Internet of Things (IoT) has been considered a global subject, because it is a digital connection of “things” with integration of various systems and devices.
In a few words, IoT is a connection of various devices and objects, more than a connection of people, to the Internet. As you can imagine, when connecting objects to an internet network, many paths and possibilities open up.
For example, the integration of information such as data interpretation in the most diverse sectors ensures a better use of this information so that it is used strategically by managers, not just numbers on the walls and production reports.
In this article you will learn more about the concepts behind IoT and System Integration, both pillars of Industry 4.0, as well as possible applications and challenges faced by the industries that use them.
As already mentioned, system integration is one of the pillars of industry 4.0, which enables and aims to connect the different areas of an industry, with the objective of extracting data and information that will be used to make continuous improvements throughout the production process and related support areas.
To know everything about system integration, we have a complete post on the subject on our blog: System Integration in Industry 4.0: A Competitive Advantage.
INTERNET OF THINGS AND SYSTEM INTEGRATION – 2 IMPORTANT PILLARS OF THE INDUSTRY 4.0
The number of industry 4.0 applications grows with time, and two essential pillars for these applications to happen in a continuous way are: the internet of things used in equipment and the integration of the systems making their connection real.
These two pillars need to walk together because it is not enough to have only one of them.
When domestic appliances (eg dishwashers) or industrial equipment (industrial pumps, for example) are connected to clouds for data storage and nothing happens to these collected data, a waste of a very valuable resource (data), happens!
To avoid this, it is necessary to overcome the challenge of implementing the integration of systems connected to IoT.
In addition to these, there are 2 other pillars of industry 4.0 that are very important. However, they will not be evaluated in depth in this article. They are:
• Cloud: it is the pillar of data storage and processing in the cloud when there are equipment connected to it. It allows data transfers and information storage, as well as processing all of this.
Therefore, it is already clear that different pillars of industry 4.0 complement each other, requiring complex and well-organized planning for daily use.
From this partnership of IoT and systems integration, industrial plant managers are able to better interpret the generated data in real time, making comparisons, and being able to act at specific points that have problems.
APPLICATION OF IOT AND INTEGRATION OF SYSTEMS IN INDUSTRIES
1) MAINTENANCE OPTIMIZATION IN WIND ENERGY TURBINES
Scharffler and IBM are examples of companies using IoT.
As wind turbines generate data constantly, using IoT helps these companies to identify operating conditions that can generate problems and future maintenance and interventions.
In this way, it is possible to carry out preventive maintenance to avoid defects that generate loss of productivity, and consequently of money.
2) HIGHER OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY OF INDUSTRIAL PLANTS WITH ALARM MANAGEMENT
Every day, an industrial plant with integrated systems generates many automated events and alarms.
In order to use this data in a beneficial and optimized way, there are specialized software options that search within the data, standards and important information that must be passed on to the leadership, so that they are used strategically in real time.
3) CONNECTED VEHICLES
Another example of the Schaeffler company is the use of IoT to improve the analysis of how automotive components work.
From this application, it is possible to transform raw data into valuable information that can be used by the manufacturers, thus offering a greater added value to its customers.
In fact, companies that work with high quality information to give it back to suppliers and customers, increase their quality and reliability for future businesses.
The automotive industry also has as an example the Tesla company, which owns smart cars and uses various 4.0 industry concepts in its processes.
4) UTILITIES SECTOR
Within a sector of utilities, some aspects are considered, such as: electricity, water and gas.
In large production processes, there are usually departments responsible for these areas, because there are many variables involved and constant monitoring required.
Therefore, using IoT and System Integration in these areas is very beneficial, and when done correctly, it can generate insights about leaks and excessive consumption.
An example developed by ISI-TICs together with ISI Microelectronics for the company SEIP 7 is the project called Smart Water Network (SWAN), which provides a low-cost and simple to implement monitoring of electricity, water and gas consumption.
The main objective of the project is to precisely measure water consumption, and to detect leaks or non-standard consumptions. The project has as a differential the possibility of implementation in industries, residences, agriculture and retail.
5) STOCK MANAGEMENT
If you work at an industrial plant, you have certainly faced some stock-related challenges.
An example of using IoT to improve this management happens at Amazon, which has a very low delivery time and is evaluated very positively by its customers regarding the quality and management of the entire logistics chain of the business.
However, the use of IoT devices and applications is not limited to retail. Many other companies can and should closely monitor the logistics so that the end consumer is always satisfied.
6) SMART ENVIRONMENT
The technological environments that were only available in science fiction movies are already a reality. Lighting control, cameras and security alarms are possible by using IoT.
Usually the process happens from a thermostat that learns about the preferences and automatically adjusts the temperature of the surroundings. This creates comfort and economy because the resources are used more efficiently.
And because it is a very technological application, the control happens from smartphones.
This is a very important sector for the maintenance of food for the population, and it has always been an area of manual processes. It has been modernizing for some time now, in order to achieve better results and greater productivity.
Some plantations use sensors connected to the Internet to monitor conditions such as humidity, air temperature and soil quality.
Also, it is possible to automate irrigation systems according to meteorological data in real time.
CHALLENGES FOR THE APPLICATION OF INDUSTRY 4.0
As you could see throughout the text, the Internet of Things and System Integration are essential aspects to make good use of the industry 4.0.
Looking at examples and forms of applications, it may even seem easy to execute them. However, in a contrast to marketing that shows all the positive results, there are many challenges for implementing any innovation in industry 4.0.
Many industries already have a good collection of data related to production. But in fact they do not use them strategically or intelligently.
Considering this scenario, some challenges that industries have at the moment they decide to put innovation and industry 4.0 projects in practice are:
• Not having a well-defined business model;
• Organizational inertia for releasing resources to projects;
• Shortage of internal talent;
• Bureaucracy for projects approval;
• Lack of standardization of technology;
• Difficulty in relying on data generated for rapid decision making;
• Uncertain return on investment;
• Very complex projects.
On the other hand, the fact is that people are increasingly connected and searching for innovative solutions.
A report from the McKinsey Global Institute shows that IoT can make an impact of US$ 11.1 trillion by 2025 on many different areas, including factories, cities, retail, and even the human body.
Therefore, we must continue to insist on these projects, which will be essential to keep the industries on the market in the medium and long term.
Research and day-to-day work show that implementation takes longer than expected, but there is no option of not using IoT, System Integration and industry 4.0 as a whole.
In addition to creating projects that are well written to convince the financial and management sectors to release investments, it is necessary to keep in mind the importance of the interaction of the different pillars of industry 4.0, as is the case of IoT and System Integration.
Are you living this process in your industrial plant? Share your achievements and challenges with us in the comments below so we can follow the discussion there!