How To Reduce Production Downtime Using IoT Sensors

In recent years, IoT sensors have become the go-to standard when it comes to increasing production up-time and efficiency in the manufacturing industry. Reducing downtime in any facility is key to such efficiency. Some causes of downtime include lack of planning, poor operation (by human error or machine error), time spent on maintenance, and lack of predictive maintenance. There are a number of sensors available for the manufacturing industry that can provide the necessary data to avoid downtime. NCD manufactures over 100 sensors to help increase efficiency and reduce downtime for many industries: Automotive, chemical, steel manufacturing, packaging, waste water management, agriculture, warehouses, oil, and gas, etc. IoT Sensors can be utilized in almost any industry to fill a need to monitor assets and resources. Click below to view NCD’s Enterprise line of IoT Sensors. 

What is an IoT Sensor?

There is no set of fixed rules that a device has to follow in order to qualify to become an IoT sensor. The goal of installing or using an IoT sensor is to convert a physical parameter into a digital parameter. From this point, the user will send data to a cloud service, which will translate raw data into usable information. In general, there are a few things users look for when it comes to IoT sensors;

  1. Wireless Communication
  2. Battery and External Power
  3. Communication with a Gateway
  4. Cloud Compatibility
  5. Sensor ecosystem
Iot Sensor to Cloud Diagram

Types of IoT Sensors

NCD manufactures over 90 types of sensors. These sensors can be used to test various parameters, such as;

  1. Temperature/Humidity 
  2. Vibration
  3. RTD
  4. Accelerometer
  5. Current
  6. Light
  7. pH, ORP, DO, EC

A complete list of the sensors can be found here:

SensorSensor Type Product SKU Alpha StationAWS GatewayAzure GatewayLosant GatewayMQTT GatewayNode RedLabViewPythonMin Sample Interval
Temperature Humidity Sensor1PR49-24AYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes3Sec
Push Notification 2-Channel2PR52-3DYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesStatus change And 3 Sec
ADC Converter 2-Channel3PR52-1YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes3Sec
Thermocouple 1-Channel4PR52-2YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes3Sec
Gyro Magneto Acellero5PR49-24DYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes5Sec
Wireless Pressure Sensor6PR49-24HYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes3Sec
Acceleration and Impact Detection7PR49-24KYesYesYesYesYesYesYesStatus change and 3Sec
Wireless Vibration Sensor8PR49-24EYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes5Sec
Wireless Proximity Sensor9PR49-24BYesYesYesYesYesYesYes3Sec
Wireless Ambient Light Sensor10PR49-24CYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes3Sec
In Development – Wireless Color Sensor11
Wireless 3 Channel Thermocouple Sensor12PR55-19BYesYesYesYesYesUntestedYes5Sec
Wireless 1 Channel AC Current Sensor13PR52-7YesYesYesYesYesYesYes6Sec
Wireless 1 Channel 4-20mA Receiver14PR52-9YesYesYesYesYesUntestedYes3Sec
Wireless 1 Channel 0-10V Receiver15PR52-10YesYesYesYesYesUntestedYes3Sec
Wireless 1 Channel Soil Moisture Sensor16PR55-2BYesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntested3Sec
Wireless 1 Channel AC Voltage Sensor17PR52-13YesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedYes6Sec
Wireless 1 Channel Frequency/Pulse Sensor18PR52-14YesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedYes3Sec
Wireless 2 Channel Current Sensor19PR55-4BYesYesYesYesYesUntestedYes6Sec
Wireless High Precision Pressure Sensor20PR55-24YesYesYesYesYesUntestedYes3Sec
Wireless Differential Bi directional Pressure Sensor21PR49-24MYesYesYesYesYesUntestedYes3Sec
Wireless 0-24V AC/DC Optically Isolated Inputs22PR52-12YesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedYesStatus change and 3Sec
Wireless 2 Channel Thermocouple Sensor23PR55-19AYesYesYesYesYesUntestedYes3Sec
Wireless Activity detection sensor24PR49-24JYesYesYesYesYesYesYesStatus change and 3Sec
Wireless Asset Monitor sensor25PR49-24IYesYesYesYesYesYesYesStatus change
Wireless Pressure Sensor26PR52-33PYesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntested3Sec
Wireless Environmental Sensor27PR49-24L
PR55-45L
YesYesYesYesYesYesYes24Sec
Wireless 3 Channel Current Sensor28PR55-26CYesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntested6Sec
Wireless Linear Displacement Sensor29PR55-2EYesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntested3Sec
Wireless Structural Monitoring Sensor30PR55-2FYesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntested3Sec
Air Quality TVOC eCO2 Temperature and Humidity Sensor31PR49-24GYes24Sec
Particulate Matter Sensor32PR52-33MYes60Sec
Wireless AC Current Detect Sensor33PR52-45YesStatus change and 3Sec
Wireless Tank Level34Yes3Sec
Wireless 1 Channel Counter35PR52-3BYesYesYesYesYesYesYesCounter Thershold and 3Sec
Wireless 2 Channel Counter36PR52-3CYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesCounter Thershold and 3Sec
Wireless 7 Push Notification37PR52-18YesYesYesYesYesYesYesStatus change and 3Sec
In Development38
Wireless 3 Wire RTD Temperature Sensor39PR52-27YesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntested3Sec
Wireless Enterprise Vibration Sensor**40PR52-33NYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes10Sec
RPM Proximity Sensor41YesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedYesYes3Sec
Wireless 0-24VDC Voltage Monitor42PR52-10AYes6Sec
Wireless Dual Temperature Humidity Current Detection Sensor43PR55-41AYesStatus change and 3Sec
Wireless CO2 Gas Sensor44PR52-33QYes60Sec
4-20mA 16-Bit Input Transmitter45PR55-5AYes6Sec
Motion Detection Sensor46PR52-48YesStatus change and 3Sec
Wireless Tilt Sensor47PR52-33_TS3Sec
4-20mA 16-Bit Input Transmitter48PT55-48Yes – Untested6Sec
Wireless 6 Channel Thermocouple Sensor49PR55-47_6TC6Sec
Predictive Maintenance Sensor50PR55-20AYesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntested10Sec
6 Channel Current Sensor51PR55-59_6CTYes – Untested10Sec
Wireless 2 Channel 4-20mA Receiver 52PR55-47_2CRYes – Untested6Sec
Wireless Air Quality CO2 and PM Sensor53PR55-59_THPCYes – Untested60Sec
Wireless 2 Channel RTD54PR55-47_2RTDYes – Untested6Sec
Wireless 3 Channel RTD55PR55-47_3RTD10Sec
Wireless 2 Channel 0-10VDC Receiver 56PR55-47_2DCYes – Untested6Sec
Wireless Air Flow/Velocity Sensor60PR55-24V3Sec
Wireless pH Temperature Sensor61PR55-47pHYes60Sec
Wireless ORP Temperature Sensor62PR55-47ORPYes – Untested60Sec
Wireless pH and ORPTemperature Sensor63PR55-47pHORPYes60Sec
Wireless EC Sensor64PR55-47ECYes60Sec
Wireless DO Sensor65PR55-47DOYes – Needs Parser Review60Sec
Wireless EC and DO Sensor66PR55-47EC_DOYes – Needs Parser Review60Sec
Wireless PAR Sensor67PR55-57PARYes60Sec
Wireless 2 Channel Soil Moisture Sensor68PR55-2C60Sec
Wireless 1 Channel Soil Temp Moisture and EC Sensor69PR55-57_SLA60Sec
Wireless 2 Channel Soil Temp Moisture and EC Sensor70PR55-65_SLB60Sec
Wireless 3 Channel Soil Temp Moisture and EC Sensor71PR55-65_SLC60Sec
Wireless SDI Soil Moisture Temperature Moisture Probe72PR55-66A60Sec
Wireless Siemens Air Velocity Probe75PR55-5C20Sec
Wireless CO Sensor 76Yes – Untested90Sec
Wireless 3 Channel SDI Soil Moisture Temperature Moisture Probe77PR55-66C60Sec
Wireless Oil Particulate Count Sensor 78PR55-81P60Sec
Wireless Oil Quality Analysis Sensor 79PR55-57E60Sec
Wireless Enterprise Vibration Sensor V380PR55-61E5Min
Wireless Enterprise Dual Vibration Sensor V381Yes – Untested5Min
Predictive Maintenance V3 Sensor82Yes – Untested5Min
Standalone Smart Vibration Sensor V384Yes – Untested5Min
Wireless One Channel Auto Lubricator 85PR55-81OL5Min
Wireless 1 Channel Current Sensor With Frequency 87PR55-59BFYesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntested10Sec
Wireless One Channel Ultrasound Sensor88PR55-81USYesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntested10Sec
Wireless Two Channel Ultrasound Sensor89PR55-81UYesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntested10Sec
Wireless 1 Channel 0-100Amp DC Current Sensor90PR55-5DCYesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntested10Sec
Wireless Air Velocity Sensor HVAC 91PR55-81AV20Sec
Wireless 3 Channel Current Sensor With Frequency 92PR55-59CFYesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntested10Sec
Wireless Oil Quality Analysis Sensor Lite93PR55-57OL60Sec
Wireless 1 Channel 0-24V DC Receiver 95PR55-5F_24V6Sec
Wireless 1 Channel 0-48V Receiver 96PR55-5F_48V6Sec
Wireless 1 Auto Luber Wither Ultrasound Vibration Sensor105PR55-85_1AL6Sec
Wireless 2 Channel Auto Luber Wither Ultrasound Vibration Sensor106PR55-85_2AL6Sec
Wireless 4 Channel 4-20mA Transmitter 107PR55-89D6Sec
Wireless Machine Uptime Monitor Sensor 108PR55-87UT6Sec
C_50-27502
C_Current_1C505Yes – Untested
C_Current_3C506Yes – Untested
C_Current_12C515Yes – Untested
Custom Wireless Air Flow/Velocity Sensor517PR55-24V_MAYA
Custom Wireless Vibration Sensor With Wire Draw Sensor519PR55-59_GEOYes – Untested5Min
Custom 6 Channel Current Temp Humid Sensor520PR55-59_6C
Yes – Untested10Sec
Custom 3 Channel Light Sensor521PR55-59_LS
Yes – Untested10Sec
SDI Multi Soil Probe524PR55-81_SDI
Yes – Untested10Sec
Custom Noise Sensor531PR55-59_LS
Yes – Untested10Sec
Custom Wireless Vibration Sensor 537PR55-67A_CSYes – Untested5Min

IoT Sensors By Industry

IoT sensors can be used by a plethora of industries interested in data collection of any kind. NCD produces sensors for a variety of industries.  There are many common parameters and data points that are universally sought by countless industries. The lists below show the versatility of NCD’s IoT Sensors, and how many applications they can serve. Some of NCD’s multifaceted IoT sensors include Temperature/Humidity Sensors, Current Sensors, Temperature Sensors, and Analog Sensors. Below are lists of various industries that can utilize IoT Sensors on a daily basis.

Manufacturing Sector

  • Temperature Sensor
  • Current Sensor 
  • 4-20mA Sensors
  • Vibration and Temperature Sensors
  • Accelerometers
  • Digital Inputs
  • Analog Inputs
Machine Downtime

Healthcare Sector

  • Temperature Sensors
  • Air Quality Sensors
  • Co2 Sensors
  • Open/Close Door Sensors
IoT Temperature and Humidity Monitoring

Power and Utilities Sector

  • Temperature Sensors
  • Current Sensors
  • Voltage Sensors
  • Vibration Sensors
  • Tilt & Inclination Sensors
Power & Utility

Oil & Gas Sector

  • Temperature Sensors
  • Vibration Sensors
  • Leak Detection Sensors
  • High-Temperature Sensors
  • Pressure Sensors
  • Tank Level Sensors
Oil & Gas, Machine Downtime

HVAC Sector

  • Temperature/Humidity Sensors
  • Air Flow Sensors
  • Air Quality Sensors
  • RTD Sensors
  • Pressure Sensors
HVAC, Predictive Maintenance

Agriculture Sector

  • Soil Temperature Moisture EC Sensors
  • pH ORP Sensors
  • DO and EC Sensors
  • CO2 Sensors
  • PAR Sensors
  • Temperature/Humidity Sensors
Iot Remote Temperature Sensor, Greenhouse

Identifying Production Downtime

Production downtime is one of the key deficiencies when it comes to production resources.  It is important to reduce downtime for purposes of cost, increasing productivity, and mitigating lead times. There are many factors that can cause production downtime and productivity loss. For each industry, there are a number of common problems that could cause production downtime. In a production facility, there are multiple pieces of equipment that could fail and cause loss. Major culprits when it comes to productivity loss across all industries include:

  1. Machine and equipment failure or malfunction
  2. Process issues
  3. Production schedule mismanagement
  4. Supply chain delays
  5. Labor loss
 

These issues can be identified and rectified using IoT Sensors. 

Most manufacturing plants have a production assembly line. In such a set-up, if one machine breaks or starts to malfunction it could impact the entire production line. This can cause a significant loss in productivity as well as a loss of revenue. 

A production line, for example, could be that of a beverage manufacturer. This manufacturer will have hundreds of machines and various equipment set up throughout a plant or facility. This type of facility and production line will contain motors, conveyor belts, packaging machines, pumps, fans, etc. If any one of these assets malfunctions or fails (or fails to work properly) it will impact the entire production line. In order to prevent these types of malfunctions, the problem will need to be identified prior to loos. Using IoT Sensors such as Vibration Sensors, Counters, Current Sensors, Temperature Sensors, and Pressure Sensors, the parameters and data points can be monitored, and the software is “trained” to identify potential issues before things go awry. Whichever software is chosen to be used with NCD hardware, will collect data over time. This will allow the software to have more information, thus identifying potential loss or malfunction before it strikes. In turn, this will reduce and/or prevent machine downtime, and increase production output significantly.

Machine Downtime, Production Downtime

Another major concern at production facilities has to do with scheduling within said facility. In order to schedule production effectively, it’s very important to know which machines are used and for how long they are used. IoT sensors can be utilized to log any and all data that is of concern; such as, how many hours a machine was running in full capacity, idle, or off. How long was a machine operating at heavy vibration levels? How long has your machine been running at too high of a temperature? All of this data can be gathered by NCD IoT sensors and sent directly to you at a moment’s notice.

How To Build IoT System

Building an IoT system may appear to be very straight-forward but statistics show, over 60% of IoT projects fail. A few main reasons behind such failure are:

  1. Hardware  
  2. Cloud Software
  3. Physical Integration 

For better or worse, it’s very difficult for a single company to provide its own top-notch IoT solution. All companies that work with IoT have their strengths and weaknesses, and in order to build an ideal IoT system, it’s ideal for working with three different entities to generate the best results possible when gathering data. 

Hardware Manufacturer — Once the requirements are partially or fully identified, the user will need to seek out a hardware manufacturer that supplies the tools which may be used for the application. While searching for the correct hardware, users generally  want to consider the following:

  • Security 
  • Wireless Range
  • Scalability
  • Hardware Ecosystem
  • Any hidden fees associated with hardware
  • Power Option
  • Ease of use
  • Ease of Installation
  • Cost

*NCD manufactures IoT hardware that checks all of the above criteria.

 Cloud Provider — The user has a few options to consider when choosing a cloud provider:

  • Any existing cloud solution — Many companies may already have or use a cloud service like AWS, Azure, etc. If this is the case, then the user can continue to utilize the cloud service already in place for an IoT project as well.
  • Build Your Own — For some, building a cloud service from the ground up might be a long road. However, given the correct resources, it may be an ideal situation if the user desires an IoT solution across multiple locations.
  • Use Third-Party Cloud Services — NCD IoT hardware is compatible with nearly any cloud platform on the market. NCD recommends that users should utilize a third-party cloud service for pilot projects – especially if a cloud service is not already in place.
  • Local Data Processing — In some cases, users will also choose to log and process data locally. In such cases, Node Red will be an ideal choice.

 

System Integrator — It’s always recommended to incorporate a system integrator into an IoT project. In NCD’s experience, if the user has a system integrator involved in their project(s), the chances of success increase up 3 to 4 times. There are multiple levels of system integrators to choose from, based on the user’s comfort level with the project.  There are even system integrators who will take the project from pilot, all the way to full integration!

Machine Downtime, Machine Health, Predictive Maintenance

Bottom line – factory operators and manufacturers need and rely on precise data regarding uptime and production downtime in their facilities. If there are resources being lost due to unnecessary downtimes, there’s no longer an excuse not to track such data and plan and execute a way to reduce such downtimes, thus saving much time, assets, materials, funds, etc. NCD has a sensor for all of your production needs!