7 Ways IoT Technologies Improve Safety in Manufacturing

7 Ways IoT Technologies Improve Safety in Manufacturing


Manufacturers face challenges with keeping assets and personnel safe, as well as improving efficiency and recruiting new hires into the sector. IoT technologies such as intrinsically safe tablets and IoT sensors that are certified to operate in hazardous locations are helping to modernize manufacturing, especially in industries like oil and gas or chemical, where combustible environments restrict the use of most mobile technologies. Deploying these solutions in hazardous area manufacturing operations enables organizations to streamline their processes, greatly improve safety and attract and retain a modern labor force.

Some ways we see IoT improving safety in manufacturing include:

1. Connectivity saving lives
Many manufacturing personnel work in combustible environments where electronic devices are restricted; thus, they may be disconnected from basic company information, protocol updates and alerts while on the job in hazardous locations. Connecting these personnel to the cloud can help ensure they are informed about conditions surrounding operations and, armed with this knowledge, able to make decisions that keep them safer.

“Industrial IoT is allowing machines to communicate with one another about real-time conditions in industrial operations, which greatly improves our knowledge about the safety and efficiency of those environments. But the first step in connecting everything is connecting people. When people can communicate and share information throughout even the most hazardous zones of operations, they can better understand what is happening around them and utilize real-time data to help keep them safe,” said Thomas P. Ventulett, CEO of Aegex Technologies, the industry leader in intrinsically safe solutions for hazardous area operations.
2. Digital technologies improving changeover
Shift change knowledge can be passed along easily when records and notes are recorded in digital applications. Digital tools allow personnel to track each other’s work, capturing where they left off at the end of a shift so the next employee can know what has already been accomplished or not, helping to reduce the risk of procedural mistakes. In manufacturing industries that operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, transferring information among employees is crucial to operational continuity and safety.

3. Tech reducing human error
Human error is often the culprit of manufacturing incidents, with personnel not following protocol, incorrectly operating equipment, or inaccurately reporting asset integrity conditions. Connected worker applications such as cloud-based rounds management, interactive scheduling, GPS tracking and enterprise resource planning solutions can help reduce risk by assisting employees to keep track of activities and improve accuracy. Running these applications on intrinsically safe devices allows personnel to complete inspections, fill out forms and visualize records of workflow and previous work data on the spot, even in hazardous areas of operations.

4. Digital records and timestamps documenting activities
Manufacturing personnel with access to data can help improve safety by recording processes in real time, providing historical records and drawing comparisons over time for various aspects of the manufacturing process. Mobile and cloud-based applications – used via intrinsically safe devices certified for use in hazardous areas - enable personnel to complete reporting tasks more quickly and efficiently, aiding in compliance. Onsite analysis of trends allow teams to identify potential risks that could lead to problems, enabling them to plan better to avoid potentially dangerous situations and reduce the risk of future accidents.

5. Technicians consulting offsite experts
In complex manufacturing environments, experience and expertise are crucial for ensuring adherence to safety protocols and maintaining safe operations. But sometimes those experts are not available for consultation on the operations floor. With certified cloud-connected devices, workers in hazardous locations can verbally and/or visually consult offsite experts to get advice for performing operations more safely. Utilizing audio-visual calls or augmented reality applications via approved devices enables shared experiences among teams, ensuring the right decisions are made.

6. Teams constantly communicating
Microsoft cloud-based applications, like Dynamics 365 and Teams that are built into Windows intrinsically safe tablets or other certified devices, enable personnel to immediately communicate and share information with one another, alerting the appropriate team members to help mitigate potential or actual problems.

7. IoT monitoring in real time
Intrinsically safe IoT sensors installed in hazardous area operations of manufacturing facilities can gather real-time data about the environment and can learn to report on conditions that may indicate an unsafe situation. When multiple inputs are analyzed together in context with time-synchronous operations data, organizations can get in-depth insight into which combinations of factors and patterns represent normal, safe operations, and which are potentially dangerous anomalies. Modular sensor arrays like Aegex’s NexVu IoT Solution can be customized to detect ambient conditions in a hazardous manufacturing environment, including various gases, vibration, temperature, humidity and a whole host of factors that, in certain combinations, could indicate a potential problem.

Technology for the future of manufacturing

Digital and IoT technologies can help manufacturing companies maintain compliance, control costs, and most importantly, keep workers safe. Safer manufacturing environments could also help attract future hires into the sector, as digital technologies help modernize manufacturing, making it safer, more exciting and rewarding.

Modern digital tools, such as intrinsically safe tablets, IoT sensors and relevant applications, can help ensure employees are engaged and involved in maintaining the safety of their work environments, even in the most potentially explosive areas of operations. When personnel are connected, they can more easily assess risk, pass along and receive pertinent information, and perform their jobs with greater efficiency and precision – and keep assets, colleagues and themselves safer.

Learn more

Aegex Technologies provides certified intrinsically safe solutions that connect people, assets and data in industries with hazardous locations, including manufacturing. By offering real-time collaboration and data insight about operations via our NexVu IoT Sensors and aegex10 Intrinsically Safe Tablets, Aegex enables companies to make intelligent, data-driven decisions that help transform the way they operate, improving efficiency, productivity and safety.

For more information about how Aegex solutions can help improve safety in your manufacturing environment, please contact us today.