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The Internet of Things (IoT) has made it possible for factories to do more with less, to predict problems and offer solutions that can be implemented before the occurrence of downtime or other issues. These new digital factories are using machine learning, predictive analytics, and the cloud to learn ahead of time when a piece of equipment might fail rather than having it fail and dealing with the consequences.

With industrial IoT solutions enabling intelligent manufacturing, it’s clear the digital manufacturing transformation is underway. A new study by Grand View Research, Inc. estimates that the global smart manufacturing market size is estimated to reach $396.2 billion USD by 2025.i Fueling this market growth are two primary factors: increasing production efficiency and gaining visibility across the entire value chain.

Below I will examine how manufacturing IoT solutions have enabled companies to completely revolutionize their operations. To learn more, register for Microsoft’s IoT in Action webinar: Implement Intelligent Manufacturing with IoT on April 19.


IoT in Action Webinar

The Value of Production Efficiency

According to IDC, IoT solutions and connected devices can help manufacturers monitor, run, and maintain assets to drive performance, throughput, and safety, among other gains.iiOne solution example is predictive technology, which is moving beyond real-time analytics to anticipating and correcting problems before they occur.

As companies look for ways to improve production efficiency, the value of an IoT-enabled sensor that can identify a machine part that’s performing poorly and flag it for replacement during already scheduled downtime is immense. During the webinar, we will examine numerous ways that companies can use the data generated by connected devices to gather insights, take action, and transform their business – from reducing equipment downtime, cutting routine maintenance costs, creating new revenue streams, and managing inventory levels. Hitachi Solutions, for example, is helping companies address the challenge of fully transforming to a digital business. Discover how they have helped wind turbine manufacturers implement IoT solutions to overcome key roadblocks, including remoteness and time to service, in this manufacturing webinar.

Companies can also use robotics, automation, and connected equipment to operate in a smaller footprint, reuse the same technology for diverse products and workflows, and reduce energy – all while driving production. Mobile workforces can then use connected devices and predictive analytics to enable proactive service of equipment, reducing or eliminating machine downtime while strengthening customer relationships.

Gaining Visibility Across the Value Chain

Intelligent manufacturing plays a critical role in businesses being able to continue delivering value in this age of digital transformation. At its foundation is the ability to respond to changes and new demands in real-time, no matter what part of the business model they’re occurring: the factory, supply chain, or customer facility.

The use of industrial IoT and connected devices further this pursuit. Their connectivity and intelligence help businesses become more agile, make more informed decisions, and adjust production to shifting demands and requests. A digital factory also requires a variety of technology – artificial intelligence (AI), IoT, and mixed reality – integrated vertically across business silos, horizontally across manufacturing locations, and within end-to-end engineering feedback loops.

The result is that companies can monitor every aspect of their performance, as well as identify the existence of any bottlenecks in the overall supply chain or manufacturing. For instance, they can determine whether components are arriving at the plant floor as expected or even shut down production based on equipment demand or environmental data.  Also possible is the ability to collect, integrate, and organize sensor data from remote equipment across global supply chains to support real-time insight, predictive analytics, and preventive maintenance.

How Microsoft Enables This Digital Transformation

Microsoft is enabling this digital transformation with a core platform that has built-in capabilities, but is also flexible enough to meet different company needs. They accomplish this by starting with IoT, driving through to a data strategy, and then using tools like AI and machine learning to drive business intelligence.

The core platform can connect in different ways, such as at the plant floor with the manufacturing equipment. Regardless of how you connect, though, the platform is flexible enough to support it. Once you have the data on the platform, Microsoft technologies can drive real outcomes several ways: from complex processing to real-time visibility to deriving insights from bulk or large volume data. These capabilities are enabled by different technology options, including analytics, AI, machine learning and even delivering information through cognitive and bot frameworks.

IoT in Action Webinar: Implement Intelligent Manufacturing with IoT

From using and sharing expertise more efficiently to increasing productivity without needing to increase manpower, the benefits of intelligent manufacturing are vast and still being explored. Register for the IoT in Action Manufacturing webinar on April 19, 2018 (PDT) or April 26, 2018 (CET) to learn how Microsoft enables manufacturers to transform their products and the way they’re produced using industrial IoT solutions. You’ll hear from industry experts at Microsoft and discover key solutions from Microsoft Manufacturing IoT Partner, Hitachi Solutions.

For more on IoT, check out the new IoT in Action webinar series.

i Grand View Research, Inc. (2017), ‘Smart Manufacturing Market Size Worth $395.2 Billion By 2025’, available at: https://www.grandviewresearch.com/press-release/global-smart-manufacturing-market (accessed 22nd March, 2018).

ii Dunbrack, L., Ellis, S., Turner, V., Hand, L., and Knickle, K. (2016), ‘IoT and Digital Transformation: A Tale of Four Industries’.