Technology & IT for Manufacturing: Intelligent Manufacturing Trends and Challenges

The term manufacturing often triggers a thought of the 1913 introduction of Henry Ford’s assembly lines. This brought mass production, standardization, and reduction of production time to manufacturing everywhere. Thanks to this, production went up and prices could go down: A win-win for all parties involved.

Existing ideas about manufacturing were mixed with some invention and the outcome was improvement that benefited both the manufacturers’ bottom lines and consumers’ pockets. That’s sort of what is beginning to happen with the new concept of intelligent manufacturing, except the latest developments add unsurpassed power and smarts with the help of modern technologies.

What makes it so intelligent?

Intelligent manufacturing aims to do so much more than integrate robotics and other automation to the labor force. It also aims to come up with entirely new methods for making things, using data as a base for progress.

With all the demands from customers, and big data more available than ever to give new insights about processes and results, intelligent manufacturing could potentially pull together a product closer than ever to “exactly” what goods are required to satisfy customers. Add to that the expectations of on-demand instant services. Then factor in the fact that consumers want minimal negative impact on the environment to get what they want and need. Intelligent manufacturing fits into the future of goods production as a driving force.

Digital Twinning

Want insights and forward projecting of how a real device can be expected to perform over time, and how it can be improved? Well, a “digital twin” can be used to do that. This is a replica of some physical thing that exists virtually for this very purpose. The concept has been around for a long time, but technology advances have brought digital twinning to a place where it could become an essential part of modern manufacturing.

AR and VR

The worlds of augmented and virtual reality are finally starting to change the manufacturing process in the way they said they would when they first hit the scene.

Products can be created, tested, and shared accurately for a fraction of the cost to the creator of making the physical prototype. Huge possibilities exist for the ways companies repair and maintain hardware using these technologies, too. A good example is with repairs: They could look at broken or faulty components and machines and the augmented reality headset could help them see how it should be fixed!

Smart Manufacturers Stay Safe

As remote management comes into play, probabilities of having the system be compromised while the internet involved is inevitably growing. An absolutely crucial piece of this puzzle therefore becomes the security of it: Ensuring that hackers and other potential compromises stay out. Keep workflows and physical safety safe and secure!

What about everything else?

“Everything-as-a-service” (XaaS) is beginning to change business as a whole. It is decreasing purchase requirements and replacing that with subscription and as-needed basis hiring and buying. Although it means fewer goods sold, it gives manufacturers a chance to cut out middlemen and carry out direct transactions with end consumers. This means greater profitability on the part of the manufacturer!

Big changes are ahead for manufacturing.
There’s so much to be excited about, but it can be scary, too. Change is hard!
That said, who wouldn’t want manufacturing to be smarter, faster, and ultimately easier?! Everyone standard to benefit from this evolution.

Interested in learning more about how manufacturers like you are evaluating and improving their operations to become more profitable? Get in touch with us!

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