Manufacturing technology continues to move at what seems like the speed of light, and if you don’t keep up, it makes it difficult to stay competitive in today’s shrinking marketplace that features competitors not just down the street anymore, but also worldwide. Knowing what types of technological advances are out there will help you to stay on top of it all and ensure you are operating successfully (and competitively). Here’s a look at the top manufacturing tech trends to watch for in 2018 — some new, and some you may recognize:
IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) – this connective technology between operational devices, systems, and software continues to grow and provide manufacturers with data that can be converted into everything from managing processes to monitoring conditions to predicting problems to tracking valuable information.
The Cloud – Cloud-based ERP systems offer many advantages, including increased data storage and real-time access to data and applications across the internet. With the integration of new technologies, The Cloud has become even more beneficial to the manufacturing industry, allowing for increased efficiencies, controlled costs, and management of everything from sales and purchase orders, to production, scheduling, and planning. In fact, manufacturing services of all kinds can be managed and operated in an intelligent and unified manner across the entire product lifecycle, from design, to simulation, to production, testing and maintenance.
Analytics – Analyzing the data you track provides you with powerful insights from which smarter, more predictive decisions can be made. This is a key component to successfully competing in your market. Knowing how things are operating, what seems to be effective, and what’s not, and predicting and solving problems before they happen, allows you the ability to make adjustments that will decrease costs and downtime, and boost productivity and quality.
Robotic Automation – while they’ve played a role for quite some time now, the integration of robots in the world of manufacturing continues to rise, allowing for better precision, consistency, productivity and safety. Programming is easier than ever, enabling robots the ability to duplicate and perform increasingly complex tasks with a high level of quality and speed.
Augmented Reality – simulation tools enable manufacturers to use computer-generated scenarios to develop and test products, problem-solve, track inventory, and gain insights into operational efficiency, all before a physical product even exists. It’s low-cost, low-risk and can even be used to facilitate complicated assemblies, and train employees.
3D printing – The ability to 3D print saves time and money by creating prototypes in the product development process, thus reducing new product investment and increasing product-to-market turnaround. This technology is anticipated to facilitate higher-volume production at a faster rate, and soon have the ability to use an even wider range of metals and materials.
OT and IT Convergence – the line between operational technology (devices, sensors and software controlling and monitoring equipment) and information technology (technologies supporting information processing and storing) continues to blur, and with their convergence comes reductions in cost and risk, as well as enhanced performance, flexibility, and efficiency.
Digital Platforms – these technology-enabled business models are used to facilitate interactions with third party partners who share data and intellectual property. Such platforms are beneficial in that they allow companies to exchange value and create and quickly produce new products and services at a reduced cost. 2018 is predicted to be a big year for manufacturing apps and software usability. Software providers are making major improvements to interface designs with the goal of increasing customer attraction and retention. Hop on board, and you can expect more usable, flexible and configurable manufacturing apps to help fulfill your needs, from your main frame to your smart phone.
Embedded Intelligence – this technology is taking the manufacturing industry by storm, allowing products, programs and processes to analyze and report on their own operational performance, fine-tune themselves and carry on at a more productive and efficient rate. With embedded intelligence, systems essentially monitor themselves using built-in analytics.
Industry 4.0 & Smart Factories – Expect an increased focus on compliance and quality management, thus the expansion of smart manufacturing and industry 4.0 concepts and technologies. This blend of human intelligence and smart automation, data exchange, IoT and more, results in increased efficiency, agility, and profit for manufacturers everywhere.
By implementing at least some of this manufacturing technology into your processes and operations, you’ll be able to stay atop your industry competitors as well as top of mind with clients. Don’t get left behind!
For more information, call Kundinger at 800-242-4811. We’ll not only help you keep up, we’ll help you rise above the rest.