Challenges in mechanical engineering and how IoT helps

Current developments and challenges for IoT in mechanical engineering

Mechanical engineering faces numerous challenges, especially in the realm of digitalization. Implementing IoT technologies is a major market trend, offering both opportunities and challenges.

  • Innovation pressure from digitalization: A recent Bearing Point study shows that 79% of respondents see Industry 4.0 as an enabler for achieving sustainability goals. Sustainability is a significant trend and driver in mechanical engineering, yet implementation lags behind. The main reasons are a lack of resources and the complexity of software implementation. AI and low-code platforms may offer solutions in the coming years.
  • Connectivity and data security: According to an Eclipse IoT study, connectivity is the top priority in IoT implementation. With increasing digitalization, the demands for data security and IT/OT security rise. Although the relevance is high, practical implementation remains challenging.

Challenges in defining sustainable business cases for digital applications

Many mechanical engineers struggle to define sustainable business cases for digital applications. Several factors contribute to this:

  • Customer requirements: Most customers prioritize machine productivity. The value of digitalization is often misunderstood, complicating the creation of sustainable business cases.
  • Industry differences: Challenges vary greatly between industries.
  • Lack of KPIs and use cases: Clearly defined KPIs and use cases demonstrating the value of IoT applications are missing. Additionally, there is often a lack of software engineering expertise. Companies focus on commissioning devices rather than planning and developing sustainable use cases.
  • Technology complexity: IoT solutions can be complex and costly. Companies need to weigh benefits against investment costs and demonstrate clear advantages.
  • Data challenges: Collecting and analyzing IoT data can be difficult. Companies need the right infrastructure and processes to utilize data effectively.

Why is IoT important for mechanical engineering?

Digitalization and technological innovation are now unavoidable changes affecting every industry. In mechanical engineering, the Internet of Things (IoT) plays a crucial role.

  • Real-time data and efficiency: IoT enables the networking of machines and systems, allowing real-time data collection and analysis. This data opens new possibilities to make industrial production more sustainable, efficient, and productive.
  • New business models: IoT-based solutions will soon generate a significant portion of mechanical engineering revenue. Entirely new business models will emerge, including digital products and services that can generate recurring revenue.
  • Future-proofing: More efficient machines and new sustainable business models are the only way for mechanical engineers to achieve sustainability goals and align with a circular economy. Digitalization in mechanical engineering is not a question of if, but when. Companies that successfully implement IoT technologies gain a competitive edge and can operate more successfully in the long term.

Conclusion

Integrating IoT in mechanical engineering offers immense opportunities but also presents challenges. Companies must address these challenges to fully leverage the benefits of digitalization. Sustainability, efficiency, and new business models are the key concepts shaping the future of mechanical engineering.

 

Sources:

https://www.bearingpoint.com/de-de/publikationen-and-events/publikationen/industrie-40-die-unvollendete-revolution

https://newsroom.eclipse.org/news/announcements/eclipse-foundation-unveils-2023-iot-and-edge-commercial-adoption-survey-insights