The manufacturing industry is constantly evolving, and the adoption of new technologies is essential for staying competitive. One technology that has revolutionized the industry is the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is a network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances, and other items that are embedded with sensors, software, and network connectivity. These devices can collect and exchange data with each other, allowing them to work together to perform specific tasks. IoT devices can be controlled and monitored remotely, making them ideal for automation.
According to McKinsey, by 2030, IoT technology will have a global value of up to $12.6 trillion. The report also states that most IoT value can be created in B2B applications and factory settings, including manufacturing plants, farm yield management, and predictive maintenance.
Industrial IoT (IIoT) sensors provide manufacturers with real-time data and insights, leading to increased efficiency, predictive maintenance, improved product quality, and reduced downtime. They can also improve supply chain transparency and traceability and enhance worker safety. One of the greatest benefits of IIoT is that it enables manufacturers to be proactive rather than reactive: staying ahead of potential issues before they arrive instead of spending time fixing preventable issues.
In this blog, we will introduce five types of IoT sensors used in manufacturing, how they work, and their benefits. The sensors we are highlighting are called nonoptical sensor semiconductors and are some of the most popular IoT sensors used by manufacturers. In fact, Gartner found that nonoptical sensor semiconductor revenue increased by 7.7% in 2022. The overall revenue growth was driven by increased bill of material content in industrial application and shipment increased in automotive application.
Temperature sensors are used to measure the temperature of equipment, products, and environments. They are commonly used in manufacturing to ensure equipment is functioning correctly and to maintain product quality. For example, temperature sensors can be used to prevent boiler overheating or to monitor the conditions that products are being transported under.
- Energy efficiency: Temperature sensors can monitor building and equipment temperatures, allowing companies to optimize heating and cooling systems and reduce energy consumption.
- Equipment monitoring: Temperature sensors can detect changes in equipment temperature, indicating potential equipment failures before they occur, and allowing maintenance to be performed proactively.
- Quality control: Temperature sensors can monitor food storage and processing temperatures to prevent spoilage and contamination.
Pressure sensors are used to measure force per unit area. They are used in a variety of applications, including monitoring hydraulic and pneumatic systems, as well as measuring liquid and gas flow rates. For example, pressure sensors are used in automotive manufacturing to monitor fuel and oil pressure in engines.
- Safety: Pressure sensors can monitor pressure levels in industrial processes to ensure that they are within safe levels, preventing equipment damage and ensuring worker safety.
- Quality control: Pressure sensors can monitor the pressure of gases and fluids during production processes, ensuring that they meet quality standards.
- Equipment monitoring: By tracking changes in pressure levels, manufacturers can detect early signs of wear or damage and schedule maintenance or repairs accordingly. This can help prevent unexpected downtime and improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).
Accelerometers measure acceleration, or changes in velocity over time. They are commonly used in manufacturing to monitor equipment vibrations, which can be an indication of wear or damage. For example, in aerospace manufacturing, accelerometers are used to monitor the vibrations of airplane engines during takeoff and flight.
- Equipment monitoring: Accelerometers can detect potential equipment failures before they happen, allowing maintenance to be performed proactively, reducing downtime and maintenance costs.
- Quality control: Accelerometers can be used to measure the acceleration of products as they move along a production line. By analyzing this data, manufacturers can ensure that their products meet the necessary quality standards and identify any potential defects or issues before they become a problem.
- Safety: In some manufacturing settings, workers may be exposed to high levels of vibration or other hazards. Accelerometers can be used to monitor worker exposure to these hazards and ensure that they are working in a safe environment. This can help reduce the risk of workplace injuries and keep employees healthy and productive.
Motion sensors provide real-time data on motion and movement, allowing manufacturers to monitor the activity of their equipment and workers. They can detect changes in position, orientation, and velocity, providing valuable insights into the performance and behavior of machines and processes. For example, in automotive manufacturing, motion sensors are used to detect the presence of objects on the assembly line and to ensure that safety gates are closed before equipment starts operating.
- Security: Motion sensors can detect unauthorized activity in restricted areas, alerting security personnel to potential threats.
- Productivity: Motion sensors can monitor worker activity, providing data on their movements, and helping to optimize workflow and improve productivity.
- Safety: Motion sensors can detect potential safety hazards, such as workers entering restricted areas.
Humidity sensors are used to measure the amount of water vapor in the air or other gases. They are commonly used in manufacturing to ensure consistent product quality and to monitor the storage and processing conditions of products. For example, in pharmaceutical manufacturing, humidity sensors are used to monitor the humidity levels in cleanrooms to ensure the quality of the products being manufactured.
- Energy efficiency: Humidity sensors can monitor humidity levels in buildings and equipment, allowing manufacturers to optimize their heating and cooling systems and reduce energy consumption.
- Quality control: Humidity sensors can monitor humidity levels during production processes, ensuring that products meet quality standards.
- Equipment monitoring: Humidity sensors can detect changes in humidity levels, indicating potential equipment failures before they occur, and allowing maintenance to be performed proactively.
Accelerate your path to Industry 4.0 with Microsoft
Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers an integrated platform for IoT sensors and analytics, making it an ideal solution for manufacturers looking to take advantage of IoT technology. IoT tools within the Microsoft ecosystem include:
- Azure IoT Central: A platform for connecting and managing IoT devices and sensors, enabling real-time data collection and analysis.
- Azure IoT Hub: A managed service for bidirectional communication between IoT devices and Azure.
- Microsoft Defender for IoT: An end-to-end adaptive threat detection and prevention security solution for IoT workloads.
- Power BI: A business intelligence platform that allows manufacturers to create customized dashboards and reports to monitor and analyze data in real-time.
Microsoft was named a Leader in the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Global Industrial IoT Platforms
Ready to digitally transform your production? Keep these principles in mind throughout:
- IT/OT integration: The integration between industrial, operational technologies (OT) and information technology (IT) is a crucial step in enabling Industry 4.0 solutions, so it definitely helps to have a partner that has expertise in both areas.
- The right first step: It is critical to choose an initial use case or project with a suitable level of complexity and that will be adopted, yield positive results and justify the effort associated with laying the foundation.
- Foster adoption: Tools and solutions are important, but adoption is even more essential. This makes change management and addressing the human aspects crucial to guaranteeing the success and return on investment of your initiatives.
- Scalability from the start: You need a solid, scalable foundation to enable and fuel the multiplication of data driven solutions within your business. It starts with making information available; connecting and integrating your applications and systems.
Understanding IoT is crucial for businesses looking to stay competitive and optimize their operations. Alithya is the partner to meet your needs:
- Our experts have been delivering AI and IoT solutions since 2013.
- We deliver at all levels of the solution stack: industrial automation (PLCs, SCADA, etc.), IT (architecture, development, integration, etc.), data science, IoT, and more.
- Our team combines knowledge of data science with experience in the manufacturing / industrial sector.
- We master change management, training and other critical human considerations. Contact us today!