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Industrial IoT Solutions

Industrial IoT (IIoT) solutions have been at the vanguard of Industry 4.0. Networks of sensors and connected devices have revolutionized how modern industry operates. Companies are leveraging the data these sensors and devices collect to design more efficient, resilient, and profitable workflows, supply chains, warehousing solutions, and transportation networks. In this article, we look at how IoT is being used in industrial applications, highlighting four manufacturing use cases.

How Industrial IoT Solutions Are Powering Industry 4.0

IIoT is the future of manufacturing. IIoT includes a range of sensors, instruments, and other devices that collect useful data and transmit it to the cloud via the internet. Here are just a few of the ways the manufacturing industry is benefiting from Industrial IoT solutions.

Proactively identifying quality control issues

The production of defect-free products is mission-critical for any manufacturing operation. Data from IIoT devices including temperatures, humidity, precision measurements, photos, and more can be fed into IIoT analytics solutions, supplementing human observations on the factory floor. This capability enables quality control operators to detect material defects much more quickly, reducing the cost and delays from production errors. 

Enhancing working safety

Manufacturing operations can involve dangerous environments. Wearable devices are capable of tracking workers’ length of exposure to temperature extremes, stress on joints, and proximity to dangerous equipment. When unhealthy or dangerous conditions exist, alerts can be sent to managers with the information needed to prevent injury.

Improving data analytics 

Industrial analytics initiatives are only as useful as the data feeding them. With the ability to track and monitor key elements of sourcing, manufacturing, and transportation, companies have access to more valuable data than ever before. With a collection of data sources that provide full visibility into every aspect of their processes, companies can gain invaluable insights. 

Seamless pairing with AI-powered tools

IIoT sensors and devices collect and transmit massive amounts of data including cycle times, environmental conditions, parts availability, worker health, quality of finished products, and more. Taken as a whole, this represents a massive treasure trove of data that AI applications can mine to help manufacturers identify efficiency gains, resolve costly bottlenecks, and improve worker safety. 

Smart robotics integration 

Smart robots are an increasingly common sight in industrial settings. These machines are used to complete tasks with greater precision and speed than human operators. They’re also used for tasks in the manufacturing process deemed too dangerous or physically taxing for human workers. 

Increased energy efficiency 

IIoT devices can actively monitor energy usage, allowing managers to optimize the use of energy-intensive machinery. They’re also capable of sending alerts when equipment isn’t running at optimal levels, prompting operators to make adjustments or complete maintenance to restore peak efficiency.

Industrial IoT Use Cases

There is a diversity of applications for IIoT. Here are four manufacturing use cases that highlight how this technology is being applied to solve challenges.

Predictive maintenance

When manufacturing equipment malfunctions, production on the factory floor grinds to a halt, jeopardizing on-time product delivery. IIoT sensors can be used to predict when mission-critical machinery will require maintenance, making it possible to strategically plan downtime. Machine-mounted sensors collect and transmit data on stressors such as temperature, pressure, vibration, and cycles, feeding it into machine learning algorithms that predict when machines will require service. 

Asset tracking

Knowing where assets such as raw materials and inventory are located can help production planners proactively anticipate delays and provide updated delivery estimates to customers. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, sensors, or wearable devices provide warehouse and supply chain managers with a constant stream of updates, including location, current status, and anticipated delays, allowing the flexibility to make adjustments to ports of entry, shipping methods, or changes in raw material providers to keep production and delivery schedules on track.

Digital twins 

Using data collected from across a network of IIoT devices, IIoT analytic solutions can produce a digital twin, or virtual representation, of an entire factory’s operations. This allows decision-makers to look for new ways to increase efficiency by virtually testing new configurations of the factory floor, adjusting workflows, and more without impacting actual production.

Environment control

Certain products require a specific set of environmental conditions during their manufacture. Sensors set to measure temperature and humidity levels can alert operators to suboptimal conditions that may negatively impact product quality. For example, something as simple as higher-than-average humidity levels could cause potential defects in the application of paint or other finish coatings. 

Snowflake’s Industrial IoT Solutions

Aggressive investment in IIoT has created the need for sufficient storage and compute power for the massive amounts of data these systems produce. The Snowflake Data Cloud is designed to support a range of manufacturing IoT solutions. With Snowflake, you can enable innovation and modernize quickly using a single platform that serves as a data hub, data lake, and foundation for data applications

Snowflake for manufacturing makes it easy to combine and correlate data from multiple disparate industrial control systems, sensors, applications, and IT systems to increase manufacturing visibility, power Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing analytics, and improve customer experiences while creating new revenue streams.

See Snowflake’s capabilities for yourself. To give it a test drive, sign up for a free trial.