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Embracing IIoT in the New Normal

Dec. 30, 2020
As the new normal pushes digital transformation efforts into fast forward, IIoT can serve as the backbone.

As manufacturing and other industrial facilities continue to adapt operations in response to the ever-evolving COVID-19 and public health guidelines, IIoT solutions can prove instrumental to both increase safety and improve efficiency.

Because of its ability to provide data and information to users remotely, IIoT can help managers and operators implement social distancing measures for workers by reducing the number of people working on-site at any given time, thus increasing the safety of everyone’s health.

This can be done without sacrificing efficiency within the facility, John Garbarino, senior platform product manager, Leviton explains. “For example, machinery or electrical connections with IIoT capabilities can notify workers of any operating interruptions remotely. Tests or regular checks of equipment can also be done remotely, so workers only need to be present to attend to equipment if an issue is detected,” he says. “Some IIoT solutions can also provide predictive data analytics by monitoring operating trends overtime. This can notify operators of potential concerns that might result in issues in the long run, thus increasing efficiency by decreasing unplanned downtime for maintenance.”

While machine and lighting control automation have been widely popular in industrial facilities to save energy and to increase efficiency, IIoT-enabled electrical connections provide a significantly larger opportunity for managers to gather crucial data about the power source that is running their equipment. “Having access to real-time remote monitoring information including situations such as abnormal operating conditions, power interruption or liquid accumulation inside an enclosure can help to expedite the troubleshooting process if equipment performance is failing because operators can quickly and safely determine the status of electricity powering the machine,” says Garbarino. “By analyzing trends in this information over time, predictive analytics can help reduce unplanned downtime.”

According to Garbarino, the biggest challenge facilities will face is attempting to implement too much, too fast. “Successful coordinating and deploying IIoT can be very overwhelming because of the many different variables,” he says. “This is where devices like Leviton’s LEV Series mechanical interlocks with Inform technology are extremely valuable, as they allow for simple system integrations that demonstrates immediate ROI – and it is easily scalable for facilities.”

In addition to increasing the safety of workers’ health amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, IIoT-enabled electrical solutions also provide additional workplace safety measures, explains Garbarino. “The ability to remotely diagnose potential issues with the power source or with equipment increases safety because workers do not need to interact with potentially dangerous equipment or electrical connections to begin troubleshooting issues,” he says. “And when workers do need to be on-site, something as simple as LED indicators can provide workers with critical information to help them protect themselves while on the job. Not only does this improve facility safety immediately, but it also minimizes unplanned downtime. By delivering crucial information on the status and health of power and equipment both locally and remotely, IIoT-enabled solutions increase worker safety on and off the job site.”