Industrial Internet of Things—The New Frontier

Feb. 10, 2015
Technology enables OEM access to its machines and the benefits that come with it

[sidebar id=1]The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will significantly change the world, predicted Greg Gorbach, vice president, ARC Advisory Group. While his prediction isn't exactly bold or risky, Gorbach and a group of roundtable presenters at ARC Forum 2015 in Orlando, Florida, discussed how IIoT not only will change industry, but often how it's already had an impact.

"What is an Industrial Internet of Things thing?" asked Gorbach. "It's an industrial asset, but it's also a platform for new applications and services. It's part of an econsystem, but it has to be secure."

While reduced machine or asset downtime and more rapid service response are the top two drivers, according to ARC survey results, IIoT also can improve operating performance, satisfy worker needs, and aid in safety, risk and logistics management. "IIoT includes industrial apps, mobile devices, modeling and simulation, software, workflow, analytics, visualization and cloud computing, but it also will lead to significant changes along the supply chain," said Gorbach. Smart logistics, smart components and smart carriers such as RFID lead to smart machines that are connected, software-defined and include sensors. "And workers can experience a new world with augmented reality, collaboration, smart tools and remote access to experts," explained Gorbach.

Products and services will merge into a product-service hybrid. "There already is a shift from buying products and services to buying guaranteed results," said Gorbach, who cited the example of Kaeser Compressors supplying guaranteed air as an alternative to selling a compressor. "There will be new product hardware and software requirements," he explained. "Operations will be more data- and information-intensive with new service delivery metrics and models. This will require new competencies and expertise. If you don't do it, someone else will. It transforms the relationship between the customer and the supplier."

At Stanley Black & Decker's 500,000 sq ft manufacturing facility in Reynosa, Mexico, the company manufactures DeWalt and Porter Cable professional power tools. Janet Chaffin, president of the AeroScout Industrial division of Stanley Black & Decker, explained the transformation that took place in the facility when RFID was used to increase line throughput by 10% (see video below).

"We have to keep improving to remain competitive in the connected world," said Chaffin. "One of our top five pillars at Stanley Black & Decker is digital excellence."

Stanley Black & Decker is an $11 billion company with more than 40,000 employees that was founded in 1843. It acquired AeroScout Industrial's real-time locating systems in 2012 and made it part of the fastening division. "This is the first factory where we decided to implement the smart factory," said Chaffin. "We often didn't know what our production rate was until the end of the shift. We weren't sure if resources were allocated where they were supposed to be. This is a 24x7 operation. We couldn't retool lines quickly to align with the customer demands. We had a few of our lean experts come in and walk the floor with supervisors, and then they started dreaming up a solution."

The production line takes advantage of the Wi-Fi tag that is integrated with the PLC of the quality scale. "We also had a Cisco network," said Chaffin. "We had a  bit of an ecosystem already in place. We took advantage of that and attached the active RFID tags and added it to the end of the line. Via Wi-Fi, we got the good and bad production results when the box was weighed at the final test. We also implemented a push-button system along the line, so an operator could push the button to notify someone in real time when the operator required an immediate response. The effects of the system were so profound that they will pay for implementation in our other factories."

The timeline of the implementation was relatively short, thanks to the existing Cisco network. "The initial site visit lasted two days," explained Chaffin. "Deployment on the router line was completed within a month. We test-drove it for six weeks and then extended at a rate of one line per week after that. Line support came from the line within four months, and we added temperature monitoring in six months."

The results had a big measurable impact. OEE increased 24%. DPMO decreased 16%. Labor utilization went up from 80% to 92%. Soft benefits included empowered employees, improved labor ergonomics, reduced labor training and visibility to line supervisors. "Tying it to a business initiative was important," explained Chaffin.


About the Author

Mike Bacidore | Editor in Chief

Mike Bacidore is chief editor of Control Design and has been an integral part of the Endeavor Business Media editorial team since 2007. Previously, he was editorial director at Hughes Communications and a portfolio manager of the human resources and labor law areas at Wolters Kluwer. Bacidore holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He is an award-winning columnist, earning multiple regional and national awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He may be reached at [email protected] 

Sponsored Recommendations

2024 State of Technology Report: Motors, Drives & Motion

Motion makes manufacturing move. Motors and drives are at the core of industrial operations. Without them, production comes to a halt. This new State of Technology Report from...

Case Study: Conveyor Solution for Unique Application

Find out how the Motion Automation Intelligence Conveyor Engineering team provided a new and reliable conveyance solution that helped a manufacturer turn downtime into uptime....

2024 State of Technology Report: PLCs & PACs

Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) have been a popular method of machine control since the PLC was invented in the late 1960s as a replacement for relay logic. The similarly...

Power Distribution Resource Guide

When it comes to selecting the right power supply, there are many key factors and best practices to consider.