Prime Advantage has invited industry experts to share insights on achieving manufacturing and business success. In this post, tech enthusiast and freelance writer, Heather Redding, discusses the technologies changing the face of manufacturing.
Like all industries, the world of manufacturing is in the midst of a technological revolution. Traditional industries are being reshaped by technical innovation and things are getting more competitive and faster moving than ever. It's important for businesses to understand the latest technology trends and use this knowledge to bring new products to market and improve processes. In addition to products being improved and costs lowered, the customer experience is being enhanced through customization and speed. Here are some technology trends that are driving the future of manufacturing.
Manufacturing was one of the first industries to implement artificial intelligence by using robots for product assembly. Smart sensors can be embedded in machinery and this enables failure monitoring and prediction in real time. Identifying potential areas of failure can help you avoid catastrophic collapse while also reducing downtime and maintenance costs. Artificial intelligence helps keep production schedules on time and minimizes the impact of inevitable mechanical issues. It's safe to say that we are headed towards a largely robotic manufacturing industry, even though with the growing trend of collaborative robots, the human support and supervision will still be needed.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a revolutionary technology that allows communication between electronic devices connected to each other within the existing Internet infrastructure, without human intervention. Also known as Industry 4.0, the IoT is empowering manufacturers to have greater transparency over their operations. With IoT, connected devices are able to "talk" to each other and send/receive critical notifications. This can come in handy when a device detects a failure and sends a notification to another device or user. This type of application results in reduced costs and increased quality. A manufacturing company can use the IoT to track a variety of metrics.
Additive manufacturing, better known as 3D printing, enables greater customization, which is encouraging a new direction in industrial manufacturing. It is now possible to produce almost any component using plastic, metal, and mixed materials. In their simplest application, 3D printers take raw materials and combine them to make real-world objects by using schematics. Although additive manufacturing has been growing impressively in the automotive and aerospace industries, computer numerical control (CNC) machining still has greater advantages and continues to be the go-to for most manufacturers. The implementation of additive manufacturing can transform operations in areas such as prototyping and inventory management.
The practice of cloud computing involves using a central network of Internet-connected remote services along with various points for the storage, management, and processing of data. Many companies in the business world are using cloud computing but the manufacturing industry is still taking the time to warm up to this technology due to concerns with connectivity and security. Cloud-based systems allow manufacturers to consolidate sales and marketing efforts while also having automated updating without the pitfalls of downtime. Manufacturers are always seeking new ways to streamline operations and enhance productivity and profitability, and cloud computing allows this to be accomplished.
The manufacturing industry has been experiencing rapid, significant changes thanks to some key technology trends. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, the IoT, and additive manufacturing will drive the future of manufacturing. It's important for you to understand these trends and make the most of the possible applications of them within your organization. The biggest changes in the industry will seem subtle and in due time there will be more demand-driven manufacturing, empowering the supply chain.