Manufacturers continuously strive to become better, overcome current challenges, identify efficiencies and improve processes. We don’t seem to realize that all items we have in and out of our household exit thanks to the manufacturing industries.
From Cars and children’s toys to kitchen appliances, everything we use daily is made by manufacturers. From human-centered methods to assembly lines, manufacturing has evolved significantly.
Even though Henry Ford first pioneered the assembly line, we now have highly automated factories that are able to assemble items in a matter of minutes. Best of all, the manufacturing industry evolves as we speak, while the number of trends that transform and shape this branch keeps growing.
Many refer to these trends as Industry 4.0. So, let’s see what Industry 4.0 will bring us in the following years.
IIoT – the industrial internet of things
You’ve heard of the term “the Internet of Things” well. We have IIoT, or the Industrial Internet of Things, where interconnected devices are used in industrial settings and manufacturing to gather data.
This data is later on used to boost the manufacturing process. Sensors represent one of the best examples of these interconnected IIoT devices. Sensors collect data that further help manufacturers understand how machines perform, optimize maintenance processes, and even predict malfunctioning.
Edge computing and 5G
5G, or the fifth generation of mobile data network technology, was launched two years ago, and it’s here to stay. The great thing about 5G is that it enables manufacturers to easily connect sensors and smart machines with IIoT technology.
In fact, manufacturers now can create their own 5G network on their premises. This network will give them superfast data speeds without cables or data security.
Shifting focus from B2B to B2C
In the last couple of years, countless manufacturers have transitioned from a traditional business-to-business model to a business-to-consumer model. B2C has generated a couple of distinctive benefits, including:
Better profit: instead of a wholesale price for their products and services, companies will get full manufacturer retail price.
Faster time to market: manufacturers no longer have to spend months promoting their products or engaging in traditional retail sales. Now they can rapidly prototype, test, and push products to market, allowing them a competitive advantage.
They get to control the brand: the business-to-customer model minimizes the risk of the brand being misrepresented by third parties.
Price: manufacturers finally have the chance to reinforce their MSPR.
Predictive maintenance is a fundamental concept in manufacturing because it saves time and money. Companies use AI and sensor data to identify failure patterns in components and machinery. The idea behind this is to predict the malfunction. This is particularly helpful in CNC turning service.
If you can understand when a part or machine is more likely to fail, you can take some preventive actions and maintain your equipment efficiently. Keep in mind that we aren’t only focusing on new equipment.
For instance, Siemens has applied this technique to old machines and managed to generate excellent results. People from Siemens say they can interpret a machine’s condition, detect inconsistencies in work, and fix a machine before it stops working.
We use digital twins to stimulate any object or physical process. For instance, companies can use digital twins to generate replicas of the equipment on the company floor to inspect how machinery will work under specific conditions.
This type of technology can even stimulate and visualize the entire supply chain. According to some estimates, by the end of 2022, nearly 70% of manufacturers will use digital twins to perform evaluations and stimulations.
Can you now imagine how transformative this trend will be? We have an excellent example of Boing. This airplane company has accomplished a 40% improvement rate in first-time quality of parts.
Thanks to artificial intelligence, machines can perform a wide variety of tasks which were previously reserved only for humans. Now, many manufacturing tasks are transferred to machines.
Automation has brought numerous advantages to companies, including lower costs, greater accuracy, and higher productivity. In the future, you may expect to see more fully automated or dark factories where production happens without human input.
Cobots and robots
Without robots, there wouldn’t be automation. However, not all robots are designed to replace the human workforce. In fact, many of them are designed to boost human productivity. For example, exoskeletons help workers in the production line lift heavy objects without compromising their safety.
On the other hand, cobots or intelligent robots are made to work alongside humans. Both of these will help companies and manufacturers accomplish efficient production processes. Nissan uses a robotic arm in its production facilities in Japan. This enabled them to overcome time issues and labor sabotages.
We hope some of these trends will help you shape your company and embrace new technologies if you are in the manufacturing business. Covid-19 has changed the world, and companies now need to go through a transition process and learn to adapt; otherwise, they will suffer great losses and be forced to shut down their facilities.