Industrial Revolution 4.0 and the IIoT

Since the latest “Industrial Revolution” dubbed 4.0 back in 2010-11, IoT (Internet of Things), or more specifically in this instance IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), has boomed over the last few years, and on a daily basis, we are contacted by companies looking to incorporate IoT based ideas. As a result of this constant increase, we come across lots of new solutions for businesses with new and improved challenges.

IoT in the workplace is expected to increase in revenue to $250B by 2020, with 50% of this spending to be driven by manufacturing, transportation, logistics and utilities (predictions from Boston Consulting Group's market analysis). As one of the fastest growing areas to incorporating IOT, Warehouses and manufacturing plants are becoming even more challenging as they put more emphasis on the importance of real-time data, and streamlining the workload/workforce.

Below, we've outlined a few requests we have helped to facilitate and how this has changed the business and helped to gather the meaningful data they've been missing out on previously.

Automated Forklifts

Currently, warehouses across the country all use forklifts in order to move the bigger stock items around the warehouse and assist with the picking process from order to delivery. With recent technological advances, APIs have been created to run such vehicles with software to guide them around the warehouse and take such requests for items automatically.

A Wireless radio is built in to the forklift, and a robust and resilient WLAN network is set up in the warehouse to provide 100% coverage and redundancy in the event of an AP failure. From here, once an order is received and processed, the location of the items and drop off points are passed to the forklift over the wireless while you sit back and watch.

Extending this option to external stock yards will be the next challenge, but I'm sure it won't be long before this comes up.

Asset Management

The idea of asset management is for the business to be able to locate and monitor what they consider to be key assets, tasks, or points of failure along the supply chain to optimize reporting, maintain stock levels, and prevent quality issues.

In warehouses or manufacturing plants, sensors can help track the location of an item around the site till confirmed on a delivery, or tablet based check points can help to monitor the progress of an item being built or made on site.

One example would be real-time analytics for a fresh produce site, where large scale fridges and freezers need to be kept at constant temperature ranges in order to keep perishable goods fresh. Each area would need temperature sensors to be installed, a processing unit and a wireless radio, transmitting back to a main server via APIs. If a sensor picks up a change in the temperatures, staff can be notified in order to rectify the faults as soon as possible.

In Summary

With the growth of both data and devices and what they can offer, can inspire a new vision for any company. Having a seamless, secure and scalable network structure can help companies to streamline their operational efficiency, and their productivity. The movement to an integrated infrastructure enables the company to do more with less, and make more informed business decisions through real-time captured data and check points.

It's up to each company to decide their own future when it comes to embracing the potential for IIoT, but from design and installation, through to the integration and day to day usage-assistance can be given to develop an infrastructure, replacing basic networks that won't support the company's future needs.

If you would like any further information or understanding, give DigitalAir a call on 0800 310 2050