Visit any manufacturing trade show or check out any engineering blog and you won’t be able to miss those three little words seemingly on everyone’s mind and on the tip of everyone’s tongue lately: Internet of Things. The potential application of IoT technology appears limitless, and for compressed air systems, the energy-saving impact could truly be game-changing. Here’s a look at how the Internet of Things will affect compressed air systems, and of equal importance, how end users should start preparing today for this new technology revolution.
The concept behind the IoT – connecting critical equipment with data communications and transmitting the data via the Internet – certainly is not new. As consumers, we’ve been enjoying the modern conveniences of the IoT for several years – scanning a bar code on an empty medicine bottle to refill a prescription at the pharmacy, for example, or receiving a notice that our online order has been delivered. And with tablet and smartphone use on the rise and websites switching to responsive design faster than you can say “mobile-friendly,” the IoT is becoming a part of our daily lives.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), logically, builds on the connectivity of the IoT and applies it to machines and equipment in the manufacturing world. The IIoT blurs the lines of individuality when it comes to a particular piece of equipment. Instead, integrated connectivity makes it possible to view the pieces as a single system. Data are collected from numerous points in the system and analyzed to give a more precise understanding of system operation and how deviations from key threshold values affect the system’s overall efficiency and provide a means for more precise process control.