Taking IIoT Data Utility to the Next Level Using Video on the Factory Floor

One of the most valuable benefits of industrial Internet of things (IIoT) data is quickly learning about exceptions or when something goes wrong. But with most processes, once you are alerted about an issue, you still have to troubleshoot what caused it.

But what if your IIoT data was tied to video streams so you could immediately go back and watch the machine or process to see exactly what happened? Or what if a combination of video, IIoT and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities could alert an operator that they missed a step in an assembly process?

Clearly, both types of solutions could go a long way to helping keep many lines and processes running at peak efficiency. And with all of the technology capabilities available in the marketplace, it’s only a matter of time before they become more common.

Visualizing the Future of Troubleshooting

At Dploy Solutions, we believe that the combination of video and IIoT data has tremendous potential in many types of manufacturing processes. For example, at the simplest level, you can already cost effectively use video streams of a process to investigate what led to a scrap or non-conformance problem. But IIoT innovations have introduced the possibility for a new generation of video solutions that simplify troubleshooting even further.

Today, relying on video and IIoT data separately won’t give you the complete picture.  Managing video alone could involve a lot of time spent scrolling through a lot of footage to find the clip you need to review. And IIoT solutions tell you when something is wrong or changes, but you can’t see why. An IIoT system that is synched with a video solution, however, could help you jump right to the most relevant footage. This capability is especially helpful in any situation where multiple components of a product are loaded and combined, such as in packaged food manufacturing. For example, being able to easily go back and investigate a weight variance in a French onion dip package picked up by an IIoT sensor. Maybe the pressure in the filling station is too high or containers aren’t loading correctly, leading to spillage. Whatever the issue, the combination of video and IIoT capabilities could help you find it faster.

A second generation of video-based capabilities that weave in AI, in addition to IIoT, could go a step further and actually stop or adjust processes when there’s an issue or exception. Building on the example above, a solution could use pattern recognition to catch issues before they snowball into bigger problems. For instance, by immediately alerting an operator they didn’t load lids or containers correctly. Or in an assembly environment, quickly alerting people on a line when they make mistakes, such as forgetting a screw or other small part.

A Technological Perfect Match  

Given all of the complexity in manufacturing, there are loads of possibilities for expanding the use of these different combinations of capabilities. While it may take some time before AI-based solutions can accurately and cost-effectively capture issues or exceptions in fast-moving processes in real time, manufacturers can already benefit from combined video and IIoT capabilities. Dploy Solutions provides first-generation IIoT and video capabilities and we are working with partners in different industries on second-generation solutions. If you think your organization could benefit from a combined IIoT and video solution, drop us a line and we can talk through the possibilities.


About the Author

Ken Koenemann, VP of Supply Chain and Technology at TBM Consulting Group (parent company of Dploy Solutions), is a 25+ year veteran of manufacturing, operational excellence and supply chain optimization. At TBM, Ken is actively leading the effort to our suite of services to include emerging technologies that improve productivity and convert complex data into information for improved decision making.

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