IoT technology can transform existing machinery to Industry 4.0 standards, without the worry about component delivery times.

For almost two years now, companies and industries have found themselves facing a  shortage of electronic components. Current health and political emergencies have inevitably had a direct impact on daily production because it has been increasingly difficult to find the raw materials, components, and machinery necessary to achieve optimal end production. Can Industry 4.0 be the solution to this?

Shortage and electronic components

The shortage of electronic components that began during the pandemic has been increasingly difficult for companies that are, therefore, forced to extend delivery times for their customers.  Consider, for example, how supply chain problems have seen the simpler industrial machines wait on parts between forty-two weeks, while more complex machines wait four to twelve months.

Rents for production and storage rooms, reprogramming of logistics, increasingly higher price management, as well as collapsing margins or the risk of crisis due to missed collections, inevitably lead companies to rethink their products to adapt their production or reduce the materials being used. In this context of industry 4.0, we are talking about the shortage of electronic components.

Robots and machinery in the supply chain

There are not many solutions currently available for shortages, so companies need to continually seek viable alternatives for their needs. It would not be sustainable, over time, to deliver incomplete machines (without a card or an inverter) as a final product and without an accompanying test certificate. Clients wouldn’t accept this.

Why IoT technology can be decisive

The technology enabling Industry 4.0, in this context, brings numerous advantages and end benefits while, at the same time, remaining, flexible, scalable, and economically advantageous

All the techniques related to Industry 4.0 processes can be effective solutions with respect  to the shortage of components.

Many companies, for example, choose to use IoT platforms in order to automate industrial production processes, and extract the data necessary to obtain an overview, as accurately as possible, for the performance of their machinery.

The opportunity for companies today is not to interrupt their digitization process but to encourage the recovery of current plants. Only in this way can there be a guaranteed  process of both economic sustainability (cutting purchase costs) and environmental sustainability if we consider the impact of pollution when disposing of large machines that are probably made with old and non-eco-sustainable materials.

IoT technologies let us modernise industrial machinery without having to replace them to use industry 4.0, collect, and analyze production data (thereby, creating efficiencies).

Thinking about replacing a large industrial machine, every time a newer and better performing one is suitably designed, is extremely wasteful and it creates pollution at the same time.

No more complex digitization processes

Other problematic aspects to be considered in a period where components, products and machinery are scarce, are linked to the scarce availability of qualified personnel, a phenomenon that started in the USA and recently landed in the EU, as well as the presence of operators often not properly trained in the management of a data collection and enhancement process.

In this context, it is better to concentrate your staff on “core” activities with high added value, leaving IoT technologies with the task of managing data collection, process monitoring, and production results.

Thanks to IoT technology it is now possible to carry out complete digitalization processes without necessarily having to replace the entire machine, and with low investment and ease of delivery.

Once again, even in problematic contexts such as shortages, IoT technology must be seen as an opportunity and not an obstacle for a more profitable and performing industrialization in the automation process of plants.

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About the Author: Gabriele Montelisciani

Gabriele is Zerynth's CEO: He has extensive experience managing innovative start-ups, business development, financial controls, and organizational strategies. He has a PhD in Economics and Management Engineering from the University of Pisa.

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