The last year has certainly been eventful for most businesses, especially those in the manufacturing industry. The pandemic caused huge disruptions and challenges, but there were also advancements in smart technology that were able to optimize production.
Now in 2021, manufacturers are focusing on these technological advancements and improving the link between human and machine-led labor. Here are some of the biggest trends to expect in the industry and in manufacturing technology in California.
The Internet of Things
IoT technology is becoming more available in manufacturing. Devices are connected to an existing internet infrastructure, which allows manufacturers to make decisions in real-time. As data is collected in real-time, companies get more visibility over their work, allowing for better decision making across the business. IoT technology can also be used to improve employee safety.
More and more manufacturers are turning to this new technology, in order to be able to make use of real-time data for strategic decision making.
Advancements are continuing to be made in additive manufacturing, keeping this trend a staple in the industry. One of the most commonly used trends is to make use of additives for prototyping.
Additive manufacturing tooling for making prototypes is commonly used in manufacturers, as it allows custom tools and molds to be printed. This used to be a very time-consuming process, which was very costly for businesses, but additive manufacturing is cheaper and more efficient.
AI and Machine Learning
AI and machine learning are improving all the time. Both of these technologies can be used to improve supply chain management, customer relations, and in the factory. Better AI brings with it more scale, speed, and convenience to a wide range of operations. If a manufacturer wants to get ahead of their competition, using machine learning could be the way to do it.
For example, Machine Vision technology in a camera can detect errors that aren’t visible to the naked eye. Errors will be caught and reported immediately, through cloud-based data processing infrastructure. AI can be used to optimize the performance of every department in a manufacturing business, making them more productive and more efficient.
More manufacturers are beginning to adopt smart manufacturing technologies, thanks to their many benefits. Smart manufacturing technologies like predictive maintenance and analytics mean that any surface can be used as a sensor for data collection. This gives manufacturers much better visibility into data and the ability to collect data from more than one source.
Access to information like this could be a lifeline for manufacturers who are working out how to help their business come through the pandemic. All this data collection can be used to reevaluate their forecasting and to develop future business models to ensure their business not only survives but thrives.
Manufacturers need to keep on evaluating and optimizing their workforces, processes, and supply chain management if they’re going to be successful. The last year has affected the whole industry, potentially for years to come, so embracing new technology and trends is essential for the future of manufacturing businesses.