Internet of Things (IoT) Tutorial

Top 16 Industrial IoT Applications (Uses of IoT in Industries)

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Working of Industrial IoT
  • Quizzes!
  • Benefits of IoT for Industries
  • Industrial IoT Applications
  • FAQs Related to Industrial IoT Applications

Introduction

In the heart of the modern industrial landscape, a silent revolution is unfolding. It is a revolution powered by connectivity, intelligence, and data-driven insights. Welcome to the era of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), where cutting-edge technology converges with traditional industries, bringing new frontiers of efficiency, productivity, and innovation.

In this blog post, we will discuss the top applications of Industrial IoT (IIoT) and the transformative impact it has on the industrial landscape. From manufacturing plants to energy grids, logistics to agriculture, IIoT is revolutionizing the way industries operate, creating smart systems that enhance decision-making, optimize processes, and revolutionize outcomes.

By harnessing the power of connected devices, sensors, and intelligent analytics, Industrial IoT empowers industries to gather and analyze real-time data from every corner of their operations. It enables machines, equipment, and infrastructure to communicate seamlessly, forming an intricate web of interconnected systems that drive operational excellence like never before.

So, whether you're a technologist eager to witness the convergence of digital and industrial realms, a business leader seeking to unlock new avenues of growth, or an enthusiast fascinated by the transformative potential of IIoT, you must know the Industrial IoT applications.

Working of Industrial IoT

Industrial IoT system includes intelligent sensors, machines, tools, software platforms, cloud servers and applications. Smart sensors are deployed at every stage of the manufacturing unit for specific applications that continuously send data to the IoT gateway, which receives and transmits the data to the cloud application server for processing and analysis. 

Sophisticated application programs are developed to handle extensive data within a secure network and are accessible using smartphone applications.

Four primary pillars supporting a fully IIoT-enabled operation are-

  • Smart machines have sensors and software to track and log data.

  • Robust cloud computer systems to store and process data.

  • Advanced data analytics systems to leverage data collected from systems, informing manufacturing improvements and operations.

  • Trained employees to put these insights to work, ensuring proper manufacturing function.

Quizzes!

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Benefits of IoT for Industries

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is an ever-growing and rapidly increasing sector. Industrialists & manufacturers in almost every industry have a tremendous opportunity to monitor and automate many of the complex processes involved in manufacturing. 

For a long time, industries and plants have used sensors and systems to track progress, but Industrial IoT takes a step further, providing solutions to even the minute problems.

Some of the benefits of Industrial IoT are as follows-

  • Increase productivity and uptime

  • Improve process efficiencies

  • Accelerate innovation

  • Reduce asset downtime

  • Enhance operational efficiency

  • Create end-to-end operational visibility

  • Improve product quality

  • Reduce operating costs

  • Optimise production scheduling

  • Improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

Industrial IoT Applications

Most industrial organisations have adopted IIoT solutions to improve monitoring, maintenance, and remote operations. 

Knowing the main IIoT applications and how to implement the system to access this competitive advantage would be wise. Let's see which are the uses of Industrial IoT.

1. Industrial Automation

Industrial automation is one of the Internet of Things' most significant and standard applications. Machine and tools automation enables companies to operate efficiently with the latest software tools to monitor and make improvements for the following process iterations. 

The accuracy of process stages is improved to a greater level using machine automation. Automation tools like PLC (Programmable Logic Control) and PAC (Programmable Automation Control) are used with intelligent sensor networks that are connected to a central cloud system that collects vast amounts of data. 

Specially designed software and applications analyse the data and its behaviour for improvements. Industrial automation improves accuracy and efficiency, reduces errors, is easy to control and is remotely accessible via applications. Machines can operate in harsh environments than humans; automation of machines and tools reduces workforce requirements for specific tasks.

2. Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance detects the need for a machine to be maintained before a crisis occurs and stops production urgently. It is, therefore, one of the reasons for implementing a data acquisition, analysis and management system.

This system is one of the potent Industrial IOT applications, as it uses sensors that send alerts when certain risk factors emerge upon installation on the machines and operating platforms. 

For example, the sensors monitoring robots or machines submit data to the platforms, analysing the data received in real-time and applying advanced algorithms issuing warnings regarding high temperatures or vibrations that exceed normal parameters.

3. Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous vehicles don't just imply self-driving cars or trucks. Many examples of warehouses have deployed robots that work without human intervention. These also include autonomous robots. 

Robots were deployed earlier to work on factory floors. Today, autonomous robots do not need a defined channel to function; they determine any other human or robot in their path and change their route accordingly. The system allows humans to give instructions to these robots with the click of a button on a tablet. Now, the robots can work alongside their human counterparts without collisions.

4. Asset Tracking

Using GPS technology, sensors are installed in vehicles and shipping crates, allowing organisations to track assets—whether sitting on a job site or travelling across the country. 

The radio frequency identification tags provide a viable solution; cellular IoT sensors differentiate by sending constant updates, allowing managers to continually view assets' progress along their journey. 

For example, GPS-enabled IoT devices equip rental companies with remote and real-time visibility into asset location and on-field conditions. Companies use this data to improve logistics planning and bolster customer care by optimising pickups and returns. 

Another common application of asset tracking is fleet management. In the case of onboard GPS, cellular IoT sensors add layers of data beyond location information to track compliance with safety requirements, monitor vehicle status, send maintenance alerts, optimise routes and fuel consumption, and much more.

5. Pinpoint Inventories

Industrial IoT systems allow for automated inventory monitoring, certifying if the plans are followed and issuing an alert in case of deviations. It is another essential Industrial IOT application to maintain a constant and efficient workflow.

6. Integration of Smart Wearables

Integrating smart sensors into tools and machines enables the workforce to perform tasks with improved accuracy and efficiency. Specially designed wearables and smart glass help employees reduce errors and improve workplace safety. 

Smart wearables can trigger instant warning messages to employees during emergencies like a gas leak or fire. Wearables can monitor the health condition of individuals continuously and provide feedback if they are not fit for a particular task.

7. Futuristic Farming

It is not only in factories and manufacturing industries that IIoT finds its applications. Implemented in various ways, IIoT makes a big difference in agriculture. By implementing connected IIoT projects in farms, the farmers can keep track of the yield from the field to the market. 

Manual surveying is prone to errors in large-size farms. Through satellite imaging and IIoT, the farmers are able to check various agricultural aspects- including the quality of soil, humidity, quality of air, and temperature. Using sensors installed in the farmland, the farmers can regulate the irrigation and decide which fertiliser to give the plants.

8. Inventory Management

In inventory management, visibility is a beneficial commodity, as blind spots often result in untold inabilities and various fiscal losses. With the latest technological advancements, increasing visibility through a connected IIoT solution is possible. 

Nowadays, a small, 4G-connected microcontroller identifies, locates, and monitors a moving asset in real time from virtually anywhere on Earth. At the same time, more robust and affordable IoT platforms allow quick data to receive, organised, and analysed via the cloud. 

Moreover, automated alerts and event reporting allow companies to adapt to supply chain and inventory disruptions. With IoT sensors' real-time insights, organisations can keep required consumables on hand to minimise downtime; the ability to track specific components' condition permits companies and their customers to order replacements ahead of time.

9. Supply Chain Management

Industrial IoT applications are already changing supply-chain management. Here, connected devices help organisations identify blind spots, define the root cause of inefficiencies, manage customer satisfaction, and anticipate losses; the results are more traceability and maximum transparency. 

With increased edge computing, the edge data streamed into IoT platforms is now pre-processed and analysed in real time. This guarantees quicker reaction times and better future readiness for unforeseen events. 

Event reporting and various automated functions enable better responsivity and flexibility, increasing supply chain resilience. This is vital in the case of larger and more complex supply chains where multiple stakeholders are involved, and potential disruptions lurk behind every corner. 

10. Plant Safety Improvement

Machines which are part of IIoT generate real-time data regarding the situation on the plant. Through monitoring equipment damages, plant air quality, and the frequency of illnesses in a company, it is possible to avoid hazardous scenarios that threaten workers. This boosts safety in the facility, productivity, and employee motivation.

11. Smart Logistics Management

Logistics is one of the essential areas in many industries. It requires continuous improvements to support increasing demands. Smart sensor technology is an ideal solution to solve many complex logistics operations and efficiently manage goods. 

Retail giants like Amazon use drones to deliver goods to their customers. Advanced technologies like drones offer better efficiency, accessibility, and speed and require fewer human resources. However, initial investments are enormous compared to conventional methods, and implementation has limitations. 

Logistics is one of the front runners in adopting IIoT, and industries, such as e-commerce, airlines, and manufacturing, have started adopting it. Various parcels are packed and shipped across all corners of the world, and handling such a large operation requires efficient tracking. With IIoT, tracking packages through easy-to-read scanners and LoRa to track shipments without GPS is possible. 

The manufacturing industry uses IIoT ensuring its perishables are shipped quickly and efficiently. Airlines also use IIoT to diagnose issues in the aircraft for easy maintenance, ensuring planes are safe to travel and making shipping spare parts easier based on diagnostics and maintenance.

12. Remote Monitoring & Control

Constant updates on industrial machinery's geolocation and mechanical status, IIoT sensors can change settings remotely, activate equipment, or halt processes when required. 

For example, in case the water pump breaks and starts to leak, you receive an alert on your device and can engage shutdown protocols, irrespective of location. This functionality is handy for hard-to-reach assets, as sending a technician to a distant place can be expensive and time-consuming—mainly when the only action needed is a simple setting tweak or standard reboot. 

In manufacturing applications, remote monitoring connections links to programmable logic controllers, which gives managers remote access to reports and other logged data. It also allows one to send commands directly to machines or deliver instructions to a facility's human operators.

13. Power Management

The levels of automation delivered by industrial IoT platforms help lower energy costs. They alleviate the burden on operating expenses. IoT-enabled management systems for the manufacturing plant can also tap into reducing energy waste. Equipped with the right IoT app, the connected sensors, actuators, microcontrollers, and industrial equipment can closely examine where and how to save energy.

14. Operator Efficiency

IoT apps that improve the capability of tools to complete solutions for connected tooling and workflow management. Operators will be able to focus on more complex assignments. IoT-enabled tools can help eliminate human error and guide operators through streamlined workflows.

15. Quality Control

Another essential IIoT application is their ability to monitor the quality of the manufactured products at any stage-from the raw materials used in the process to how they are transported to the reactions of the end customer once the product is received. 

This information is vital when studying the company's efficiency and applying the necessary changes in case failures are detected to optimise the processes and promptly detect issues in the production chain. It has also been proven that preventing risks in more delicate industries, such as pharmaceutics or food, is essential.

16. Energy Networks

Energy is the most crucial resource and must be used to the maximum without waste. There are various IIoT applications in the energy sector. 

One such application is Smart Meters, which monitors energy consumption at specific times and reports back. This information is used to programme meters to make optimum use of energy when the demand is low. It also manages the various energy demand spikes during specific times. 

The oil and gas industries also use IIoT with smart sensors. Whenever sensors detect oil or gas leakage in any of its pipelines, inform immediately to the maintenance teams. This helps avert any dangers and ensures a steady supply at all times. In future, more applications will surely come in, thereby assisting industries to use energy more efficiently.

FAQs Related to Industrial IoT Applications

Here are some frequently asked questions related to uses and applications of IIoT:

1. What is Industrial IoT (IIoT)?

IIoT is the integration of industrial machinery, equipment, and infrastructure with sensors, connectivity, and intelligent analytics. It enables real-time data collection, analysis, and communication to optimize industrial processes, improve efficiency, and drive innovation.

2. What is the difference between IIoT and IoT?

IIoT focuses on industrial applications, whereas consumer IoT primarily caters to personal devices and home automation. IIoT emphasizes scalability, reliability, and robustness to meet the demands of industrial environments, while consumer IoT tends to prioritize user experience and convenience.

3. What are the key components of an IIoT system?

An IIoT system typically consists of sensors and actuators, connectivity technologies (e.g., Wi-Fi, Ethernet, cellular), edge devices or gateways for data processing, cloud platforms for data storage and analytics, and applications for monitoring, control, and decision-making.

4. What are some examples of IIoT applications in manufacturing?

IIoT is transforming manufacturing processes through applications such as predictive maintenance to prevent equipment failures, real-time monitoring for quality control, inventory management for optimized supply chains, and robotics and automation for increased productivity.

5. How does IIoT enhance energy management?

IIoT enables energy monitoring and optimization through real-time data collection, analysis, and control. It allows industries to track energy consumption patterns, identify inefficiencies, optimize energy usage in production processes, and integrate renewable energy sources for sustainable practices.

6. What benefits does IIoT bring to agriculture?

IIoT applications in agriculture include precision farming, where sensors monitor soil conditions, weather, and crop health, enabling farmers to optimize irrigation, fertilization, and pest control. IIoT also aids in livestock monitoring, asset tracking, and supply chain management in the agricultural industry.

7. How does IIoT impact supply chain management?

IIoT enhances supply chain visibility, traceability, and efficiency by providing real-time data on inventory levels, shipments, and logistics. It enables predictive maintenance of delivery vehicles, optimization of routes, and demand forecasting, ensuring timely and cost-effective operations.

8. What are the security concerns associated with IIoT implementation?

IIoT implementation raises concerns regarding data privacy, cybersecurity, and the potential for unauthorized access to critical industrial systems. Implementing robust security measures, such as encryption, access controls, and regular updates, is crucial to protect IIoT deployments.

9. Can existing industrial infrastructure be retrofitted for IIoT?

Yes, existing industrial infrastructure can be retrofitted with IIoT technology. By adding sensors, gateways, and connectivity modules, legacy machinery, and equipment can be integrated into an IIoT ecosystem, enabling data collection and analysis for improved operational efficiency.

10. How is data analytics utilized in IIoT applications?

Data analytics plays a vital role in IIoT applications by extracting valuable insights from the vast amounts of data generated. Techniques such as machine learning and artificial intelligence are employed to analyze data, detect patterns, predict equipment failures, optimize processes, and enable informed decision-making.

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