How Manufacturers Extend Asset Life and Reduce Waste with IoT Driven Workflows

May 23, 2024, by Alex Puttonen

IoT for Manufacturing

The challenges facing manufacturers today

In modern manufacturing, operations managers know the importance of maximizing uptime and reducing waste. You can't make up unscheduled downtime, and the rising cost of materials puts pressure on your bottom line.

How do you maximize ROI from your assets while minimizing lost profitability from downtime and avoiding material waste?

The manufacturing sector increasingly embraces IoT solutions for monitoring and control, with 85% of surveyed leaders implementing or planning to implement.

However, these deployments are often limited to simple data collection. The significant complexity and cost of integrating machine data into workflows and automating processes remains challenging for all but the most sophisticated firms.

That's why Flowfinity is lowering the barriers to entry for industrial IoT in the manufacturing sector. This article explores solutions for modern manufacturers.

Retrofitting existing facilities with IoT controllers allows you to stream operational data directly into digital workflows to improve decision-making and increase productivity.

Overcoming the barriers to IoT adoption in the facility

Retrofitting IoT technology to existing machinery creates smart devices for optimized performance. These devices can connect to intelligent networks along the entire value chain by enabling 24/7 automated data collection for monitoring and control. However, achieving these benefits has traditionally been complex and expensive.

Connecting smart sensors to core systems was challenging. Hardware needs to be physically connected and programmed, systems need to be integrated, and a way to ingest and store all that high-frequency data is required. These complications create barriers to entry for all but the largest and most sophisticated manufacturers.

So, what can you do if you want to reap the benefits of IoT monitoring but lack the resources to buy new equipment or custom code your solutions from scratch?

We designed Flowfinity M1 controllers to work with your existing machinery to reduce the cost of upgrading your facilities. They are also pre-integrated to stream high-frequency IoT data into an optimized time series database that drives business process automation and real-time visualization through operational intelligence dashboards.

Flowfinity has already done all the complex hardware and software programming for you, so you can deploy an end-to-end solution in one convenient platform. The best part is that you can build all your apps and configure all your workflows without coding!

Prolonging the asset lifecycles of your existing equipment

In manufacturing, the cost of replacing equipment is a considerable expense. One of the key benefits of adopting IoT solutions is improved maintenance to prolong asset life.

Flowfinity M1 controllers are an economical way to retrofit your existing equipment with 'smart' technology to achieve these benefits without spending millions on upgrades. Almost any physical or electrical process can be monitored and controlled using the M1 and the correct sensors, while the hardware is natively compatible with the Flowfinity Actions platform for data collection and workflow automation without code.

Using IoT sensors for early problem detection in your operations begins with understanding what "normal" operations look like and then identifying the data points that indicate a deviation so that operators can mitigate the risk. Operational data is collected in real-time, enabling systems to generate alerts to anomalies or automatically intervene to restore regular operation.

Flowfinity IoT solutions go beyond basic sensor data collection because the people who need to know when something could go wrong know precisely when and why so they can take preventative action rather than analyzing data logs after the event.

IoT adoption moves your organization from merely reacting to failures that cause unrecoverable downtime to empowering proactive prevention. With M1 controllers and connected IoT sensors; mitigation can begin when trends vary from the norm, scheduling maintenance downtime before failure occurs to extending the lifecycle of your crucial equipment and drive significant ROI.

Enhancing efficiency and reducing material waste

Inflation is hitting every industry, but manufacturers especially hard. The cost of production waste and lost resources, including labor and materials if there are defects in output, is becoming more expensive. Operations Managers strive to reduce planned waste, while unplanned waste causes losses to the bottom line.

For example, in the building materials industry, if a conventional saw blade cutting door or window frames becomes dull or slightly misaligned, it might go unnoticed by operators for multiple cycles. The saw malfunction can result in products that look "good" to the human eye but are defective, forcing you to throw away thousands of dollars worth of inventory. Or worse, shipping it to a customer and later replacing it all under warranty. If you are a high-volume manufacturer with dozens of saws running, this can add up significantly…

IoT for Manufacturing

With Flowfinity, you can retrofit your existing saws or any other assets with industrial-grade controllers to ensure that everything is as it should be. IoT sensors provide a continuous stream of data that can be used for real-time machine monitoring.

Configure workflow applications without code to ensure the blades are sharp and temperatures stay within optimal range to maximize output quality. Saws can be monitored 24/7 at a high frequency, and the resulting data logs are then analyzed to help better schedule maintenance and blade replacement. The controller also automates the machine by slowing it or shutting it off if something goes wrong while instantly notifying staff via direct connection to your business processes. In addition, a tower light can be used to show the changing status, visually indicating urgent attention is needed.

Now, you can be confident you won't waste materials because a machine kept running and causing defective outputs that need to be destroyed, preventing unplanned waste, expense, and the potential environmental impacts of discarding excess materials. In addition, more efficient production also leads to lower energy use.


Flowfinity IoT solutions allow you to connect your people, physical assets, and digital processes from endpoint to server for real-time operational monitoring and intelligence. Now, you can automate human and machine-driven workflows using your existing machinery, all without code.

Leverage this emerging technology for better-informed decision-making, increased productivity, and cost savings. Finally, manufacturers of all sizes are empowered to respond quickly to production anomalies, improve output quality, and maintain equipment more efficiently to gain a lasting competitive advantage.

Contact our experts and learn more about how Flowfinity IoT solutions can help you meet your production goals to drive customer satisfaction and revenue growth!

Related Articles