of protocols, domains, and applications.

Manufacturing has been known for a long history of change. From the steam-powered machines to high-volume assembly lines to automation and computer systems, technology has been a deciding factor in driving innovation. This revolution has impacted the way products are designed, built and consumed. In fact, the effect has been so widespread that it has redistributed the world's wealth.

When Matter Becomes Data
Digitization across manufacturing starts with equipment design, continues through product design, production process improvement finally, monitoring and improving the end-user experience. A smart, connected enterprise can embrace the digital transformation of an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) world by creating a digital thread.

Digital transformation could facilitate end-to-end tracking of global production developments, closed-loop quality management and an enterprise approach to continuous process improvement. As these things will be managed from an enterprise perspective a new wave of collaboration, operational excellence and agility will result. Beyond these advances, the establishment can usher in a new approach to how manufacturers operate, bringing new business models to life that might not previously have even been considered.

As systems will be connected to the Internet, it will be controlled and managed from a remote place. This allows global companies to remodel their setup and monitor the system in real time increasing the business opportunity. Safety hazards can be avoided with real time data. This will enable, every endpoint in manufacturing, whether a sensor, a valve, instruments or machines, to serve intelligence to a larger information system.

When The World Is Under Our Finger Tips
As the global market and industry dynamics push manufacturers to rethink their manufacturing operations, effective factory management is essential. IoT-driven data analytics is required for smart manufacturing to progress asset utilization and greater efficiency. The degree of flexibility and decision-making capability will be derived from combining old and new data with insights. Workers need to deal with increasing market complexity and demand variability.

The IoT-enabled operational intelligence platform will bridge real-time information coming from the machine level with transactional business intelligence that is available on top of enterprise applications. The real benefit of the "Internet of Assets" is eliminating the need to have a person to obtain and enter data on the plant floor. The long term benefit is the ability to run autonomic or self-healing processes.

We are at a time when the world is collapsing into data to give new meaning and Smart Manufacturing becomes way of life. It is going to be the fourth industrial revolution, where automation, connectivity, and the Internet of Things meets manufacturing.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Mehul Lanvers Shah

He is the Managing Director, Hannover Milano Fairs India Pvt Ltd. Mehul joined the trade fair organization industry in 1998. He started his career working for Montgomery Exhibitions in London.

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