What is IoT-based automation?

What is IoT based automation?

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IoT-based automation in the industrial sector refers to the use of internet of things (IoT) devices, data analytics, and automation technology to optimize and streamline various industrial processes. IoT-based automation in the industrial sector is changing the way manufacturing plants, oil refineries, and other industrial facilities operate by providing real-time data that can be analysed and acted upon to improve performance, reduce costs, and increase efficiency. In this article, we will explore the role of IoT in industrial automation, the benefits and challenges of IoT-based automation, real-world examples of IoT-based automation products and solutions, and the market size of IoT-based automation.

Role of IoT in Industrial Automation:

IoT-based automation in the industrial sector can provide real-time monitoring and control of various industrial processes such as production, inventory management, and asset maintenance. IoT sensors and devices can be used to track the performance of machines, measure the quality of products, and monitor the condition of the equipment. IoT-based automation can also help companies to optimize their supply chain, reduce waste, and improve their environmental footprint.

Benefits and Challenges of IoT-based Automation:

The benefits of IoT-based automation in the industrial sector are numerous, but there are also challenges that companies must consider. Some of the benefits of IoT-based automation include:

  • Improved Efficiency: IoT-based automation can improve the efficiency of industrial processes by providing real-time data that can be used to optimize production, reduce downtime, and minimize waste.
  • Cost Reduction: IoT-based automation can help companies to reduce their operational costs by optimizing processes, reducing energy consumption, and improving asset utilization.
  • Improved Safety: IoT-based automation can improve the safety of workers by providing real-time monitoring of hazardous conditions and alerting workers to potential dangers.
  • Enhanced Environmental Sustainability: IoT-based automation can help companies to reduce their environmental footprint by optimizing energy usage, reducing waste, and improving the efficiency of industrial processes.

However, there are also challenges that companies must consider when implementing IoT-based automation, including:

  • Data Security: IoT devices and sensors generate large amounts of data, which must be secured to prevent unauthorized access and protect sensitive information.
  • Interoperability: IoT devices and sensors may be manufactured by different vendors and may use different communication protocols, which can make it difficult to integrate them into a single system.
  • Complexity: Implementing IoT-based automation can be complex and require significant investment in hardware, software, and infrastructure.

Products, Hardware, and Solutions:

There is a wide range of products, hardware, and solutions available for IoT-based automation in the industrial sector. Some of the most common IoT devices and sensors used in industrial automation include:

  • Gateways: Gateways act as a bridge between different networks and protocols, allowing communication between devices that use different technologies. In an industrial setting, gateways can be used to connect legacy equipment that uses older communication protocols to modern industrial networks. 
  • Routers: Routers are devices that direct network traffic and connect different networks together. In an industrial setting, routers can be used to connect different machines or areas of a factory to a central network, allowing for remote monitoring and control.
  • Sensors: Sensors can be used to monitor various conditions in industrial environments such as temperature, humidity, pressure, and vibration. They can provide real-time data that can be used to optimize processes, prevent equipment failure, and improve safety.
  • Actuators: Actuators can be used to control various industrial processes such as valves, motors, and pumps. They can receive instructions from a central control system or from sensors that detect changes in the environment and can adjust the process accordingly.
  • RFID Tags: RFID tags can be used to track inventory, monitor the movement of goods, and optimize supply chain operations. They can be attached to products, containers, or even pallets, and can be read by RFID readers located throughout a facility. This allows for real-time inventory management, reduced waste, and improved logistics.

There are also a number of IoT-based automation solutions available for the industrial sector. These solutions can help companies to manage their assets, optimize their supply chain, and improve the efficiency of their operations. Some of the most popular IoT-based automation platforms and GUIs include:

  • Siemens MindSphere: Siemens MindSphere is an IoT-based automation platform that provides real-time data analytics and visualization for industrial processes.
  • GE Predix: GE Predix is an IoT-based automation platform that provides predictive analytics and machine learning for industrial processes.
  • Microsoft Azure IoT Suite: Microsoft Azure IoT Suite is an IoT-based automation platform that provides real-time data analytics and visualization for industrial processes, as well as integration with other Microsoft products such as Power BI and Dynamics 365.

Deployment of IoT-based Automation:

The deployment of IoT-based automation in the industrial sector can be a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. Companies must first identify the areas where IoT-based automation can have the greatest impact on their operations and then develop a strategy for implementing IoT-based automation. This strategy should include a plan for selecting the appropriate IoT devices and sensors, developing the necessary software and infrastructure, and training employees on how to use the new system.

Real-World Examples:

There are numerous real-world examples of IoT-based automation in the industrial sector. One example is General Electric’s use of IoT-based automation in its locomotive production plant. GE uses sensors and IoT devices to monitor the performance of its locomotives and optimize production processes, reducing the time it takes to build a locomotive from 80 days to 14 days. Another example is IBM’s use of IoT-based automation in its own semiconductor manufacturing plant. IBM uses IoT sensors and devices to monitor the performance of its equipment and optimize its production processes, resulting in a 10% increase in productivity.

Market Size:

The market for IoT-based automation in the industrial sector is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. According to a report by Grand View Research, the global IoT in manufacturing market size is expected to be $254.0 billion by 2026.

This growth is driven by factors such as the rising demand for real-time data analytics and the increasing adoption of Industry 4.0. The need to improve efficiency, increase productivity, reduce operational costs, and minimize downtime in industrial processes are also key drivers for the IoT-based automation market in the industrial sector.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, IoT-based automation in the industrial sector is transforming the way manufacturing plants, oil refineries, and other industrial facilities operate by providing real-time data that can be analysed and acted upon to improve performance, reduce costs, and increase efficiency. The use of IoT sensors and devices can track the performance of machines, measure the quality of products, and monitor the condition of the equipment. This technology can also help companies optimize their supply chain, reduce waste, and improve their environmental footprint. While there are challenges associated with IoT-based automation, such as data security, interoperability, and complexity, there are also numerous benefits. These include improved efficiency, cost reduction, improved safety, and enhanced environmental sustainability. With a wide range of products, hardware, and solutions available for IoT-based automation in the industrial sector, companies can deploy these systems to manage their assets, optimize their supply chain, and improve the efficiency of their operations.

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