Cisco—the multinational technology conglomerate, predicts that there will be fifty billion connected devices by 2020. This will impact many industries including the manufacturing industry. Here is everything you need to know about the future of the manufacturing industry and the technologies that will enable it.
Today, manufacturing is undergoing the biggest change that it has undergone in over a century and as such, the future of manufacturing has become a hot topic. Globalization has already evaporated domestic jobs from many countries and automation threatens to replace even more workers there.
Technology is fast changing how goods and products that fuel economies are built and delivered and this trend is only going to get stronger in the future. Here is everything you need to know about the future of manufacturing technologies and how they will transform the industry.
How Technology is Transforming Manufacturing
From computer vision in warehouses to robotics in R & D labs, technology is having an impact on every step of the manufacturing process. Today, many factories operate autonomously and require no human presence. While this may sound futuristic, such factories have been a reality for over a decade now. From warehouse equipment to unmanned transport vehicles to machining equipment, everything is factory is operated by computer-controlled robots and a central control system allows the technical staff to monitor the activities of these machines.
You no longer required hundreds of workers to keep a factory operational. Automation and robotics have helped to reduce that workforce by almost ten times and all predictions are that it will be reduced by 20 times in the future. Today, a host of technologies are driving the future of manufacturing. These include IoT devices that are expected to reach fifty billion by 2020 and predictive data analytics—an advanced manufacturing technology required for driving future competitiveness.
The development and integration of smart factories and industry 4.0 are other important developments too look at when considering the future of manufacturing technologies, with analysis of industry 4.0—the new wave of automation and digitization, being of particular importance.
Understanding the Role of Technology in the Manufacturing Process
To understand how technology is transforming manufacturing, you need to dive into the manufacturing process and how technology is changing it. Here is how technology is changing the different steps of the manufacturing process:
Product R & D
Artificial intelligence (AI) is aiding materials science, and intelligent platforms are democratizing R & D talent. Additionally, an AR or VR headset could be the drafting board of tomorrow. All this is transforming the product R & D process.
Resource Planning and Resourcing
Blockchain projects and on-demand decentralized manufacturing are being used to work on the complexities of integrating suppliers.
Operations Technology Monitoring and Machine Data
Technology is helping to power future factories. Factories are already exposed to basic digitization and in the future, they will have greater predictive power.
Labor Augmentation and Management
Human capabilities are being augmented on the factory floor by AR, wearables and exoskeletons.
Machining, Production and Assembly
Modular equipment and custom machines such as 3D printers are enabling manufacturers to handle greater demand for variety.
Quality Assurance (QA)
Future technology is expected to improve quality assurance. How exactly? computer vision will find imperfections, while software and blockchain tech will quickly identify problems and implement recalls.
With the help of robotics and vision tracking, warehouses of the future will quickly know new warehouse demand, which will help to improve warehouse operations.
Transport and Supply Chain Management
Manufactures delivering their products will be able to achieve greater efficiency and granularity with IoT, autonomous vehicles and telematics.
Manufacturing in the Future
In 2017, manufacturers predicted overall efficiency to grow annually over the next five years at 7 times the rate of growth since 1990. The main reason for this is the technological advancement in the manufacturing industry.
New technology is changing manufacturing drastically, and nearly every manufactured product—from vehicles to electronics to pharmaceuticals, will be impacted. While the technology and timeline may vary for each sector, almost all manufacturing sectors will see improvements due to the use of technology. Following are some of the ways how:
A More Profound Look at Things
To help the stimulate the design process and the assembly line before an actual product is created, new tools are allowing companies to create and test situations in the virtual world. This can help cut down on manufacturing time and ensure the manufacturing process delivers what you intended to create.
3-D Product Design
By enabling seamless creation of tangible products with a single machine, 3-D printing is making a mark in the manufacturing world. Since it provides you with more possibilities for designing a part, you can consider 3-D product design as fundamental change. By recycling plastic and cutting down on the wait time for replacement parts and transportation, 3-d printing helps reduce waste.
A vital part of the manufacturing industry’s future is automation. Automation can help you achieve a level of accuracy and productivity beyond human ability. The new generation of robotics is not only easier to program, but also easier to use, with capabilities such as voice and image recognition re-creating complex human tasks.
Intelligent Factories in the Cloud
Advancements in cloud computing and smart sensors are evident in today’s factory environments. Smart sensors can convert data into different units of measurement, communicate with other machines, record statistics and feedback and shut off devices if a safety or performance issue arises.
On the other hand, cloud computing enables you to extract and analyze information that affects the production line. Additionally, IoT solutions can help you to track and analyze production quotas, consolidate control rooms, and create models of predictive maintenance.
From the above, it is evident that technology is transforming and will continue to transform the manufacturing industry. To know more about the future of manufacturing technologies, get in touch with us today!
by Bobby J Davidson
We love our company and we love what we do. Check out the ‘Why Percento‘ page to learn more: Love of Technology and Business! As the President of Percento Technologies International, I provide day-to-day leadership to the company’s senior management and I am personally involved in the strategy, business development and sales activities of the firm.
The company was founded in 1999 with the purpose of providing a one call source for organizations in need of Enterprise IT Consulting and Management. We also provide a line of products in the boutique Cloud Server space with a touch of high-end website strategy consulting and design services. We personalizes the IT Service experience with a team approach, working with clients from diverse sectors of industry, including energy services, financial, legal, entertainment, healthcare, hospitality, retail and general and/or corporate business.
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