Thanks to robotics, innovative software tools and new technologies like 3D printing, companies can create more for less, and at a faster rate than ever before. The result is higher production output and significantly lower costs. Here is what to expect beyond 2018.
Robotics and Automation
Robotics is not a new occurrence in manufacturing, bringing speed, precision and automation to the process. But new robotics is increasingly targeting the manufacturing flow process itself, ensuring volume production is higher and of better quality, with virtually minimum interruptions, faults, and rejects.
In the future, artificial intelligence-enabled robotics and machinery are expected to fully automate the production cycle, which will pose challenges for the manufacturing workforce.
Industrial IoT (IIoT) and AI
The new buzzword in manufacturing is Industrial IoT (IIoT). Internet of Things (IoT) has transformed factory machinery and equipment. Robots and devices can now communicate and exchange data with each other, monitor the manufacturing workflow and automatically respond to process changes, errors, and incidents.
Sensor-enabled machinery can easily optimise the manufacturing process through the continuous collection of data and feedback relay, ensuring better performance and results.
As AI algorithms advance in sophistication, the industry will continue towards full automation and optimisation of the manufacturing process.
The product development process, which includes the making of prototypes, has been disrupted by the time-saving and cheaper alternative of 3D printing. Through this process, product creation is simulating using a single capable machine.
The technology has reduced time-to-market and new product investment, with optimistic adoption in high-volume productions in the coming years.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Product creation and design have been further simplified thanks to the augmented reality technology, which allows manufacturers to develop and test various scenarios before production.
In addition to product development, the technology can be employed to collect valuable process data and improve operational efficiency.
Business Intelligence (BI)
Intelligent decision-making software is a vital component of the manufacturing process as enterprises increase the number of machinery, robots, production lines, and workflows.
With the advent of technologies like AI, AR and IIoT, companies have to deal with greater volumes of data, scaling demand for data-driven analytics and processes powered by business intelligence (BI) architecture.
Manufacturers need to know which data is essential to use, and what to discard, and how to optimise manufacturing performance based on the relevant data – which is why BI-enabled management software has become the essential backbone in the industry.
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