11 May Industrial Warehouse Automation
When manufacturers first introduced conveyors to production lines in the late 1800s, the industry was forever changed. These systems were integral to the global Industrial Revolution that would shape the way goods were mass-produced for centuries to come. At the time, conveyors were an example of the kind of technology many people never expected to witness. Today’s conveyor systems are undergoing an equally impactful modern evolution as technologies like IoT have begun to significantly transform warehouse automation. This trend is impacting virtually every aspect of warehouse automation.
What is IoT?
IoT is short for “internet of things,” and most likely you have at least one of these internet-connected devices in your home, integrated into your workstation, or even embedded in your car’s electronic interface. IoT devices include things like smart speakers, health monitoring devices, and digital thermostats. In the world of warehouse automation, industrial IoT devices include things like sensors that monitor automated warehouse machines and report back data about performance.
Industrial IoT Technology is Improving Warehouse Automation and Conveyor Systems
Manufacturers use IoT along with technology like RFID to feed data into interconnected applications throughout manufacturing processes. Tiny IoT sensors are used to improve workflow across a warehouse or factory floor by gathering data about processes in real-time and reporting back to platforms that can analyze efficiency and make adjustments as needed. Along with technologies like robotics, this approach is part of what many industry leaders are calling “industry 4.0 manufacturing.” At the most basic level, industry 4.0 is all about streamlining manufacturing processes by leveraging the power of data.
IoT and Automatic Process Adjustments
While there is more automation integrated into manufacturing floors than ever before, conveyors remain at the center of the processes that take place there. Strategically placed IoT sensors can monitor whether floor conveyors are well-timed with overhead conveyors and make imperceptible, automatic adjustments that improve outcomes and prevent downtime and accidents on the floor.
IoT and Productivity Improvements
IoT-gathered data is used by AI-enhanced smart machines to increase conveyor productivity in real-time. For example, when part of a conveyor system is taken down for maintenance or repair, pallet conveyor systems can adjust on the fly in real-time, reducing or eliminating back-ups and blockages. As the conveyor comes back online, these systems can automatically adjust back to normal operating conditions. When considered cumulatively, IoT sensors can provide data feedback about overall productivity, as well. Interconnected platforms constantly churn through the many thousands of data points being delivered by sensors, analyzing processes at granular levels as well as from a big picture angle. Manufacturers can generate reports based on the data to help guide decisions about equipment investments, hiring needs, and to create production forecasts, among countless other considerations.
Is It Time To Upgrade Your Conveyor Systems?
Learn more about how NAI is improving the way industrial equipment companies operate. Interconnected, leading-edge technology is transforming manufacturing processes based on real-time data and automation that takes the guesswork out of the equation and keeps the line running efficiently.