The Internet of Things, often abbreviated as IoT, refers to the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances, and other items that are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and connectivity which enable these objects to connect and exchange data.
The Industrial Internet of Things, or IIoT, is a specific application of the Internet of Things that pertains to the manufacturing sector. In recent years, sustainability has become an important issue for manufacturers as consumers increasingly seek out products that have been made sustainably and with minimal impact on the environment.
Fortunately, the IIoT can help manufacturers reduce their environmental impact and become more sustainable. Here’s how:
- Collecting Data to Increase Visibility and Transparency Across the Value Chain
The first step to becoming more sustainable is to have visibility and transparency across the entire value chain. This means understanding where your raw materials come from, how they are sourced, how they are used in your manufacturing process, what happens to your finished products after they are sold, etc. In order to gain this visibility and transparency, manufacturers must collect data at every stage of the value chain. This data can be collected manually or automatically through sensors and other digital technologies. Once this data is collected, it can be analyzed to identify areas where your company can become more efficient and reduce waste.
- Connecting Machines to Improve Efficiency
One way that manufacturers can use the IIoT to become more sustainable is by connecting their machines together in order to improve efficiency. For example, if one machine is idling while another machine is overloaded, this presents an opportunity to optimize production by redistributing work among the machines. By connecting machines together and using data analytics to optimize production in this way, manufacturers can avoid wasting energy and resources.
- Using Renewable Energy Sources
Another way that manufacturers can use the IIoT to become more sustainable is by using renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power instead of traditional sources such as coal or natural gas. While renewable energy sources may have been more expensive in the past, advances in technology have led to a decrease in cost while simultaneously increasing efficiency. As a result, many manufacturers are making the switch to renewable energy sources in order to reduce their environmental impact.
- Implementing Predictive Maintenance Schedules
Predictive maintenance is a type of maintenance that is performed before problems occur. This is in contrast to traditional preventive maintenance which is performed on a regular schedule whether or not problems exist. By using predictive maintenance schedules based on data collected by sensors, manufacturers can avoid unexpected downtime due to equipment failures. In addition, predictive maintenance can help extend the lifespan of equipment which leads to fewer replacement cycles and less waste over time.
The IIoT offers many opportunities for manufacturers to become more sustainable businesses. By collecting data across the value chain, connecting machines together for improved efficiency, using renewable energy sources wherever possible, and implementing predictive maintenance schedules; manufacturers can reduce their environmental impact while simultaneously improving their bottom line. As consumers increasingly seek out sustainable products, there has never been a better time for manufacturers to take advantage of these opportunities presented by the IIoT .