Industrial automation

Empowering smart manufacturing
through industrial automation

Industrial automation is driving the manufacturing landscape forward, supported by a rapidly evolving digital transformation. Leveraging this digital shift is essential to staying competitive and thriving in the Industry 4.0 era.

In this context, industrial IoT solutions benefit individual workers and contribute to the overall improvement of smart factories, manufacturing plants, and construction sites. Comprehensive connectivity can benefit various facets of smart, digital, and automated manufacturing.

Industry 4.0 encompasses a holistic approach to digitizing the entire production process, spanning from the acquisition of raw materials to product delivery. This approach optimizes resource efficiency, resulting in a higher degree of individualization.

The fusion of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions with industrial automation and monitoring has been transformative for the future of smart manufacturing. IIoT has become the cornerstone of modern manufacturing practices, from advancing industrial robots to optimizing factory automation.

The role of IIoT in smart manufacturing

Smart manufacturing involves integrating various digital technologies into industrial automation processes and machinery to improve efficiency, productivity, and agility.

At the heart of this transformation lies the IIoThings, which facilitates the seamless connectivity of industrial devices, sensors, and machines. IIoT technologies allow smart factories to monitor, control, and optimize operations in real time, enabling predictive maintenance, remote monitoring, and autonomous decision-making.

Industrial robots, equipped with IIoT sensors and automation control systems, play a central role in smart manufacturing. They can collaborate with human workers to streamline production processes, enhance precision, and improve worker safety.

By leveraging IIoT solutions, manufacturing robots can adapt to dynamic environments, perform complex tasks more efficiently, and help build the ‘factory of the future.’

Connectivity and factory automation

IIoT relies heavily on connectivity to ensure smooth communication between devices, sensors, and backend systems.

In factory automation, IIoT connectivity virtually facilitates real-time data exchange, allowing automation control systems, for instance SCADA and MES, to orchestrate production workflows with precision and efficiency.

From machine automation to industrial monitoring, connectivity is the linchpin that drives operational excellence in smart factories.

Big data analytics is another tool to unlock actionable insights from the vast amounts of data generated by IIoT-enabled devices.

Industrial monitoring solutions use big data analytics to identify patterns, trends, and anomalies in manufacturing and beyond. By harnessing advanced analytics techniques, manufacturers can extract valuable intelligence to optimize operations, enhance product quality, and proactively intervene to prevent downtime and improve asset utilization.

The emergence of the smart factory

The smart factory represents a significant shift in manufacturing innovation, where IIoT-enabled technologies converge to create a highly automated, data-driven ecosystem.

Smart factories optimize efficiency, flexibility, and scalability by integrating industrial automation systems, smart tools, and manufacturing robots. IIoT solutions serve as the foundations of the smart factory, virtually enabling real-time visibility into production processes, predictive maintenance, and adaptive manufacturing capabilities.

Key IIoT technology for smart manufacturing

Although wired connectivity is integral to automation, wireless technologies are increasingly becoming more meaningful.

u-blox offers a variety of Wi-Fi, LTE, and Bluetooth-based low-energy modules that facilitate seamless connectivity, data exchange, and automation control. These offerings are among the key technologies driving the evolution of smart factories.


LTE Cat 1bis and LTE Cat 4 cellular modules support industrial automation and monitoring technologies in diverse environments, including remote oil fields, mines, agricultural fields, and manufacturing plants, where Wi-Fi coverage is limited. Cellular technology also enables independent communication from local networks and independent connectivity as it does not interfere with the factory floor network. This opens the possibility of separate production and maintenance.

LTE Cat 4 modules provide reliable cellular connectivity, which is ideal for remote environments. They facilitate online monitoring, remote control, and asset localization with high-speed data transmission and low latency. Apart from supporting the more bandwidth demand, these modules provide reliable connectivity, allowing operators to access critical data about assets, environmental conditions, equipment performance, and control systems from anywhere, anytime.

LTE Cat 1bis modules also provide reliable connectivity for IIoT applications, enabling bidirectional data transmission for remote monitoring and easy industrial process control. The modules extend automation capabilities to remote locations, ensuring seamless integration with existing infrastructure and offering scalability and flexibility for diverse industrial environments. Integrated into IoT sensors, controllers, and gateways, LTE Cat 1bis modules enable operators to virtually monitor critical parameters in real-time, such as temperature, pressure, and power consumption.

Security features such as encryption protocols and authentication mechanisms ensure the confidentiality and integrity of data transmitted over cellular networks. Meanwhile, the modules’ reliable connectivity and low latency guarantee uninterrupted mission operation for businesses in critical scenarios.

Similarly, our Wi-Fi 6 IoT modules deliver significant value in smart manufacturing. Wi-Fi 6 leverages advanced features such as orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA) and multi-user multiple input, multiple output (MU-MIMO) to optimize spectral efficiency and accommodate various connected devices.

Using these functions, these modules facilitate seamless communication between IoT devices, sensors, and backend systems, enabling on-the-fly data exchange and control signal transmission.

This allows manufacturers to deploy robust IoT networks that support diverse industrial applications, from real-time monitoring to remote control and data analysis.

In industrial monitoring, Wi-Fi 6 modules enable wireless sensor networks for asset control, environmental monitoring, and predictive maintenance. They allow for high-throughput data transmission and continuous equipment health and performance monitoring.

Low-power Bluetooth modules are another essential component of industrial IoT solutions, particularly in battery-operated devices and applications requiring long-term deployment.

They facilitate connectivity between sensors, actuators, and control systems, which is crucial for applications prioritizing power efficiency and reliability. In industrial automation, these modules are critical for the cost-efficient deployment of wireless sensor nodes and actuators in harsh environments, such as manufacturing floors.

In monitoring applications, they support connecting many IoT sensors for environmental monitoring, worker tracking, and predictive maintenance, ensuring continuous data transmission for centralized monitoring systems.

With its support for 2G, 3G, LTE, and LTE-M, MQTT Anywhere offers versatile and secure IoT connectivity, ideal for data delivery.

CloudLocate, through the use of different technologies (GNSS, Wi-Fi, and Cel), leverages cloud-based positioning calculation and energy-efficient tracking capabilities to deliver precise location information. This solution’s ability to work with constrained radio technologies and its compatibility with any hardware IoT device ensures seamless integration into existing industrial monitoring.

IoT is revolutionizing industrial automation and monitoring by driving efficiency, innovation, and value creation in smart manufacturing. By embracing connectivity, leveraging big data analytics, and adopting IoT-enabled products, OEMs can optimize operations, transform business models, and deliver superior customer experiences.

As the IoT ecosystem evolves, the synergy between industrial automation and IoT will pave the way for a more innovative and connected future.

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