What is the IIoT?
Industrial IoT connects machines, robots, transportation lines, solar panels and other industrial devices such as HMIs and PLCs to the internet. It differs from other IoT applications by its daily effects on smarter, integrated and more efficient production. Reliable connectivity devices that require little maintenance are essential for Industrial IoT.
Industrial IoT devices run applications to control machines, buildings or plants. Some examples are a smart factory, predictive and remote maintenance, smart metering, security systems, equipment monitoring and industrial HVAC.
Why Industrial IoT?
Collecting and analyzing data is key in Industrial IoT to deliver useful insights. These insights help industrial companies making better-informed business decisions faster than ever before.
The use of equipment’s machine data using industrial IoT, such as production data, helps companies transform their industrial processes or manufacturing. Better quality control, sustainable and green practices, comfortable climate control and more efficient supply chain management are common examples where data plays a part.
It also benefits predictive maintenance, field service, energy and facility management, and asset tracking.
Examples of IIoT in manufacturing
More and more IoT devices are making their way into our homes and work, and now there is a growing interest in the industrial application in manufacturing as well.
- Change PLC software from all around the world using remote access
- Controlling a customer’s HMI control panel of your customer to solve any problems
- Monitoring the energy-yielding performance of a solar park using data of solar panels
- Controlling the climate or security of multiple buildings from one central location
- Introducing a pay-per-use model using the machine’s production data
- Optimize the robot’s performance using historical data.
Three important elements for IIoT
As every solution needs a custom approach, there are three common elements required to connect industrial devices to the internet.
1. An Industrial IoT device
Almost any industrial device can act as a smart IIoT instrument. Sensors, IP cameras, robots, entire machines or even buildings can be connected to the cloud. Besides remote controlling, they supply valuable information for other applications.
2. IIoT connectivity
The devices will only become an IIoT resource when they are connected to the cloud. There are different connectivity options, such as WiFi, 4G/LTE or cabled to enable this.
Even an internet connection with limited bandwidth can be enough to provide the necessary connectivity to the cloud.
3. Using an IoT platform and process IoT data
You turn your industrial device into an IoT resource when it uses the connection and transmits data for other purposes, like analysis. The software in the IIoT platform makes the devices more accessible.
An IIoT platform is designed to collect, store, visualise and analyse data. Gain insights into processes, production reports, machine production hours or energy usage. The IIoT platform grants remote access to your machines for controlling, maintenance, collaboration with 3rd party solutions or optimization purposes.
The benefits of an IIoT platform
The Industrial IoT allows you to work easier, more secure and be more productive. Some benefits when using IIoT:
- Remote troubleshooting
- Continuous product improvement through data analysis
- Performance and device health data monitoring
- Predictive maintenance
- Smart notifications and alerts
- Perimeter security and access controls
- Smart factory, Machine learning and AI applications.
Using your industrial systems’ data can reduce the downtime of the machine or production process. Detecting the signs of malfunction in an early stage can prevent their aggravation.
Equipment health check-ups get easier by accessing the systems with remote access. Predicting when problems occur prevents systems from going down. Every single machine can be made transparent with IIoT. Working together with technical and maintenance engineers can be done using user access and permission control.
With IIoT, you no longer have to wait for failures to occur. Data analysis from industrial equipment grants indications for (future) malfunctions and maintenance actions. With smart notifications, you immediately know when action is required.
By enabling cloud capabilities you can monitor and control your machines in a remote manner. Take advantage of comprehensive performance analytics with historical or live data to optimize production.
Smart factory is the ultimate goal of Industrial IoT transformation in the domain of manufacturing. Achieving this will require strategic adoption of several other keystone technology trends: AI and machine learning.
The IIoT is changing business model opportunities
Traditional business models focus on a company’s core business. Information exchange is limited and data is protected. With IIoT, an open ecosystem is embraced and this unlocks new business opportunities and payment models for machine builders.
Use Industrial IoT with a data strategy to expand your consultancy services, increase service levels, create subscriptions models or introduce a pay-per-use model.
The IIoT creates opportunities for collaborating and sharing data
The IIoT generates an enormous amount of data which can be used to your advantage. When big data is stored in a cloud environment, it can be shared easily if you want. Access to the data makes collaborating with third-party solutions more tangible using a REST API or webhooks.
Collaborating and sharing information with companies or external tooling will be necessary. If you do not participate, your competition will strive you ahead. The better and more intensively you collaborate, the more benefits it will produce for your company or customers.
How to change from a traditional machine builder to IIoT?
Traditional machine builders create a single machine or a production series. If you build a series of machines, it could be of great value if you provide statistics of the machine, like the production capacity. This creates opportunities for selling the products and your R&D team for optimizing it. Usually, the missing part for this is data.
Data is the main ingredient to collect machine performance insights. Not only for the testing phase, but also for optimizing the machine when it’s in operation at your customer. Use sensors or create counters in the PLC software to count production numbers, machine rotations, current temperature and so on.
Once the data defined, it should be stored and made accessible to gain insights. Log the data by interval (every minute), change (boolean switched to false) or trigger (when a button is pushed) and store this info in a central place. A safe environment to store big data is the cloud. It delivers several options to access your data: in a visual report or download as CSV file.
How to become an IIoT company?
Here you find three tips to become an IIoT company. If you dare to take that step into IIoT, you can keep ahead of your competition.
- Use data as a key asset and share it
Data is the most important asset. Collecting and measuring data gives useful insights into your machines. Share this with your customers or suppliers to optimize your machinery.
- Identify all industrial devices
Every industrial device, sensor, robot and system can generate information in the cloud and/or can be controlled via the cloud. Identify all of these devices and take the information gathered during the use of a product into consideration as well.
- Embed the cloud and connectivity in your core business
Embed the cloud and connectivity into your main activities and invest in IIoT devices, connectivity and an IIoT platform. Take a step forward and master IIoT in your sector.
IXON delivers an essential toolkit in the Industrial Internet of Things for machine builders & building automation
IXON was founded in 2014 to address an increasing demand from machine builders and system integrators to be able to connect machines and buildings to the cloud. Willem Hofmans – CEO & founder– founded IXON to make cloud connection easier and more accessible for machine builders and users.
To help them work more efficient and open new business opportunities, IXON created a Cloud-based IIoT platform called IXON Cloud. Our mission is to support machine builders in their work by offering the most secure and user-friendly IIoT and remote access solution.
To connect machines to the IXON Cloud, IXON created an IoT gateway device called IXrouter and firmware for third-party devices (IXagent). Both are fully integrated with the IXON Cloud platform, so connecting your machines securely to the IoT platform is very easy and done in just 2 minutes.
Discover the IXON Cloud – Industrial IoT platform
Once connected you get full machine access to control any industrial device like a PLC, robot or HMI. And you can benefit or the data features to become an IoT master in no time.
Collect and store machine data, send alarms and control your HMI or machine web server from remote – it is all there. It helps you to remotely install software updates, easily monitor your machines (for you or your client) and share machine data.
To benefit from these IIoT features you just configure the data source and variables of the industrial devices you want to track. IXON’s IIoT platform and integrated cloud connectors will do the rest: the big data is saved securely in the IXON Cloud for you to create visual dashboards (live or historical) for your desktop or mobile phone or receive notifications in case of emergency.
It saves time installing and cuts R&D costs – easily adoptable and no need to develop and maintain your own IIoT solution. No IoT expertise is needed, all web-based and configurable in IXON’s IIoT platform.
Tool: Calculate your ROI here
Industrial automation & building automation makes a new evolutionary breakthrough with the help of IoT. Have you started yet?
Embrace IoT in a very short time using IXON Cloud! Test it for free with our Evaluation Kit. Request it here and you can experience the ease of IXON Cloud and integrated cloud connector for yourself.