Can the Internet of Things help quality assurance professionals?

Automation and smart manufacturing are hot topics among professionals in the production economy. 

For procurement services, sensors distributed across factories can assist them in conducting quality assurance endeavors. While a company may be lauded for producing quality goods, whether or not it will have to replace its machinery on a frequent basis may be questionable. 

For those in the industrial sector who would rather anticipate equipment failures before they occur, the Internet of Things is a valuable asset. IndustryWeek contributor and SAS Product Marketing Manager Mike Hitmar noted General Electric's assertion that the global manufacturing industry could save $1 trillion every year by implementing smart devices and reworking processes and maintenance around such technology. 

Quality assurance implementations

While transforming operations based on the information presented by Web-connected sensors is an amazing feat in and of itself, production companies are starting off small by reviewing areas in which efficiencies can be employed. In turn, these small adjustments can improve the conditions of finished products. 

Hitmar also maintained that integrating IoT into finished goods will help manufacturers prevent degradation. He posited an example of a refrigerator sensor recognizing that the machine's compressor is cycling too many times. The solution? The fridge-maker could send both a software update that scales back on compressor cycles and a note to the customer that the issue has been resolved. 

Setting standards 

In close relation to quality assurance, industrial companies could implement sensors intelligent enough to deduce whether certain products comply with government standards. Tech Republic contributor Mary Shacklett noted one example of how a temperature control device in a truck could register whether the internal atmosphere will cause produce to tarnish

"The presence of standards and regulatory compliance requirements is one of the major drivers for the implementation of sensor systems," said Frost & Sullivan Senior Industry Analyst of Measurement and Instrumentation V. Sankarnarayanan, as quoted by Shacklett. "Governments across the globe have strict laws that mandate the use of sensors and other electronic devices that sense the risk involved in food contamination."

An automated production process

A network of sensors capable of delivering information to one another can ensure that scrapping and reworking doesn't occur. For instance, when a piece of equipment experiences a disruption in its output, it can deliver a message to machines working ahead of it to adjust operations accordingly.

It's this kind of capability that will enable strategic sourcing specialists to aggregate more applicable data regarding production processes. 

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