Which Technologies Are Having the Biggest Impact on the Manufacturing Industry?
What was once known simply as the Industrial Revolution is now considered the First Industrial Revolution, as other revolutions have followed. In fact, we are now experiencing what is being called the Fourth Industrial Revolution. As happens with every revolution, dramatic change is underway. Currently, it is digital technology that is having a massive effect on the manufacturing industry.
Virtually every aspect of manufacturing is benefiting from developing technologies. This includes planning and design, supply chain, sales, and more. Here are some of the top technologies disrupting the manufacturing industry.
The manufacturing industry generates a tremendous amount of data with each step of the manufacturing process. Huge numbers of machines are used across both national and international sites.
Big data has proven to be invaluable to manufacturing. By making use of cloud technology and advanced algorithms, it is possible to spread and distribute vast amounts of data in real time. This provides a significant advantage to decision-makers, making greater efficiency possible.
3D printing is an exciting technology that brings many benefits, including the ability to mass-produce products in a manner that is much more cost-effective than before, while also making it possible to customize those products according to the customer’s desires.
3D printers produce three-dimensional objects in a variety of forms, with an assortment of materials. Whether printing with gold, silver, titanium, plastic, or other materials, the printer creates the object layer-by-layer, with a laser beam solidifying them into a whole.
Even though 3D printing is still in its early stages, it already offers huge advantages in terms of cost and speed. Further development will see a broader range of materials come into use, and the creation of more complex designs. This in turn will lead to greater innovation.
The Digital Supply Chain
Today’s digital supply chain bears little resemblance to the supply chain of yore. With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), a tremendous amount of data is now being captured and used to provide real-time feedback along every part of the supply chain.
When combined with Big Data the IoT also proves useful in determining weaknesses in the supply chain, such as outdated equipment. As a result, overall efficiency is improved. Insight into the supply chain can be further improved by the use of Artificial Intelligence (see below).
The insight provided covers all aspects of the supply chain, allowing for improvements to be made to everything from ordering, warehousing, transport, staffing needs and more. The result is a more streamlined, quicker manufacturing process.
The next frontier of digital marketing lies with Artificial Intelligence. Soon, AI will be used to improve everything from supply chains to the customization of consumer products. It will be responsible for entirely new and innovative business models.
Generative design represents an exciting new application of AI. This involves designers and engineers specifying the parameters for cost, materials and methods of manufacture and having the AI create and test a wide range of designs. The AI can do this much faster than traditional methods.
AI on its own is set to provide manufacturers with tremendous possibilities for bringing their product to market faster and more cost-effectively than ever before, but each of these technologies is something that businesses should be aware of. By exploring them and taking full advantage of what they offer, businesses have a chance to remain ahead of the competition.