Automation, Industrial Sensors, and the Internet of Things

Automation, Industrial Sensors, and the Internet of Things

The internet of things has greatly affected how remote wireless sensors are used – both in industrial operations and within the home. Smart home IoT devices, like smart lightbulbs and Wi-Fi linked locks, are becoming increasingly popular as smart sensor technology develops. But IoT devices are useful in an industry setting as well and provide a new level of accuracy for manufacturing automation and predictive maintenance.

In an industrial setting, productivity relies heavily on the maintenance of assets. There are three main methods of industrial maintenance – reactive, preventative, and predictive/condition-based maintenance.

Reactive maintenance is the costliest type of maintenance strategy. This type of maintenance is performed after the damage has already occurred and requires unplanned downtime. In these situations, there is usually secondary damage as well, which adds even more expense to an already costly operation.

Preventative maintenance, in which downtime is scheduled before failure occurs, saves the expense of unplanned downtime. While not as expensive as reactive maintenance, the cost of the labor and parts required for preventative maintenance is still significant.

The least expensive and most efficient type of maintenance is predictive, or condition-based, maintenance. This strategy uses smart sensors to detect signs of failure so that maintenance can be performed only when needed.

By using remote wireless sensors, predictive maintenance can also communicate real-time information about the condition of different assets. This not only allows for immediate action, but also makes it easier to notice trends in the communicated data. These trends can lead to input about how the assets are made and prevent similar failures from occurring in the future.

Some businesses are even able to predict a need for replacement parts based on the information gained by remote wireless sensors and use this knowledge to acquire replacement parts before they’re needed. In the case where a machine is the product being made, businesses can focus efforts on making the necessary replacement parts more available to customers.

Another advantage of IoT sensors are their versatility. Different sensors, such as thermal and electromagnetism sensors, can assist in different areas of a business. An industrial company might use vibration sensors for manufacturing automation and then use time and space sensors to monitor the delivery of their product. By using multiple types of industrial sensors, a business can streamline their process and reduce the possibility of failure.

Other types of businesses, such as agriculture or healthcare, benefit from the internet of things. Remote wireless sensors placed in the soil can transmit data about the soil’s nutrient level, pH, and moisture – enabling a farmer to have a deeper understanding of soil conditions with a greater level of ease. Hospitals utilize remote wireless sensors through heart rate monitors and other types of diagnostic and monitoring devices. Improved diagnostic accuracy makes it easier for hospitals to treat patients and react appropriately to changes in a patient’s condition.

Developments in remote wireless sensors have made manufacturing automation possible, which significantly cuts costs and reduces human error. Because of a growing focus on the importance of the internet of things, smaller and more accurate sensors are still being developed and will continue to allow businesses to run more efficiently than ever before.

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