Manufacturers are increasingly enhancing visibility into their operations by collecting data from the smart, connected machines and equipment that power their factories. That collected data provides plant managers with the actionable insights they need to optimize production. But in order for manufacturers to effectively use IoT solutions with real-time machine learning and advanced analytics capabilities, they require a robust IT infrastructure that is both effective and scalable.
The increasing amount of high-frequency data that factories generate can quickly get overwhelming. Deploying IoT solutions and processing data directly at the edge has three distinct benefits.
To optimize maintenance schedules and factory production, manufacturers need to be constantly aware of machine status and performance. Tracking real-time changes in vibration, temperature, and output can help, but data needs to be at the plant manager’s fingertips to be its most valuable.
Processing and analyzing IoT data at the edge enables manufacturers to immediately detect issues that could potentially impact machine performance. Just hours and minutes of unplanned downtime can be extremely costly, so time-to-value with IoT insights is critical. Processing data where it is created (at the edge) can help manufacturers better avoid downtime to maximize the efficiency of the assets that populate their factories.
Increasing amounts of IoT data can quickly put a strain on IT bandwidth and limit scalability. As a result, data latency may cause manufacturers to lose out on the real-time visibility they need to remain competitive.
Deploying IoT at the edge minimizes the need for manufacturers to pay for a physical space for off-site servers and the dedicated IT staff required to support them, while providing faster machine and factory insights that are more cost-effective to scale.
A lack of real-time visibility into factory operations and machine status can also pose safety risks to workers, assets, and the environment. Deploying IoT at the Edge can help manufacturers alleviate these risks by providing direct insight into machine health and operability.
Workers benefit from increased safety and compliance in the factory, while predictive maintenance enables manufacturers to extend the life of machines and assets to get more out of their investments. Manufacturers that can detect issues before they happen can also more easily mitigate the impact their factories have on the environment.
Edge computing is helping manufacturers drive digital transformation within their factories. Download this e-book to learn more.