How wireless sensors enable a sustainable manufacturing industry

How wireless sensors enable a sustainable manufacturing industry

Sustainable manufacturing is more critical now than ever. UN estimates that our global population will be 9.7 billion by 2050. Developing a sustainable industry is crucial to accommodating the coming masses without depleting our natural resources. IoT and wireless sensors are vital pieces of the puzzle that enable green manufacturing.

Our ever-increasing demand for food and consumer goods leads to a never-ending industrial expansion. It puts an enormous strain on our natural resources. Luckily, the dawn of industry 4.0-manufacturing steers us toward a more sustainable industry.

Cleantech and green manufacturing promote production efficiency and environmental sustainability. It starts with digital connectivity, IoT, and sensor implementation.

«The fourth industrial revolution is still in its nascent state … the time to join in is now.»

Gary Coleman – Deloitte

Stage one of Industry 4.0 is recognized by improved productivity, quality, efficiency, and risk management. IoT, cloud computing, and sensors are the foundation of the digital connectivity that makes Industry 4.0 possible.

Fortunately, Industry 4.0 promotes both environmental sustainability and profitability. Our future looks much less bleak when sustainable manufacturing is the key to staying competitive, but we must get even smarter to stimulate a sustainable industry.

Before getting into how wireless sensors enable sustainable manufacturing, let’s quickly look at sensor deployment in society in general. The prelude to Industry 4.0 was when smart technology started improving our daily lives.


  1. Smart cities enable sustainable industry, one IoT sensor at the time
  2. Industry 4.0 manufacturing – How sensors beget sustainability
  3. Four sustainable manufacturing examples
  4. Towards a brighter future with sustainable manufacturing

Smart cities enable sustainable industry, one IoT sensor at the time

We all got a lot brighter with smartphones in our hands. And it didn’t take long before clever minds expanded the concept to smart homes. Algorithms and IoT started the all-encompassing digital synchronization that is now streamlining our daily lives.

Sensors might not be overtly prevalent in your smart home, but streamlining society and industries is another matter. Smart cities would not be functional without copious amounts of IoT sensors, nor would smart factories.

The talk of smarter cities has been prattling since the 2000s, but not until the 2010s did smart city developments kick into second gear. In line with the advance of IoT technology, cities got smarter as IoT became more commonplace.

Today, smart city sensors collect data from citizens, devices, buildings, vehicles, power grids, water supplies, sewage pipes, and more. The data makes many processes more efficient, like traffic, power distribution, water/waste management, etc.

The more effective smart cities get, the more sparingly resources are spent, and a sustainable lifestyle is provided for the citizens. Not surprisingly, the combination of financial and environmental sustainability also appeals to the industrial sector.

Industry 4.0 manufacturing – How sensors beget sustainability

IoT monitoring is a key feature of Industry 4.0. It gives manufacturers more detailed information about their operation than ever before. This information enables them to identify wasteful production routines and increase efficiency.

Implementation of IoT monitoring paves the way for sustainable manufacturing. Detailed production information facilitates energy savings, eliminates unnecessary maintenance, and reduces wasting of resources.

Efficient IoT monitoring requires extensive smart sensor installment. Wireless sensors are the best option since they are produced with fewer resources and are much cheaper than cabled sensor solutions.

Once smart sensor networks are installed, they can detect how energy is spent in all facets of production. This overview makes it easy to detect unnecessary energy usage and take measures to conserve energy expenditures.


Neuron Ampere

The Ampere Sensor measures AC current and comes in several ranges from 10A to 500A RMS. The sensor comes with split core and is therefore easy to install onto existing power cables. 

Another benefit of IoT monitoring is more efficient equipment maintenance. Smart sensors enable accurate machine surveillance. This insight tells you how hard machinery can be pushed without damage and when it needs care.

This kind of equipment upkeep is called predictive maintenance. It promotes sustainable manufacturing by preventing unnecessary overhauls or upgrades. It also eliminates the need for storing backup materials and prolongs equipment lifespan.

Industry 4.0 manufacturing sets up factories for sustainable production. By IoT monitoring, you get total resource control and can balance both supply and production to demand. This is important because it limits the overuse of vital resources and combats the symptomatic overproduction of a throwaway society.


Neuron Vibration Sensor

The Neuron Vibration measures vibration level and surface temperature every two minutes. The sensor has an embedded magnet at the back for easy installation.

Four sustainable manufacturing examples

So far, we’ve considered the theoretical merits of IIoT and industry 4.0. To better understand the practical application of IoT monitoring, let’s discuss four sustainable industry examples.

1. Smart sensors, smart savings, sustainable manufacturing

Naturally, limiting machinery energy consumption is preferential, but that is just one part of industrial energy expenditures. Heating and lighting require much energy in sizeable industry facilities.

For instance, the car industry has historically been an early adaptor of automation technology. IoT monitoring streamlines their automated manufacturing, but equipment sensors can only calculate part of their energy equation.

On average, out of all energy consumed in manufacturing industries, 11 percent is spent on heating and as much as 37 percent on lighting. In other words, close to half the energy expended at car factories might be on utilities. If we bring water, sewage, and waste disposal into the equation, it could be much more.

It all boils down to the fact that many industries can greatly economize their energy consumption with IoT monitoring. Synchronized surveillance combined with temperature, lighting, and equipment adjustment is a good starting point.

El-Watch provides smart sensors for many purposes, like temperature monitoring and various equipment monitoring. All monitoring data is easily administered in our Neuron Sensor App.

2. Wireless temperature sensors minimize food waste

Food industry regulations are strict, for a good reason, but it causes much waste. The temperature must be kept low, from producer to wholesaler, to grocers and restaurants, and finally to consumers. The so-called «cold chain» must not be broken.

Food authorities demand proper documentation of unbroken cold chains, which IoT monitoring can provide. IoT sensors in farms, slaughterhouses, trucks, freezers, storage rooms, and refrigerators make it easy to follow regulations.

Better monitoring means better documentation, less food loss, and minimized waste. The global food industry is far from environmentally friendly, which is why every little step toward a sustainable food industry is a victory.

Wireless sensors in the food industry ensure food safety and promote sustainability. Another step towards sustainable food production is to change industrial farming practices. Yet again, wireless sensors and IoT monitoring play a vital part.


Neuron Temperature IP67

The Neuron Temperature IP67 is a small and compact sensor for measuring temperature and suited for a wide range of applications. 

3. IoT sensors enable digital transformation in farming

Animal agriculture, land degradation, and water shortages are causes and symptoms of environmental breakdown. Industrial farming rapidly depletes our natural resources. Many countermeasures are currently being engaged, with IoT monitoring at its core.

Vertical farming is gaining much traction these days since it effectively eliminates land degradation and freshwater pollution. Indoor farms recycle all water and cultivate nutritious plants without pesticides, and they do it through strict IoT monitoring.

Vertical farms are brimful of wireless sensors. They monitor temperature, humidity, soil moisture, etc. Computers and smartphone apps control the entire operation. However, v-farms cannot combat all the damage done by traditional agriculture.

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Precision farming by IoT sustainability

IoT sustainability might change our agricultural ways for the better. For instance, many plants go wasted due to poor crop conditions. IoT monitoring can significantly improve crop management and bring an end to such practices.

Moreover, in the last 50 years, pesticide use in traditional agriculture has increased eightfold. It has intensified crop cultivation, leading to land exploitation, extensive water pollution, and increased CO2 emissions.

By implementing IoT monitoring via temperature sensors, humidity sensors, equipment sensors, etc., farmers can better monitor their land and assets. This, in turn, makes them better equipped to prevent environmental breakdown while increasing productivity.

It’s a massive undertaking to change global farming methods. Most governments are heavily invested in this. Many of their initiatives steer the farming industry toward digital transformation. IoT and wireless sensors are crucial pieces of the puzzle.

Towards a brighter future with sustainable manufacturing

A sustainable industry’s real impact lies in combining all smart solutions. When all IoT systems are synchronized, they will adapt to each other and increase the environmental benefits tenfold. Then, we’ll see the true power of IoT sustainability.

Just imagine suppliers, factories, transporters, wholesalers, and waste-managing companies joining a common information platform. Then, supply can truly fit the demand without excess, underproduction, or wasted resources.

Allocation of resources is a crucial benefit of Industry 4.0. Synchronizing processes between smart factories, smart transport, smart suppliers, and smart cities enables more efficient use of materials, energy, water, workforce, and products.

Industrial symbiosis allows efficient coordination of resources, from production to reuse, between suppliers, producers, and users. The true potential of sustainable manufacturing has yet to be reached, but we’re getting there. Each wireless sensor takes us one step closer.

Ready to try wireless sensors?

Please contact our Sales Manager for some good advice and a nice sensor- chat.


Advances in Mechanical Engineering: The sustainable manufacturing concept, evolution, and opportunities within Industry 4.0: A literature review
TU Berlin: Opportunities of Sustainable Manufacturing in Industry 4.0
Digi: What Is Clean Tech and How Is IoT Enabling It?
IFAC: Maintenance for Sustainability in the Industry 4.0 context
International Journal of Production Research: Sustainable manufacturing in Industry 4.0
Nokia: Industry 4.0: «Think value, not tech»
Sensors International: Significance of sensors for industry 4.0
United Nations: The World Population Prospects: 2015 Revision
University of São Paulo: Manufacturing in the fourth industrial revolution: A positive prospect in Sustainable Manufacturing


Further reading