The past decade has seen many improvements in different fields and sectors, from healthcare and pharmaceutical to the agricultural niche. Such significant upgrades are a result of innovations in the mother manufacturing industry; from using information technology (IT) to advanced manufacturing capabilities – coded 4th industrial revolution (industry 4.0) trend. The good news is that this trend keeps growing and revolutionizing manufacturing as it offers OEMs new opportunities in the coming years.
With 2020 by the corner, it is easier for experts to predict the horizon for the industry 4.0. Well, the difference isn’t going to be so much in the technology. However, there will be a significant increase in the number of companies utilizing this digital technology and the reasons they need to.
Here, we’d be looking at the most important trends that will lead the manufacturing industry in the coming years.
The arrival of the Internet of Things is revolutionizing all sectors. According to a prediction by Gartner, 20.4 billion connected devices will be in use worldwide by 2020. Also, a study by Business Insider Intelligence reveals that the IoT market will grow to over $3 trillion annually by 2026.
According to Michael Strand, Senior Vice President at Hitachi Solutions America, IoT is offering exciting new opportunities for connecting operations and transforming business processes.
To the manufacturing industry, this innovation involves the transformation of processes and the evolution of materials and production chain. Hence, it will enable them to evolve with an increasingly digital-first business landscape.
Technological innovation from programming and automatic process management will also play an important role in the control and monitoring of machines that form part of the production chain.
Current advances in the manufacturing processes are based on the improved capabilities provided by artificial intelligence and machine learning. These two technologies, mainly, are responsible for taking manufacturing to the next level, providing three central values, which in the opinion of experts are speed, scale, and convenience.
Speed and scale refer to the ability of AI to automate industrial operations, making it no longer necessary to assign entire groups of workers to designated tasks. With these systems, it is possible to reduce significantly the time needed to learn manual operation skills, reducing the time invested in jobs that could last up to several years to a mere fraction.
Also, the evolution of automation systems is developing at tremendous speed, and it is expected that in the coming years it will accelerate further, resulting in a whole new generation of capabilities for the manufacturing sector.
Today, some manufacturing companies in the global market are already accepting AI as their regular registration updater. However, the number is expected to increase in the coming years.
So far, it has been shown that with these solutions, the manufacturing industries will be more productive and efficient.
The fifth-generation technology is one of the most anticipated technology trends in the coming years.
Cellular communications networks have long been suffering from saturation problems. In developed countries, the use of 4G is massive, and in the developing countries, 3G is still used, with similar results. However, companies cannot rely heavily on these technologies for their operations or to provide their workers with tools. However, 5G promises to exceed the expectations of consumers and organizations in connection capacity, bandwidth, minimum latency, and more.
The 5G technology, which is an aspect of the global digital transformation, will provide manufacturing companies with faster connections as they begin to increase their use of centralized tracking, cloud, senor, quality inspection, and more. With more coverage and a more stable connection, there will be an ecosystem of smart manufacturing.
With the growing innovations in software, connectivity, and IoT technology, the coming years will see a more advanced and effective method of monitoring equipment using several performance metrics. With this technology, it will be easier for manufacturers to have a better understanding of how systems and process work and the possible time they will fail. Also, they are tipped on the best time to carry out maintenance.
Predictive maintenance will prevent untimely equipment breakdown while saving manufacturers valuable time, money and resources.
Another big trend in the digital transformation of manufacturing is 3-D printing technology. This technology will continue to allow companies to make faster, cheaper prototypes as it is a highly cost-effective way for product designers to test and troubleshoot their products, possible. Also, it enables manufacturers to produce items on demand instead of having to manufacture and warehouse them.
However, 3D printing technology has already been embraced by the automotive and aerospace manufacturing industries. Next year will see more sectors in the manufacturing industry take on and enjoy the benefits of this growing technology.
Energy is more of a challenge than a trend, but there is no doubt that the new systems involved in the manufacturing sector will ensure energy optimization. It is the only way to pursue the sustainability of the industry and the preservation of the environment.
As digital manufacturing continues to evolve in the coming years, manufacturers need to keep up with the changes. For some, this can be challenging; however, it is paramount for survival in the ever-growing global competitive market.
Now that you know the innovations of industry 4.0 and the trend in the coming year, you can always acquire the advanced industrial equipment and systems currently in the market. What are you waiting for to benefit from the latest technology to meet the challenges of the future for your manufacturing business?