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IIoT and OEE

When we have conversations with manufacturing leaders around the country there are two topics that are brought up more than any others. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

Aren't IIoT and OEE extremely different?

At first glance, these two topics appear to be on opposite ends of the technology spectrum. IIoT is new and cutting edge. IIoT promises predictive analytics running on cloud platforms, minimizing infrastructure costs. With IIoT, your machines will tell you what they need before they need it. Everything is possible with IIoT.

OEE has been used in industry for decades, and typically runs on premise. There is nothing predictive about OEE. It records machine events, and reports what happened so you can take action against it and prevent it in the future. OEE is a key component of continuous improvement programs. OEE systems continue to work for their users, and don't receive the same media attention that IIoT does.

Why write a blog post on both IIoT and OEE?

Let's start with IIoT, and examine what it really is. Depending on which product or company you read about, IIoT can be presented as many different things. The common them, however, is the need to collect data from the "Things", which in the case of manufacturing is the equipment. The data is stored and analyzed to produce either real time or predictive information for the users.

Now let's take a look at OEE. Just like IIoT, OEE systems connect to equipment and collect data. In the case of OEE, the data collected is very well defined and specific. Machine run times and down time events are recorded to calculate Availability. Production counts are recorded to calculate Performance. Rejection counts are recorded to calculate Quality. Together these three metrics are multiplied to produce the OEE number.

As users start to define shifts, equipment layouts and unique processes, OEE can become more complex. Here at Toward Zero we have some strong beliefs on the right decisions to make when selecting and configuring your OEE system, but we'll cover that in a different blog post. For now let's focus on the common theme between OEE and IIoT. Both of these technologies require data from your equipment.

I can use the same infrastructure for both IIoT and OEE?

If you invest in the network infrastructure to connect your equipment to either an OEE system or an IIoT system, you can use that same infrastructure to feed data to the other system. You can also use it to provide data to other systems in the plant, like planning and scheduling systems, or your ERP. You can use the data to automatically trigger preventative maintenance in your CMMS based on the actual run time hours of machine components, instead of scheduling maintenance using the calendar.

Even today with all the buzz around IIoT, we see most companies starting their IIoT journey by implementing an OEE system. OEE systems are proven, and the network used to collect data for OEE can be used to collect data for future IIoT systems.

It's a great place to start! If you'd like help selecting an OEE system that matches your existing Culture and Process, we offer a free OEE Software Selectiong Guide to help you narrow your search to the 5 vendors that fit your unique requirements.  We love helping companies reduce their manufacturing waste, and selecting the right OEE system is an improtant first step in your IIoT journey.

Written by Aaron Muhl

Aaron is the Co-Founder of Toward Zero, and is passionate about the role manufacturing plays in our society and quality of life.