Banner Makes IIoT Simple and Accessible

Banner Makes IIoT Simple and Accessible

Banner Makes IIoT Simple and Accessible 2501 1313 Altis

Hardware Devices, Data-Driven Industrial Intelligence An Indispensable Part

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is defined as sensors, machines, tools and autonomous devices connected together to collect real-time data for industrial applications. For automated and semi-automated factory production, IIoT provides key insights to increase productivity, improve efficiency and reduce costs. This collected device data can be analyzed in the cloud or on edge computing platforms, allowing users to take actions with directly measurable value:

• optimizing production
• increasing operational efficiency
• reallocation of resources
• implement predictive maintenance
• reduction of energy consumption
• improving error prevention
• minimizing downtime
• managing costs

IIoT forms part of a complete technology ecosystem that benefits factory automation, assembly lines, logistics, transportation, distribution and other key elements of today’s manufacturing. At its core, it is a subset of the Internet of Things (IoT) – meaning physical devices and digital tools built to communicate with each other online – but with a particular focus on industry and the business benefits that can be achieved.

IIoT networks rely on online connections, cloud servers and software, but the hardware components of these systems should not be overlooked. Fortunately, Banner Engineering makes it possible not only to design customized IIoT-enabled automation systems, but also to upgrade existing manufacturing infrastructure for comprehensive IIoT implementation.

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Why is IIoT Important?

IoT is a key component of Industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is a concept for modern manufacturing that harnesses the power of networked systems and data analytics to enable companies to make strategic, insight-driven business decisions. In essence, IIoT is what transforms factories into “smart” factories. The data captured can be used to accelerate and scale existing operations or even redefine business models to better serve customers and outpace competitors. The term also implies a certain urgency: if companies are too slow to adopt IIoT technology, they could find themselves left behind in the competitive global marketplace.

Meanwhile, a company that continuously collects and interprets data from its equipment can gain a distinct competitive advantage. It can monitor the speeds of automated processes to identify problems such as production bottlenecks, make relevant adjustments and fine-tune machine performance to eliminate inefficiencies and increase throughput. The data makes it easier to manage raw material quantities – a necessity, especially at a time when supply chains are disrupted – and can be used to determine more cost-effective logistics for packaging and distribution of finished products.

The benefits of IIoT integration range from advanced technology enhancements to discreet time savings. For example, robots equipped with sensors can collect information about themselves and their surroundings and then communicate that data. Also, tools or parts on inventory lists can be tracked online, reducing the time operators would normally spend searching for them(¹),

“According to Oxford Economics, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) could impact sectors that account for 62% of GDP in G20 countries,” says Spanish multinational electricity company Iberdrola. “The application of IIoT in industry promises to be the biggest driver of productivity and innovation over the next decade. “(²), And of course, companies around the world are taking IIoT technology seriously and investing heavily in implementation. Over $300 billion was invested globally in manufacturing, transportation and energy applications in 2019, and this figure is expected to double by 2025.(³)

Using IIoT for Smarter Machine Maintenance

Another compelling argument for incorporating IIoT technology is that it allows companies to move beyond traditional planned preventive maintenance and instead implement informed predictive maintenance. By installing machine sensors to monitor factors such as vibration and temperature, factory operators can catch indicators that a key mechanism such as an engine may be showing signs of impending exhaustion or failure. If a failure occurs at the wrong time, it can cause a catastrophic loss in production time and expected revenue. Sensor data that identifies parts that require imminent maintenance is an extremely valuable insight because it gives the company the opportunity to plan the repair or replacement of these parts before they fail. The financial impact of predictive maintenance can be measured. McKinsey Global Institute reports the following:

We estimate that predictive maintenance can reduce maintenance costs of factory equipment by 10 to 40 percent. … Furthermore, better predictive maintenance using IoT can extend the useful life of machines, reducing equipment downtime by up to 50 percent and reducing equipment capital investment by 3 to 5 percent. These savings in manufacturing have a potential economic impact of around $630 billion per year in 2025.(⁴)

What Kind of Factory Data can be Captured?

Sensors are now so commonplace in production automation that it is hard to imagine a factory without them. Most factories use many different types of sensors to count product quantities, schedule steps in an automated process or ensure optimal production conditions, but by their very nature, the electronic signals that sensors already transmit can be collected for insightful data analysis. Even a simple binary pulse from a sensor is a potential source of data that can be monitored to streamline operations. How often a photoelectric beam is interrupted (by products on a conveyor, for example) can be captured and recorded to calculate operating speeds, which can be adjusted to maximize productivity as part of a larger manufacturing process.

The types of data that sensors can capture are practically limitless. They can record quantities, volumes, distances, weights, dimensions, shapes, colors, positioning, temperatures, thermal activity, vibration, reflectivity, curvature, surface variations, material composition, response to sound waves, proximity to physical obstacles, visual or auditory information, texture patterns, steps in a programmed sequence and almost anything else. Any value a sensor can observe can be a data point, and any data point can be measured over time.

In this way, the whole philosophy of IIoT is part of the trend towards “Big Data” analytics to make insight-driven business decisions. Simply put, the more data manufacturers collect from their installed sensors, the more they understand about the capabilities of their own systems. They can leverage this “actionable” data to improve processes at any level of production. And these improvements can lead to leaner, more productive results, giving them a distinct fulfillment advantage over competitors.

Facts and Myths about IIoT Implementation Cost

While optimizing production for IoT adoption is a significant task that requires clear direction and organization-wide buy-in, it is not as cost-prohibitive as one might initially assume.

McKinsey identifies some common misconceptions business leaders have about IIoT.(⁵) These include the idea that IIoT is merely an online dashboard and requires “greenfield” facilities. First, while IIoT applications require some form of online capability to capture and present industrial data, they also require hardware, including sensors and controller connections. Second, while it is certainly a good idea to plan to incorporate IIoT capabilities into brand new factory sites, implementing IIoT on existing (“brownfield”) sites is not only feasible, but also economical.

In fact, Banner’s Snap Signal product line makes it possible to add IIoT data collection capability to any brand’s existing equipment. In essence, IIoT can be implemented as an overlay network, using T-junctions, splitter cables and converters to capture signals from already existing sensor infrastructure.

IIoT is Hardware-Driven

Discussions about the IIoT and the impressive potential of Industry 4.0 often talk about software, cloud computing and artificial intelligence, while details about IIoT hardware are often neglected. This is unfortunate because hardware technology is a crucial element of IIoT systems and advances in industrial automation hardware are revolutionary in their own right.

Realizing the benefits of IIoT requires hardware devices, such as sensors to monitor factory machinery, installed directly where the work is being done. These sensors need to be connected to a central controller that combines all the machine signals that need to be monitored. Finally, manufacturers need an interface or online platform to view and interpret the collected data.

Banner Engineering has been a leading supplier of industrial technology for over fifty years, providing innovative sensors, lighting, safety equipment and networking devices to manufacturers worldwide. It is equally committed to equipping companies with the most advanced IIoT smart factory solutions.

Starting IIoT

How does a manufacturer implement IIoT for industrial automation? This straightforward process requires careful planning, but Banner experts are available to help customers determine where and how to install sensors, hubs and controllers in future or existing manufacturing facilities.

The Snap Signal product family enables users to disconnect from an installed sensor output, copy the signal and transmit it over industry-standard M12 cabling. It is a brand-independent “overlay” network that can integrate with manufacturers’ existing sensors and equipment, easily convert signal formats, and its modular design makes it possible to start small and scale up as factory operations expand and evolve. Installing a controller like the Banner DXMR90 makes it possible to combine branched signals from multiple sensors simultaneously, potentially for all monitored machines in a factory, and convert these signals into Ethernet data.

All of this factory information can be viewed on-screen at an HMI or industrial PC, but users can explore it in more detail in online computer software, including Banner’s highly customizable Cloud Data Services or cloud platforms such as Amazon AWS. It is even possible to send data wirelessly and securely to the cloud over long distances using cellular connections or an edge device such as the DXM1200 Wireless Controller.

IIoT Products Available Now

Banner is already facilitating cutting-edge IIoT solutions for manufacturers worldwide. Its ever-growing product inventory includes a variety of devices that can be easily combined and incorporated into any industrial environment.


IIoT and Industry 4.0 represent a major shift in manufacturing, and factories that delay development will likely face major competitive challenges in the future. Fortunately, adapting manufacturing to collect insightful machine data doesn’t have to be too difficult or costly. Whether you are revitalizing your existing plant or designing new factory processes from scratch, Banner is here to support you. It continues to build device solutions that enable you to transform your traditional manufacturing operation into a leaner and more productive IIoT-enabled smart factory. All with an agile, scalable and practical approach.


  1. Andy Chang, “Your IIoT Questions, Answered,” IndustryWeek, May 14, 2019.
  2. “What is IIoT? Discover the Industrial Internet of Things,” Iberdrola.
  3.  Ibid.
  4.  James Manyika et al., “The Internet of Things: Mapping the Value Beyond the Hype,” McKinsey
    Global Institute, June 1, 2015 (p. 70).
  5. Mads Lauritzen et al., “Industrial IoT Generates Real Value—If Businesses Overcome Six Myths,”
    McKinsey & Company, June 2, 2020.
  6. Richard Howells, “How Industry 4.0 Boosts Productivity and Profitability in Intelligent Factories,”
    Forbes, July 1, 2020.
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