What’s Next For The Engineering Industry

It’s pretty hard to predict what’s going to happen next in any industry, let alone one which thrives upon innovation, technical improvement and constant change. In this business analysis article, we look at the ever-innovative engineering industry and what the future holds.

IoT, The Internet of Things and The Interaction With Engineering

With the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the widespread diffusion of connectivity in factories, a system including machines, procedures, and production organization can be set up to increase productivity. This Industrial Internet of Things is one of the 4 pillars of the industry of the future, along with human-machine collaboration, virtual reality and 3D printing.

Based on the first real-world deployments of a new connectivity system called SenseForge, explores how wireless sensors can continuously monitor processes and equipment of all types, including older, pre-digital machines, and can increase the efficiency of industrial processes through embedded computing.

How to secure and enhance knowledge and training with aging workforces

Many technically skilled workers take invaluable experience and expertise with them into retirement. As organizations digitize and leverage the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), they can tap machine learning and cognitive analytics to deal with this. Using smart connected devices will help to solve those challenges by creating a digital culture on the floor plant. Whereas sensors can be upgraded to “digital senses,” building cognitive biofeedback on a new kind of portable HMI, Kaizen-like investigation & innovation approaches need to be implemented and relevant personnel be trained. Obviously, floor managers will benefit from this approach to keep the knowledge alive and shared. All this happens on top of the changes from discrete industrial sensor systems to IIoT cognitive sensors.

Examples In The Engineering Industry

After months of testing and development, the first version started to show meaningful real-time data from pilot production installations. On the HMI part, a programmable dashboard system was built with capabilities to display and process data locally, showing machine operating states and mechanical analytics. Nothing more is required beyond SenseForge Pods & Hub, everything comes inside the hub server and included on the devices. Furthermore, the hub supports most kinds of connectivity onboard: 4G, WiFi and plain Ethernet cable. Just scan the QR/URL sticker on the casing, use a common browser, set up security and go. Call it “plug & sense.” In less than a day, this new “machine driven data feed” enabled many indexes that never existed before, for every resource involved. After some weeks of data harvesting and event tagging, the dashboard showed machinery performance/state and tooling wear indexes, like:

– Estimated remaining lifetime of fungible materials

 – Work/stop KPI, idle time charts

– Top ten stops chart, reliability KPI and a risk index

 – Non maintenance related mechanical signal drifting/cycles = “aging/ health index”

 – Machine operational states and actual operation adjustments (frequency footprints)


These deployments are fantastic examples of the way that smart technologies can affect the operations of traditional manufacturing sites and improve the overall performance of our industries. Low cost sensors can be used to upgrade legacy equipment into digital connected, sensible machines, which can sense, collect, compute data and make decisions locally. This results in a dramatic potential for productivity increase for all industries. With connectivity becoming a commodity, the question is no longer on who will embrace this digital transformation, but who will be first! As pointed out by Charles Darwin,“ It is not the strongest leaders that survive, nor the most intelligent; instead, it is the ones that are the most responsive to change.”

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