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Industrial Internet of Things: Connecting it All Leads to Greater Efficiencies

Category: Manufacturing Technology Jul 6, 2020


Digital tools can make production both swift and seamless. Connecting all your digital tools can make everything more efficient—ultimately improving operations and enhancing bottom lines.

“Where analog products yield linear improvements, digital technologies create exponential growth and transform how manufacturers operate. As a result, we are on the cusp of a productivity breakthrough not seen in more than a generation,” says Peter R. Eelman, Vice President & CXO at AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology.

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

What is it? IIoT is the connections between all the machines, sensors, instruments, and devices in a modern industrial workspace.

Why is it important? Connections allow for improved data exchange and analysis, ultimately leading to enhanced productivity.

Bringing digital technologies together
One of the most promising—and comprehensive— technologies available in the modern manufacturing environment is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). IIoT is the connections between all the machines, sensors, instruments, and devices in a modern workspace. These myriad connections allow for improved data exchange and analysis, ultimately leading to enhanced productivity. Connecting everything makes it all more efficient.

For example, MetalQuest Unlimited, a 70-person manufacturing company in Hebron, Nebraska, has proven that a small-town company can compete on a global scale. Connected machines are the key.

By monitoring, analyzing, and acting on data, MetalQuest easily achieves 90-plus percent efficiency on its horizontal mills, with some mills approaching 100 percent.

“We were IIoT before IIoT existed,” says Vice President Scott Volk. MetalQuest started monitoring its CNC in 2002 by connecting its vertical machining centers (VMCs) to a network that enabled Volk to monitor their efficiency.

“Because we monitor, analyze, and act on data, it’s very easy for us to get 90-plus percent efficiency on a horizontal mill. Some of them run very close to 100 percent efficiency,” says Volk. To put this achievement in context, 85 percent efficiency is considered world-class, and 60 percent is typical.

To connect its equipment, one of the technologies that MetalQuest uses is MTConnect®, a free, open-source, cross-platform communication protocol that enables the company to connect any device within its enterprise systems.

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