Top 3 Ways in Which IoT Wearables are Changing the Face of Manufacturing

IoT-Enabled Industrial Wearables

Machines are running, employees are at work, and products are being produced. However, there is an update that is entirely different from the factory floors of days past- increased connectivity with Internet of Things (IoT). Indeed, the manufacturing industry is making steady headway in adopting innovative technologies, ranging from 3D printing to robotics to smart sensors. One technology in particular that looks promising in terms of shaping the factory floors of the future are, wearables.

IoT-enabled industrial wearable devices are designed to collate real-time data and make information available at our fingertips, aligned to our line of sight, or comfortably perched on our wrists. Wearable technology and IoT have found themselves at the center of the manufacturing industry’s everyday workflow, and the demand for their inclusion is steadily incrementing.

According to Zebra’s 2017 manufacturing vision study, nearly 64% of manufacturing companies are projected to be completely connected by 2022, compared to just 43% today. Additionally, one-half of all manufacturers are expected to adopt IoT wearable technologies by 2022, whereas 55% of current wearable end-users will expand their level of usage in the next five years.

“A connected factory floor has become a necessity for manufacturers,” opines Technavio. As part of their associated market research report, Technavio emphasized that the increasing need for connectivity is driven by intensifying competition, globalization and rising consumer demand for more choices and higher quality products.

Will a blend of IoT and wearables prove to be the ultimate game changer?

Wearable devices are touted as one of the more significant applications of IoT, and the most ubiquitous of its implementations to date. The precision and efficiency of data processing achieved through smart glasses, hearables and smart wristwear is gradually dispelling skepticism among manufacturers, and is helping push the consensus forward to making wearables an exceptional value add for manufacturing plants.

From activity scanners to wrist-mounted bar code scanners, the plant floor is now filled with a range of devices. With benefits ranging from improved quality, to increased output, safety, employee comfort and closer integration with existing ERP systems, manufacturing companies will find more than enough reasons to integrate this pathbreaking technology.

This year is sure to be a tipping point for IoT wearable devices, as they pair together to revolutionize the manufacturing sector and consumer industry with unprecedented growth. Here are three ways in which IoT-enabled wearables will change the game for manufacturing companies-

1) Improving employee productivity 

With technology distinction as a framework, wearable devices are unmatched in their ability to fit seamlessly with the work being performed on the production line, in warehouses, and out in the fields. Additionally, they can provide valuable insights that can make employees more efficient, safe and effective at their jobs.

Today, employees use smart wristbands that are location-aware. These devices not only help the former to automatically punch in for the day, but also provide specific work instructions. Additionally, with wearable technology, employees can connect with other workers for advice to troubleshoot problems, like a particularly challenging repair job.

2) Monitoring workflow efficiently

Wearable technology has recently exploded in popularity, owing to a range of improvements including new mobile technologies, the availability of Bluetooth, smaller batteries with lower power requirements, and low cost sensors. Wrist-based devices have become even more sophisticated and offer the ability to manage real-time workflow communication, relocations and other critical actions.

From a maintenance perspective, manufacturers can see workflow and track potential issues in real-time, even from a remote location. Plus, real-time access to video technology can help improve quality control, and captured video footage can be proactively used in the review and implementation of preventive measures.

3) Anticipating disruptions on the plant floor

Machine issues, malfunctioning parts, and critical breakdowns are some of the common mishaps that can be expected on the key production line. With wearable devices, management can instantly receive alerts when a part of the assembly line breaks or the furnace turns off. As a result, they can take swift corrective measures to fix the equipment, thereby maintaining productivity and reducing downtime.

In summation- Wearable devices also reduce the interaction of employees with a computer or time-clock, thus helping them focus on what is truly important. Truly, the future of manufacturing is intricately entwined with the progressing discipline of IoT- and the swiftness with which existing processes adapt to the IoT way of doing things.