For the manufacturing industry, the road to stability has not been an easy one. However, despite setbacks like the 1970s oil price increase, several recessions, and hardly any surge from the economy boom, the industry has preserved. And while manufacturing businesses worldwide are still under great pressure, the development of new products, new management styles, and new mindsets has set the stage for great success across the entire manufacturing industry.
Modern technologies have helped in large part to revolutionize the manufacturing industry. As a result of this revolution, the industry has evolved to survive in a new environment that requires efficiency in nearly everything. With innovative, emerging technologies that help streamline business practices and gather beneficial data, manufacturers are able to find success in everything from product development to marketing strategies.
Though this industrial shift has brought many new and emerging resources, these top five trends in manufacturing technology are truly changing the face of the industry.
1. Augmented Reality
One of the most interesting pieces of technology to emerge recently is augmented reality. In short, augmented reality creates a superimposed, computer-generated image that’s exactly like your view of the real world and provides you with a composite view of places like your warehouse, products, and inventory.
In the past, manufacturers and businesses had a difficult time implementing augmented reality technology largely because they couldn’t justify the high cost of the system. Today, however, recent developments and state-of-the-art technology have helped make augmented reality a valid and useful resource. AR systems can both scan and check inventory in a simple, effective way and ultimately help to increase the accuracy and speed of inventory organization and analyzation.
2. Smart Products
With smartphones, smart cars, and smart homes, experts have risen to the challenge of creating smart manufacturing facilities and products. While manufacturers have experimented with smart technology for several years, it wasn’t until recently that the industry really began capitalizing on the advantages, thanks to the implementation of a supportive, digital infrastructure and growing experience with applicable smart technologies. Trending smart facility and product technology include:
- Small sensors that allow manufacturers to gather data throughout the entire lifecycle and process of their products
- Cloud and SaaS (software as a service) models help decrease costs, improve quality, reduce waste and enable continuous improvement
- Central data management systems provide customers with precise production data by connecting devices to the overall digital system
3. Reliable Robots
The use of robots has been growing steadily in popularity over the past few years and is predicted to continue its rise in applicability over the next year. Today’s advanced robotic systems have become increasingly more sophisticated and reliable, which allows manufacturers to program robots to complete virtually any task. Because modern robots are now more user-friendly, they are becoming more accessible for large and small manufacturing shops alike.
One of the biggest challenges presented to manufacturing companies has been, and likely will continue to be, the lack of skills and expertise possessed by their human counterparts. However, with advanced robots, manufacturers can take advantage of automated systems that help them keep up with demand and work side-by-side with human employees.
4. 3D Printing
Continually rated as a leading technology for several years, 3D printing has brought additive manufacturing to the frontline of the industry. This top technology creates advantages including:
- Metal 3D printing capabilities
- Fast, accurate prints
- Precise scans
These and other benefits have manufacturers excited about the industry’s pending revolution. Continued exploration into how 3D printing can improve the overall manufacturing process is currently trending and pulsing throughout the industry. Experts across the board are expecting the coming years to hold even more surprises for 3D printing technology.
5. Predictive Analytics
Since the beginning of the manufacturing era, manufacturers have dreamt about ways to streamline sales to a mass market. And though several businesses have studied historical trends to try and predict customer demand, reduce over production, and avoid other costly mistakes, they were never able to develop reliable data that lead to accurate analysis. With the invention of predictive analytics, however, this has all changed.
Not only does predictive analytics technology help gather accurate data and analyze this data far more efficiently than ever before, but new software and sensors also allow for precise predictions to be made based on real data that’s captured throughout every stage of production. This technology can make accurate predictions about when machines are about to fail as well as tracking and forecasting demand more closely. This allows manufacturers to schedule maintenance and produce the right amount of product needed to supply demand without creating waste and losing money.
ERP software parallels many of these emerging technologies so learn more about ERP systems today!