The world of manufacturing has always embraced technology. From advanced robotics to big data analytics, the revolutionary benefits of modern technology are helping manufacturers reduce dependence on human labor, boost plant productivity, and achieve a competitive edge.
State-of-the-art technologies, such as the internet of things, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence, etc, are the future of the manufacturing industry as they increase the speed of operations, lower cost of production, and minimize errors.
As productivity is vital to the success of any manufacturing plant, all manufacturers are expected to make substantial investments in these modern technologies. If you’re a manufacturer, here are six technologies that will revolutionize your manufacturing business.
1] Cloud Computing
What’s the question that comes to your mind when you hear about cloud computing? Is it vital to have? Or is it now outdated?
Well, cloud computing remains one of the top modern technologies that are common in many major industries. In addition, it’s a critical part of the manufacturing industry these days. It allows the user to wirelessly store all of their vital data and information.
Companies like Laser Light Technologies Inc. can sit back and relax knowing that their data is safe on the cloud. Cloud storage is a secure backup for all your vital information over a wireless system. Like other machines, computers can crash at any time. In that case, cloud computing can come to your rescue as all of your important data is kept safe.
2] 3D Printing
After transforming the product design industry, 3D printing is currently making waves in the world of manufacturing. The ability to create and design anything using plastic, metal, or even human tissue obviously changes the way we create everything.
3D printing, also called additive manufacturing, brings a variety of advantages that make it a worthwhile investment.
- It significantly cuts manufacturing lead times.
- It significantly cuts design-to-production times.
- Also It brings more flexibility in production.
- It’s more cost-effective since there’s less waste produced.
- It makes it easier to produce specific and small products, from machine components to prototypes.
Moreover, the best news about 3D printing is that it’s still new. It’ll only get better and better in the coming years, which means that now is the best time to invest in it.
As technology is now just a touch away, it’s possible to access data and functionalities through cell phones. This has benefitted employees as they can get information anywhere at any time.
Then there are wearable gadgets that are becoming a fixture in factories. These devices are providing an inexpensive and hands-free working experience in manufacturing plants.
One technology that has been able to surpass all others is mobile ERP. A typical factory production unit consists of all security devices like Bluetooth, Sensors, Beacons, RFID and many other communication technologies.
These technologies are fast becoming a common feature with benefits like visibility of operations and data sharing. They’ve become a method through which inventory movement and machine efficiency is gauged.
4] Next-Level Robotics
When the average person thinks of manufacturing, they probably picture an assembly line with people, each handling one aspect of the whole assembly process.
In fact, this is still the way some manufacturing units work, but many of those people are making way for robots…Oh, not ones that talk and walk, but ones that can perform automated production work that ‘s perfect all the time.
Automated robotics first emerged in the shape of Unimate in 1961. Unimate was a robot that helped General Motors roll out cars to a car-mad country. While it now looks a little outdated, Unimate was a big deal at the time since it was immune to everything that makes humans fallible, unreliable, and inconsistent.
While robots can’t take decisions, adapt to changes, or use creativity, in the right situation, they can double or even triple the efficiency of a manufacturing plant and significantly boost its consistency in terms of output and quality.
Even though it’s still a few years away from becoming a mainstream manufacturing technology, nanotechnology is still a relevant factory technology.
Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter at the level of an atom, molecule, or supramolecule. In the conventional manufacturing industry, this means improving materials to ensure they last longer or giving them new qualities, such as in clothes that feel cooler or warmer. In the world of computers, nanotechnology provides better memory and faster processing.
Currently, nanotechnology is generally used in biotechnology and space engineering. But now it’s headed towards manufacturing. Atomically Precise Manufacturing, APM for short, is the next step in nanotechnology. It might very well change all we know about manufacturing.
6] The Internet of Things (IoT)
One of the major goals of factories has been interconnectivity, since the era of the Industrial Revolution. The Internet of Things (IoT) takes this aim to the next level, however, with humans, machines, and sensors working closer together more than ever before. Increased connectivity means improved communication, quicker response times, and more efficiency across the board.
Here’s an example: A manufacturing firm has a piece of equipment whose fluid level should never go below 100 gallons. The equipment has a meter, and the internet of things allows the meter to wirelessly transmit data.
The data is sent to a computerized maintenance management system, which in turn produces a work order once the level of fluid drops below a specific level. This improved connectivity allows the manufacturing plant to lower maintenance cost, improve efficiency, and avoid costly downtime.
However, this is only one of the numerous examples of how the internet of things will improve and enhance manufacturing in the coming years.
Modern technologies have always powered the world of manufacturing, and they’ll have a bigger say in the industries of the years to come. As new technologies come up, manufacturers will take them on, or have no choice than to adopt them for survival.
On their part, these technologies will change the face of the manufacturing industry beyond recognition. For instance, the design and manufacture of products is already changing, thanks to 3D printing.