What does the Internet of Things mean for the industry?
Utilization, quality and maintenance status data are essential for manufacturing companies in the production process. Therefore, by monitoring the machines and planning maintenance cycles, the Internet of Things offers a very high potential for those areas.
Parts of the industrial processes are automated or entire process units are controlled autonomously. This reaches from a production factory to an automated value chain that enables a fluid and transparent exchange of information between machines, equipment, goods and people.
Which role does the Internet of Things play in intralogistics?
Intralogistics processes can be made significantly more efficient by connecting software systems and facilities. For example, ERP, warehouse management systems, material flow calculators and databases can be connected with conveyor technology such as high-bay warehouses, pocket sorters and automated small parts warehouses. With intralogistics processes, large amounts of data are continuously generated in the areas of goods receipt, storage and retrieval, order picking or returns processing.
The Internet of Things makes this data visible and provides important insights into process execution and impulses for process optimization. Cooperation between production and intralogistics is becoming ever closer, as production systems can now communicate independently with the connected warehouse and, for example, order replenishments. The picker can also request replenishment while picking. Usually it is sufficient to scan an empty compartment or use the smartphone, handheld or mobile data acquisition device (MDE) to do so.
Self-organizing logistics systems are already reality. Networking creates efficient and trouble-free intralogistics processes between products, components, machines, human users and transportation. This results in a digital factory, often called smart factory. Here, people only act as process observers who intervene in an emergency. However, there are still many processes within a warehouse in which humans cannot be replaced by sensors or machine power.
How is the Internet of Things used in intralogistics?
Augmented Reality can be very useful in order picking or warehouse operations. The data glasses provide the user with optimal directions and additional information that he needs for his work step, directly in his field of vision. This can be images for recognition or information about the amount, size or weight of the next pick. The removal of the goods is confirmed to the system by voice input, smartphone, MDE or handheld. The goods are scanned either by the built-in glasses or an external scanner.
Another example for the use of the Internet of Things are driverless transport systems and transport robots. On the one hand, these reduce transport damage and, on the other hand, save personnel costs. The continuous data exchange and route-optimization also reduce driving and waiting times. This enables smooth production and a fast and constant material flow 24 hours.
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Cf. BigData Insider, Was ist das Internet of Things?, accessed: 16.04.2020