Remote operations using IoT technology

Industrial IoT: Transforming Factory Floors for Smart Manufacturing

In our newest post, you'll learn how to use industrial IoT for transforming your factory floors towards Smart Manufacturing and read about examples of IIoT applications in the real world.
Jan Kucera, CEO & CPO at Spotflow
Jan Kucera
Published on:
April 25, 2024

An automated system tracks when a machine part needs replacing or when its software needs updating. The system also alerts operators at the first signs of trouble, preventing most breakages and unplanned downtimes. Sounds almost too good to be true? Well, let’s see how smart manufacturing makes this dream a reality!

In this article

You'll learn how to get real-time data and quality insights about your manufacturing process using IIoT. We'll cover:

  • What is Smart Manufacturing,
  • How to upgrade factory floors with IIoT,
  • Benefits of Smart Manufacturing, and
  • Example of IIoT application in the real world.

Smart Manufacturing Basics

Imagine a factory floor where every machine is equipped with sensors that collect and stream data to a cloud. An industrial IoT platform then processes the data in real-time, monitors devices, and enables the creation of visual dashboards to support data-driven insights.

In a nutshell, Smart Manufacturing is an approach that uses real-time data to deliver actionable insights that drive process tweaks and improvements.

Understanding what's happening on the machine level lets you monitor the critical metrics, like:

  • scrap rate,
  • throughput,
  • uptime,
  • or overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

Thanks to predictions and early warnings, this data allows you to optimize every step of production and prevent potential malfunctions. So, how can you make the factory floor smart?

Creating Digital Factories

A smart factory is a digitalized factory. First and foremost, you need a way to efficiently collect data from every machine on the floor and send it to the network. That's where the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) comes into play.

Equipping machines with IoT sensors allows you to collect valuable data. Thanks to device SDKs, like the ones we develop at Spotflow, you can collect data from different sources, such as the machine's programmable logic controller (PLC). In this case, the data are sent to the cloud in real-time or in batches (every minute/hour, etc.) based on the PLC's data input frequency.

Once the information arrives in the cloud, the IIoT platform distributes it in near real-time to various systems that employ modern technologies, including AI, advanced data analysis, and machine learning algorithms. They aim to automatically process, analyze, and transform the data to produce actionable insights. These insights are then shared with any connected machine, manager, or operator across the network.

For example, a machine on the factory floor measures the variation in the final product's size. This data is sent to the cloud and analyzed by an algorithm. Based on the deviation, this algorithm instructs the production machines at the beginning of the line to adjust their parameters or perform regular cleaning.

Simply put, a digital factory leverages and applies concepts and technologies of Industry 4.0 – everything from intelligent machines and autonomous robots to cloud computing and big data – to create a manufacturing process that is actually smart.

Benefits of Smart Manufacturing

So what's in it for you? What are the actual perks of using modern technology in a factory? Well, tapping the data streams unlocks virtually unlimited possibilities, from process automation and predictive maintenance or QC and safety improvements to boosting overall manufacturing efficiency. Let's have a look at a few benefits that stand out.

Process Automation

Using IoT solutions, you can automate many processes, making the production line run 24/7. Automated manufacturing processes are also more precise and less prone to errors and product deviations compared to processes with human intervention.

Example: In a logistical center, the sorting line is highly automated with IoT Technologies. The robots route the packages to a specific van based on the orders they periodically receive from the system.

Predictive Maintenance

With the machines connected, you can monitor their performance in real-time and detect anomalies that, if unnoticed, could lead to issues and unplanned downtime. You can watch for specified equipment failure indicators, like increased heat or vibrations, predict malfunctions, and plan early maintenance instead of being caught off guard when the machine breaks down.

Example: Lely uses Spotflow to collect data from milking robots and monitor their state, performance, and conditions. By analyzing this data, Lely technicians get timely alerts about problematic robots before the issue leads to significant downtimes.

Reduced Costs

IoT systems enable remote operation and machinery maintenance, decreasing the number of on-site personnel or visits. They also give insights into metrics like scrap rate or uptime, allowing for better planning and process optimization across the board.

Example: Siemens has implemented IoT solutions to remotely monitor energy usage and machine performance in their manufacturing operations. This allows them to reduce the number of personnel needed on the factory floor and decrease travel for maintenance staff. By analyzing the data collected, Siemens can optimize processes to reduce scrap rates and improve machine uptime, ultimately leading to significant cost savings.


Once you have a digital system in place, you can scale and adapt it at lightning speeds. Smart manufacturing gives you the flexibility to instantly react to any market changes, making your production more competitive and agile.

Example: Spotflow offers a scalable industrial IoT platform that manufacturers can use to adapt their production lines to new products or variations in demand without significant delays. This flexibility enables them to remain competitive by rapidly responding to market changes.

Let's Make Your Factory Floor Smart

Implementing an IoT system on a factory scale can seem daunting at first. Fortunately, you don't have to do it alone. We've got plenty of experience in designing and executing IoT solutions worldwide.

For example, the Spotflow IoT platform enabled, together with AI solutions from its mother company Datamole, the creation of a system that personalizes a milking routine for over 2 million cows for Lely, the leading global producer of robotic systems for dairy farmers. This reduces non-optimal milking by up to 80% while improving the health and welfare of every single cow. If you'd also like to make your production smart, send us a message today or check our solutions.

About Author

JAN KUCERA, CEO & CPO at Spotflow

Jan Kucera

Jan has a passion for computer science and technology. His expertise lies in creating cutting-edge technological platforms, which have been widely adopted by many Fortune 500 companies. Jan believes in prioritizing the product and placing users and their needs in the center. His ultimate goal is to revolutionize the rigid IoT industry and position Spotflow as the leading provider of IIoT platforms, helping IoT solutions builders to achieve their goals.
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