(GuestPost)— The failure to react to new technologies can be catastrophic for some manufacturing firms. Taking stock of what software for the manufacturing industry are currently deployed and which new technologies could be implemented should be a business priority. As the manufacturing industry marches on towards true digitization, firms will need to look at what their journey towards game-changing tech looks like to avoid falling behind.
Manufacturing is one of the markets most heavily impacted by digitization. Manufacturing firms will also need to look at a variety of contemporary disruptive technologies to leverage the strength of game-changing technology to increase production output and workforce safety and to lower resource consumption.
Below is a list of several key emerging technologies that manufacturing firms will need to pay attention to today and tomorrow to capitalize on change.
1.The Internet of Things
For some manufacturing firms, the implementation of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) can be a decisive step forward in adopting emerging disruptive technologies. Current IoT investments are impacting the overall manufacturing environment, from product performance to more efficient execution of the supply chain.
It is estimated that by 2024, IoT and IIoT will grow to be valued at more than $24 billion, growing at more than 20 percent since 2016.
2.Smart Factory and Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0, or the fourth industrial revolution, connotes a fundamental shift in the manufacturing environment. Industry 4.0 introduces the concept of “smart factory,” in which computers and automation come together to digitally transform industrial markets.
Industry 4.0 is set to evolve processing operations to cyber-physical systems, able to monitor physical processes to make decentralized decisions with minimal input from human operators.
The rise of commoditization within the manufacturing industry is creating a paradigm shift among manufacturers. Many are turning to a more service-centric business model, or servitization, to differentiate themselves from the competition. Servitization is crucial to the growth of manufacturers as it adds capabilities that enhance its overall offering beyond the traditional product offering.
4.3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing
As a design-driven manufacturing model, additive manufacturing refers to the process of employing digital 3D design data and 3D modeling software to build components. It is a layer-based manufacturing technique that takes production to the next level. It distinguishes itself from conventional manufacturing processes as it builds components layer by layer rather than by material removal.
It is expected that the cost-benefits of additive manufacturing and 3D printing will become fully realized by 2019 as 3D printing production enters a new, more mature phase.
5.Robotic Process Automation
Gaining traction in recent years, robotic process automation (RPA) is, to put it simply, a way of automating business processes to free up a business’s workforce to focus on more important decision-making and higher-value analysis. To bolster business performance and operations, RPA will require planned implementation.
If implemented correctly, RPA can create real value with less investment, providing firms beneficial payback in just nine months.
Despite its name, RPA is more than just robotics. It encapsulates several emerging technologies in manufacturing such as Blockchain, IoT and IIoT, and AI.
6.Artificial Intelligence and machine learning
A commonly used buzzword across many industries, artificial intelligence (AI) is ubiquitous in manufacturing and used in many disruptive technologies, from Blockchain to robotic process automation.
Technologies that have broken new grounds just a couple of years ago, such as mobile asset management and middle-of-the-night SMS marketing, are now considered must-haves. Today, the buzz is about AI and machine learning. Despite this, AI and machine learning are providing manufacturers a lot of highly applicable possibilities to accelerate their performance and processes towards ultra-efficiency.