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Somewhere along the line I heard a wonderful quote that was stated to be an old Chinese expression, “A problem recognized is half solved” but it was Charles Kettering, the famed inventor and former head of research for GM, who is noted as saying, “A problem well-stated is half-solved.”

The jist of this is that if we recognize, acknowledge, admit that we have a problem with something rather than ignoring, putting up with or just plain working around it, now we are moving forward. After clearly defining the issue, the next step is to search for solutions. Now this is where things get really interesting.

The fourth dimension and sensors.

There is something that I have jokingly referred to for years as the fourth dimension. It is right there in front of our eyes but we just don’t see it. Try this one for example. You go out and buy yourself a new red Chevy Malibu and all of a sudden you notice all of the other Malibus that are out there, and especially how many red ones there are. They were always there. You just never saw them.

For manufacturers, who might now discover the IIoT, you will perhaps feel you are seeing the fourth dimension. Once introduced you will notice how many industries are using this less expensive access to much needed information, and indeed, how many of your own competitors might already be there. If you want to really and factually recognize what issues you have, or will have, with your manufacturing lines and equipment, the information can be right in front of your eyes. With factual data comes logical decisions.

Your competitors are using smart sensors

Smart containers have developed from this thirst for solutions (pardon the slight unintended pun as some of the world’s largest breweries are now using this technology). AB InBev and Carlsberg are two bottling giants who were not shy about trying to solve recent issues through the use of these “smart containers”. The power of decision making that both received by getting factual data about pressures, spins and shock on their lines made for quick and profitable solutions.

Hmmmm, let’s see, if I can get real time pressure readings on exactly what is happening on my line and almost immediately reduce breakage, damage and down time will I be more profitable? Of course, it is a no-brainer. But, the question becomes how much is cost versus recovery. Well, breakage for instance, has been noted to be reduced by as much as 80% and with 60% less downtime. Math also becomes easy with facts.

Smart technologies are ramping up industries and these exact replicas of containers that can even be 3-D printed now for for testing the light-weighting of packaging are to be quite honest, providing invaluable information.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall of the trucks that are carrying my product! Yes, they can provide that information as well. Sensors detect any and all pressures whether on the line or in a case travelling the highways.

Short term solutions come from real time data being wirelessly sent to a line operator’s tablet. Long term decisions concerning capital investments are made a whole lot easier with data that can be cloud stored and then charted or arranged for easy reading and understanding.

The proof is in the pudding and the products are here, now. Maybe just go buy a red Chevy and see what happens.

The bottom line on advanced sensor technology is indeed the bottom line. Profit is being produced from information. Companies like Diageo, Unilever, Nestle and major breweries are already seeing incredible results.