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 facitlity 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 down time 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 monitors assets and resources. Click below to view NCD’s Enterprise line of IoT Sensors. 

 

What is an IoT Sensor?

There are 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 useable information. In general, there are few things users look for when it comes to IoT sensors;

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

Types of IoT Sensors

NCD manufactures over 30 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 RedLabViewPython
Temperature Humidity Sensor1PR49-24AYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Push Notification 2-Channel2PR52-3DYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
ADC Converter 2-Channel3PR52-1YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Thermocouple 1-Channel4PR52-2YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Gyro Magneto Acellero5PR49-24DYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Wireless Pressure Sensor6PR49-24HYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Acceleration and Impact Detection7PR49-24KYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Wireless Vibration Sensor8PR49-24EYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Wireless Proximity Sensor9PR49-24BYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Wireless Ambient Light Sensor10PR49-24CYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
In Development – Wireless Color Sensor11
Wireless 3 Channel Thermocouple Sensor12PR55-19BYesYesYesYesYesUntestedYes
Wireless 1 Channel AC Current Sensor13PR52-7YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Wireless 1 Channel 4-20mA Receiver14PR52-9YesYesYesYesYesUntestedYes
Wireless 1 Channel 0-10V Receiver15PR52-10YesYesYesYesYesUntestedYes
Wireless 1 Channel Soil Moisture Sensor16PR55-2BYesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntested
Wireless 1 Channel AC Voltage Sensor17PR52-13YesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedYes
Wireless 1 Channel Frequency/Pulse Sensor18PR52-14YesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedYes
Wireless 2 Channel Current Sensor19PR55-4BYesYesYesYesYesUntestedYes
Wireless High Precision Pressure Sensor20PR55-24YesYesYesYesYesUntestedYes
Wireless Differential Bi directional Pressure Sensor21PR49-24MYesYesYesYesYesUntestedYes
Wireless 0-24V AC/DC Optically Isolated Inputs22PR52-12YesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedYes
Wireless 2 Channel Thermocouple Sensor23PR55-19AYesYesYesYesYesUntestedYes
Wireless Activity detection sensor24PR49-24JYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Wireless Asset Monitor sensor25PR49-24IYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Wireless Pressure Sensor26PR52-33PYesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntested
Wireless Environmental Sensor27PR49-24LYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Wireless 3 Channel Current Sensor28PR55-26CYesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntested
Wireless Linear Displacement Sensor29PR55-2EYesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntested
Wireless Structural Monitoring Sensor30PR55-2FYesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntested
Air Quality TVOC eCO2 Temperature and Humidity Sensor31PR49-24GYes
Particulate Matter Sensor32PR52-33MYes
Wireless AC Current Detect Sensor33PR52-45Yes
Wireless Tank Level34Yes
Wireless 1 Channel Counter35PR52-3BYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Wireless 2 Channel Counter36PR52-3CYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Wireless 7 Push Notification37PR52-18YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
In Development38
Wireless 3 Wire RTD Temperature Sensor39PR52-27YesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntested
Wireless Enterprise Vibration Sensor**40PR52-33NYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
RPM Proximity Sensor41YesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedYesYes
Wireless 0-24VDC Voltage Monitor42PR52-10AYes
Wireless Dual Temperature Humidity Current Detection Sensor43PR55-41AYes
Wireless CO2 Gas Sensor44PR52-46Yes
4-20mA 16-Bit Input Transmitter45PR55-5AYes
Motion Detection Sensor46PR52-48Yes
Wireless Tilt Sensor47PR52-33_TS
4-20mA 16-Bit Input Transmitter48PT55-48Yes – Untested
Wireless 6 Channel Thermocouple Sensor49PR55-47_6TC
Predictive Maintenance Sensor50PR55-20AYesUntestedUntestedUntestedUntestedUntested
6 Channel Current Sensor51PR55-47_6C
Yes – Untested
Wireless 2 Channel 4-20mA Receiver 52PR55-47_2CRYes – Untested
Wireless Air Quality CO2 and PM Sensor53PR55-59_THPCYes – Untested
Wireless 2 Channel RTD54PR55-47_2RTDYes – Untested
Wireless 3 Channel RTD55PR55-47_3RTD
Wireless 2 Channel 0-10VDC Receiver 56PR55-47_2DCYes – Untested
Wireless Air Flow/Velocity Sensor60PR55-24V
Wireless pH Temperature Sensor61PR55-47pHYes
Wireless ORP Temperature Sensor62PR55-47ORPYes – Untested
Wireless pH and ORPTemperature Sensor63PR55-47pHORPYes
Wireless EC Sensor64PR55-47ECYes
Wireless DO Sensor65PR55-47DOYes – Needs Parser Review
Wireless EC and DO Sensor66PR55-47EC_DOYes – Needs Parser Review
Wireless PAR Sensor67PR55-57PARYes
Wireless 2 Channel Soil Moisture Sensor68PR55-2C
Wireless 1 Channel Soil Temp Moisture and EC Sensor69PR55-57_SLA
Wireless 2 Channel Soil Temp Moisture and EC Sensor70PR55-65_SLB
Wireless 3 Channel Soil Temp Moisture and EC Sensor71PR55-65_SLC
Wireless SDI Soil Moisture Temperature Moisture Probe72PR55-66A
Wireless Siemens Air Velocity Probe75PR55-5C
Wireless Enterprise Vibration Sensor V380PR55-61EYes
Wireless Enterprise Dual Vibration Sensor V381Yes – Untested
Predictive Maintenance V2 Sensor82Yes – Untested
C_50-27502
C_Current_1C505Yes – Untested
C_Current_3C506Yes – Untested
C_Current_12C515Yes – Untested

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 upon 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 Sensor, and Analog Sensors. Below lists 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 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 loss. 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 “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 down-time, 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 you 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 it’s 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 to work 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 the tools for 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 check 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 increases up 3 to 4 times. There are multiple levels of system integrators to choose from, based on the users comfort level of 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 manufactures 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 to not 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!