If machine builders are not incorporating an Industrial Internet of Things solution into their systems, they’re missing out on an opportunity to grow their businesses with additional services for their customers.
My husband works for a company that makes machines used for milk, beer and wine production. His customers are usually small businesses, where sometimes the only worker is the owner himself.
Since he works in electrical and software design, I often ask him why his company is not developing an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solution to embed in its machines to provide additional services to its customers.
“You know, Dear,” he tells me, “the people who we sell our machines to sometimes do not even know how to turn on a computer.”
For an OEM producing series machines or machines very similar to others, developing or buying a solution from a third party to integrate this kind of service is not a big investment compared with the benefits and income it can generate.
But let’s see a more detailed example on how an OEM could benefit from IIoT:
- Performance: Clearly monitoring the machine performance, an OEM can demonstrate to its customers the added value that the machine is providing to production. New business models are growing that sell machines as a service, basing the price on the machine’s performance.
- Maintenance: If the machine is connected online and the data is accessible to the OEM, the OEM can collect data on how the machine is working and, if an anomaly is detected, can warn the customer and take the required corrective actions.
- Big Data analysis: If data are collected from all the machines all over the world, a huge data set can be obtained. With this, it is possible for the OEM to calculate statistics to understand how to improve the machine design process. This data set is usually big enough to enable even a global complex predictive maintenance strategy.
And now let’s see the benefits a final customer can get from these solutions:
- Performance: Clearly monitoring the machine performance, the customer can tune its process to reduce the process lead time, the waste and the downtime. If the end user bought the machine as a service, it will not pay for machine production defects and will know that the OEM has put all its efforts into producing a properly functioning machine; and that any problems will be resolved promptly.
- Maintenance: Correctly elaborating the collected data, it is easy to recognize possible machine failures in advance using predictive maintenance. Also, by allowing the OEM to collect data from the machine, the OEM can analyze the data and suggest any kind of required maintenance.
- Big Data analysis: Sharing the data of its machine, the customer can take advantage of insights coming from the analysis of the data collected globally that the OEM will be able to perform. Statistics and KPIs could allow the user to benchmark itself against competitors, or each machine’s performance vs. the others if he has more than one connected machine, line or plant.
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