The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) continues to change the manufacturing industry. IIoT impact is particularly felt in devices and machinery equipped with sensors, which essentially gives the machine the ability to monitor, collect, exchange, and analyze data – all without human interaction.
These advancements aren’t technology for technology’s sake. Machines can now automatically pinpoint and communicate failure points to the mutual benefit of manufacturers and customers. Troubleshooting is more efficient, production quality is improved and time to market is significantly reduced.
Since it’s the third largest sector in the manufacturing industry, plastics warrant special consideration from molders’ and their customers’ perspectives when it comes to the IIoT.
In terms of production efficiencies for complex injection molded components, the IIoT complements engineers’ scientific molding expertise — resulting in maximum repeatability in the injection molding process, consistent quality and low PPM defects. To achieve these production outcomes, the IIoT enables molders to:
- Predict and prevent failure by using data algorithms to determine when intervention is required and the necessary corrective actions to take
- Avoid unplanned downtime by remotely monitoring equipment diagnostics and condition so problems are addressed in near real-time
Adding around-the-clock equipment monitoring to the already proven sensor technology of scientific molding makes the IIoT a powerful tool for the manufacturers needing injection molded components too. Specifically, enhanced data gathering, advanced analytics and remote service introduce new opportunities for molders to build value-added relationships with customers:
- Two-way communication: Software-enabled, proactive information sharing empowers customers through accurate reporting on project and production order status — all of which become possible to access anytime, and even from mobile devices
- Increased visibility: Customers’ quality assurance and advanced sourcing teams can gain a comprehensive understanding of a molder’s operation and capabilities without having to physically tour the plant, saving time and money
- New product development: Advanced analytics and related data help set realistic expectations around timelines, plus provide a better understanding of how the injection molding process can be tailored to meet timelines without compromising product quality
Machines, analytics and people are coming together in the plastics manufacturing sector as never before thanks to technology. The IIoT is rapidly expanding the world in which we live, and the realm of possibilities in the injection molding of complex plastic components.