Is My Robot Part of the Industrial IOT?
Robots, automation and the Internet of Things seem to be everywhere we turn. Many industries are using automation to increase efficiency and lower costs. But some are installing robots and drones just to attract attention (and customers).

Robot nightlife: Nightclubs and bars are trying to cash in on the robot craze. Last week, Jengo the robot bartender started his first shift at the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. In December, a nightclub in Prague installed a robot DJ.

Overkill: These robots can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and are pure publicity stunts—as opposed to job-killers. Jengo requires eight humans to work with it to keep the orders flowing.

But in many places there is no gimmick but lots of innovative application. In industrial automation, there are areas of vast creative innovation and some very practical that will be rapidly adopted on a more widespread basis because of their direct logic and efficiency.

In a creative example: Adidas has made no secret of its willingness to experiment with factory automation. In late 2015 it launched its first “Speedfactory,” based in Germany, with a stated goal of using 3D printing, robotic arms, computerized knitting, and human workers to bring mass customization to its products. And late in January, Adidas’s 3-D printed Futurecraft shoes, which were created in partnership with 3-D printing company Carbon, became available for purchase.
Adidas’ Speedfactories will produce only about a half million pairs of shoes a year, a small slice of their annual output of 300 million. However, some economists insist it is symbolic of a larger trend of moving away from offshoring production “…finally escaping from the manufacturing trap that we’ve been in for the last 20 years.” According to Michael Mandel, chief economic strategist at the Progressive Policy Institute.
What is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

Think of the IIoT as a part of the Internet of Things, which is the sum of connected devices, sensors and computers all working to collect and analyze data. The application of this IoT in industrial environments like power plants and factories will allow organizations to process much larger data sets much faster, which can be used to reduce waste and inefficiencies. Gathering process data on pressures, temperatures, flow rates, RPM, vibration and other technical data will allow smart IIoT software to make plants more efficient, safer, and more reliable.

IoT applications don’t have to be expensive or entirely revolutionize operations.  On the side of direct efficiency, look at a couple of examples of the IIoT and how this is transforming industry.

Predicative maintenance

The field service industry is huge, encompassing 20 million field technicians in vans spread across the world, maintaining everything from hospital equipment to office elevators and heavy manufacturing machines. Maintaining them can be a daunting and costly task so creating efficiencies and using predicative maintenance is welcomed. IoT technology — sensors and real-time monitoring — can help organizations know exactly where and when equipment needs to be adjusted or replaced.

Warehousing

IoT can also be used for simpler things such as building control and monitoring systems to reduce energy consumption in everything from light fixtures to HVAC units.

In one fundamental area, warehousing, it is easy to see the immediate effects.  One case here in Dubai is a ‘Cold Stores’ warehouse which has installed connected thermometers throughout the facility, with tracking, notifications of variance, etc. to ensure consistency and quality of the service they provide for temperature-sensitive goods, food, etc.  This allows them to provide a ‘quality of service’ guarantee to potential and existing clients.  That’s smart business.

On a broader scale, warehousing has gone from the pen and clipboard, to the barcode, to RFID tags, to the IIOT.  Today’s warehouse is far more than just a facility in which to store inventory. Leveraging the latest supply chain technology and the Internet of Things, a “smart warehouse” can now serve as a hub to boost efficiency and speed throughout the entire supply chain. From wearables on workers to sensors and smart equipment, internet-enabled devices and technology can profoundly change logistics management.

The Zebra Technologies Warehouse Vision Study finds that seven in 10 decision makers plan to accelerate their use of technology to create a smart warehouse system by 2020. According to the report, “consumer expectations will drive increased investment in IT and operational functions in warehouses over the next four years as manufacturing and logistics continue to adjust to delivering directly to consumers.”

Logistics

Aramex net profits grew by 13% in 2017.  Bashar Obeid, CEO of Aramex, said the company’s “robust performance” was underpinned by the region’s growth in e-commerce.

“We have witnessed an exceptional growth of Express volumes in Q4, which highlighted a need to boost investments in last-mile capacity solutions across all our key markets.” Said Obeid. “We will be focusing on key strategic initiatives in 2018 aiming at transforming our business into a technology-driven enterprise and enhancing our operational efficiencies through various cost restructuring programmes.

There are many advantages to creating a smart warehouse with the latest supply chain technology. Devices, sensors and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags can enable warehouse managers to know the exact location and progress of any product at any time. “Hands-free” wearables can allow workers to move about and access information and instructions from anywhere in the warehouse without being constrained by workstations. Additionally, investing in IoT can reduce the use of manual labor, increasing speed and shipping accuracy, and offer retailers an opportunity to obtain unparalleled visibility into inventory and supply chains.

If increasing efficiency, lowering costs and aligning with evolving market demands sounds like a pretty good plan, call( 04 363 3301) us at Vector!

We can help you devise and implement a plan that’s right for you, for your IIoT future.
Contact UsContact Us