How is Industrial IoT Making Manufacturing Safe?
- COVID-19 is redefining how industries see healthcare and safety measures in 2020 and beyond.
- Industrial IoT will play a major role in implementing safety measures and ensuring business continuity.
- IoT based sensors, wearables, AR/VR, robots, and automation will be used for social distancing, remote accessibility, reducing onsite accidents, and improving other safety issues.
As the novel coronavirus continues to persist, government, healthcare authorities, and industry leaders are focused on developing innovative solutions. IoT is playing a huge role in these innovative solutions for a wide variety of industries, especially manufacturing.
Manufacturing has been one of the most impacted areas after COVID -19 and IoT has the greatest potential for it. In fact, it has its own term, Industrial IoT or IIoT, a major element of industry 4.0. Its implementation had already optimized operational efficiency increasing worker’s safety and reducing workplace injury but with COVID-19, health safety measures have taken on new dimensions.
In addition to wearing masks, PPE suits, and maintaining at least 6 feet distance, the need of the hour for the manufacturing industry is data-gathering sensors, real-time analytics, automation, and working robots. By connecting working staff with these digital technologies, factories will not only make the working environment safer but improve bottom-line revenue.
Sensors for Social Distancing
Using IoT sensors in manufacturing plants can limit employees’ movement inside the plant and hence reduce the chance of the spread of the virus. These sensors can quickly detect and alert if a new person enters an already occupied space.
Using these sensors, plant managers can allow a zoning facility as well to keep working staff in the areas where they are authorized to be. It applies to equipment and tools as well, as the virus can stay on these surface for longer. IoT sensors can also create reports that show managers where and when employees are violating the rules.
Remote Access to Machines
As industries are forced to reduce the number of workers working within facilities, remote access to machines is important. Managers can see real-time equipment functions and remotely with the help of IoT sensors. The sensors can even record the equipment’s reading, reducing the need for employees to be present on-site.
These sensors can even alert if any equipment operates out of range. Managers can then schedule maintenance time, avoid crowding of people working at the same place, and prevent unplanned downtime.
High Tech Wearables
Smart wearables are one of the most innovative ways to improve safety in the industrial workspace. With IoT sensors embedded in the wearables, managers can gain information and determine if any particular work has been designed correctly. It can also measure motions of the body, physiological data, collect information about the temperature of the body as well as the surrounding, noise level, and hazardous atmosphere.
IIOT wearables complement protective equipment like goggles, high visibility vests, personal protective equipment (PPE), etc. Connected safety glasses with augmented reality components help employees to know best working practices giving a visual reference to complicated procedures.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
The use of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) is helping the manufacturing industry to keep engineering and design work remote. It allows engineers to design within the automotive industry virtually as well as collaborate and work together without being in the same room.
AR/VR plays an important role in training employees and transferring knowledge. The AR instructions can be easily published and viewed on a variety of devices across the enterprise. Better trained workers cause fewer accidents meaning improved the safety of the factory.
IoT Based Access Control
IoT based access control allows companies to limit working on-site by monitoring the equipment remotely. All that they need is to connect their critical assets to cloud-based software. Employees can then access the tools and equipment remotely while following security standards, protecting the company, and customers.
IoT based access is also used to grant contactless entry to a facility. It can detect employees with elevated temperatures, offer automated COVID-19 self-attestation questionnaires, asking employees to verify if they have recently come in contact with an infected person. This functionality helps to keep employees’ health concerns at great priority.
Industrial Robots and Automation
Automated vehicles and drones have huge potential for manufacturing plants especially in such challenging times of COVID-19. Automated vehicles help to streamline inventory management, automate functions in warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and quality assurance tests. It can also automate the task of picking up goods from the warehouse shelves.
To automate routines and mechanical tasks, robotics, and AI are used, freeing up employees for higher-value tasks. Today there are, on average, 84 robots for every 10,000 workers, according to the International Federation of Robotics.1 Using automated robots on the factory floor reduces the number of workers to be physically present and keeping the production work speeded. Robots, moreover, are well aware of the space they are working in and hence can avoid any type of machine-human collision.
How iLink can help you emerge stronger?
Though industrial IoT can be leveraged for a lot of purposes, the safety of the workers will remain a priority for all companies. Implementing IoT solution isn’t just one big project though, it involves strategic planning along the journey.
At iLink, our experts help organizations to customize solutions as per the need. Our industry-based insights and deep technology expertise help organizations to implement new IoT products and emerge strong and successful in any challenging time.