Industrial Internet of Things

Industrial internet of things is a growing area affecting manufacturers across the world. Let’s take a deep dive to see how this IIoT is trending by examining Industrial internet of things.

Industrial internet of things is a name given to the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things, cloud computing and cognitive computing. Industrial internet of things is commonly referred to as the fourth industrial revolution.

Industrial internet of things fosters what has been called a “smart factory”. Within modular structured smart factories, cyber-physical systems monitor physical processes, create a virtual copy of the physical world and make decentralized decisions. Over the Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems communicate and cooperate with each other and with humans in real-time both internally and across organizational services offered and used by participants of the value chain.

The term “Industrial internet of things”, shortened to I4.0 or simply I4, originates from a project in the high-tech strategy of the German government, which promotes the computerization of manufacturing.

There are four design principles in Industrial internet of things. These principles support companies in identifying and implementing Industrial internet of things scenarios.

Interconnection: The ability of machines, devices, sensors, and people to connect and communicate with each other via the Internet of Things (IoT) or the Internet of People (IoP)

Information transparency: The transparency afforded by Industrial internet of things technology provides operators with vast amounts of useful information needed to make appropriate decisions. Inter-connectivity allows operators to collect immense amounts of data and information from all points in the manufacturing process, thus aiding functionality and identifying key areas that can benefit from innovation and improvement.

Technical assistance: First, the ability of assistance systems to support humans by aggregating and visualizing information comprehensively for making informed decisions and solving urgent problems on short notice. Second, the ability of cyber physical systems to physically support humans by conducting a range of tasks that are unpleasant, too exhausting, or unsafe for their human co-workers.

Decentralized decisions: The ability of cyber physical systems to make decisions on their own and to perform their tasks as autonomously as possible. Only in the case of exceptions, interferences, or conflicting goals, are tasks delegated to a higher level.

The basic principle of Industrial internet of things is that by connecting machines, work pieces and systems, businesses are creating intelligent networks along the entire value chain that can control each other autonomously.

Some examples for Industrial internet of things are machines which can predict failures and trigger maintenance processes autonomously or self-organized logistics which react to unexpected changes in production.

Networks and processes have so far been limited to one factory. But in an Industrial internet of things scenario, these boundaries of individual factories will most likely no longer exist. Instead, they will be lifted in order to interconnect multiple factories or even geographical regions.

There are differences between a typical traditional factory and an Industrial internet of things factory. In the current industry environment, providing high-end quality service or product with the least cost is the key to success and industrial factories are trying to achieve as much performance as possible to increase their profit as well as their reputation. In this way, various data sources are available to provide worthwhile information about different aspects of the factory. In this stage, the utilization of data for understanding current operating conditions and detecting faults and failures is an important topic to research. e.g. in production, there are various commercial tools available to provide overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) information to factory management in order to highlight the root causes of problems and possible faults in the system. In contrast, in an Industrial internet of things factory, in addition to condition monitoring and fault diagnosis, components and systems can gain self-awareness and self-predictiveness, which will provide management with more insight on the status of the factory. Furthermore, peer-to-peer comparison and fusion of health information from various components provides a precise health prediction in component and system levels and forces factory management to trigger required maintenance at the best possible time to reach just-in-time maintenance and gain near-zero downtime.

Proponents of the term claim Industrial internet of things will affect many areas, most notably:

Services and business models

Reliability and continuous productivity

IT security: Companies like Symantec, Cisco, and Penta Security have already begun to address the issue of IoT security

Machine safety

Manufacturing Sales

Product lifecycles

Manufacturing Industries: Mass Customizations instead of mass manufacturing using IOT, 3D Printing and Machine Learning

Industry value chain

Workers’ education and skills

Socio-economic factors

The aerospace industry has sometimes been characterized as “too low volume for extensive automation” however Industrial internet of things principles have been investigated by several aerospace companies, technologies have been developed to improve productivity where the upfront cost of automation cannot be justified. The discussion of how the shift to Industrial internet of things, especially digitalization, will affect the labor market is being discussed in Germany under the topic of Work 4.0.

References: Please note, most of this content was derived from Wikipedia.

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