IIoT, or the Industrial Internet of Things, generally refers to sensors, instruments, and other devices interconnected and networked in an industrial environment. This connectivity enables remote access and monitoring, but more importantly, it enables data collection, data exchange and analysis, as well as analysis of different data sources. This has enormous potential for improving productivity and efficiency. IIoT solutions are characterized by their low cost and rapid implementation.
Typical IoT solutions include:
- Industrial objects: Internet-compatible devices such as PLCs, human-machine interfaces (HMI), IP cameras and sensors.
- Connectivity: Connecting “things” to the Internet via 4G / cellular, Wi-Fi, or Ethernet connections.
- Data: Data and how it is collected, stored and processed using state- of-the-art devices is at the heart of IIoT’s value.
- A Cloud Platform: ‘Key to IloT’ is a centralized and secure cloud platform for remote data hosting and service activation.
- Analytics dashboard: To analyze data and monitor machines.
- Intelligence and Action: The data collected must be analyzed by humans or intelligent functions to send alarms or triggers to any other system.
Get inspired by the following practical examples of using IIoT solutions in different industrial automation situations.
1. Remotely solve the problems of the PLC if a custom machine is down
This happens in all factories: the emergency button is activated accidentally, without anyone realizing it. Because there is no fault, engineers are racking their brains to locate the cause of the problem. In the meantime, the clock is ticking, and precious time is wasted while production is at a standstill. If the HMI does not tell you the problem, a phone call to your machine builder is the next logical step.
With industrial remote access, the machine builder can access the machine from their office, view PLC log files, and reset the machine, if needed. The problem only takes a few minutes to find the problem and saves significant processing time to the factory site.
2. Make sure the label printer does not run out of paper.
In the logistics or packaging industry, it’s deadly if a machine runs out of labels. To avoid this situation, service technicians should be warned well in advance.
The sensor data counter triggers an alarm, allowing technicians to take immediate action to prevent stagnation. A push notification or email alert on their smartphone, or a vibration on their smartwatch, ensures that those responsible receive the message on time.
3. Publish new features on the HMI screen for overseas customers
When a machine is delivered and your customer uses it in their day-to-day operations, they may need additional features to make their job even easier. An extension of their control panel with a new function, such as an on / off switch or a percentage counter for the pump, can easily be corrected by your programmer. But the HMI software needs to be updated and tested to launch this new functionality.
HMI software updates can easily be applied remotely via secure network access. All you have to do is push the new software from your laptop over the Internet, and you make your customer happy again. Using a web-based virtual network connection (VNC), you and your customer can view and test the HMI functionality of the IIoT platform or a mobile device.
4. Predict machine maintenance and immediately analyze which part needs to be replaced
Machines or energy products such as solar panels require occasional maintenance. When necessary, it is sometimes easy to predict, for example when you know the degradation according to a certain number of production hours or rotations. In these scenarios, it makes sense to implement predictive maintenance. Simply use the variables (counters) from your PLC software and save this data to the cloud. Then view the data in a dashboard or receive an email reminder when the meter hits a maintenance limit.
Machine site maintenance visits are most effective if you know the faults before you travel. By analyzing potential problems first through remote access and the device’s web server online diagnostic tool, you are more likely to find the right replacement parts.
5. Analyze and optimize the actions of industrial robots
Industrial robots such as UR + robots make repetitive work easier. IIoT functions allow modification of robot program actions or better overview of log files.
In addition, video analysis can help improve the actions of a given robot. Access to IP camera recordings, or live feeds, facilitates improvements. Quickly and easily set up a VPN connection for full network access to any device connected to the robot.
6. Only empty full trash cans in smart cities
No more unnecessary trips around the city to check for full containers. Only act on bins that send an alarm indicating that they must be emptied.
Leverage the power of your sensors and make data accessible in a cloud environment. Then visualize this data in a monitoring dashboard and send a notification to the garbage collector when the container hits a threshold. All this in the name of efficiency!
7. Manage data from multiple buildings for centralized monitoring in your BMS system
In building automation, IIoT is used to monitor and control energy consumption, heating, lighting, fire protection and other systems for multiple locations from a central location. To get a good overview of the condition of the building’s HVAC system (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), it is necessary to have access to data from remote installations. Edge connectivity allows data to be transferred to a central cloud application, using BACnet or Modbus protocols. For custom applications, you can use the rise of open cloud systems. They typically provide an API to collect data at specific intervals and transfer it to your Building Automation System (BMS) for centralized monitoring.