Technology is changing the way that business is done in virtually every industry, and manufacturing is no exception. Modern advances are enabling manufacturers to streamline production processes, innovate at a faster pace than ever, cut costs and deliver higher quality products to meet demand. Because of its versatility and ease of use, there are a number of areas within manufacturing where technology is being harnessed.
For example, additive manufacturing — more commonly known as 3D printing — has a variety of applications. As it has become more affordable, manufacturers are using it during the production cycle to produce high quality components while keeping costs down. It represents a promising opportunity for the creation of custom goods and other parts.
Artificial intelligence (AI) can help technicians determine how well a machine is functioning. AI is also able to predict when a piece of equipment may malfunction or break down. This kind of IoT technology is the future trend of predictive maintenance.
Other technological advances include robots that perform assembly and material handling as well as dangerous or repetitive tasks; remote performance monitoring sensors that can track manufacturing cycles and sense possible maintenance issues; and computerized maintenance managements systems, which help reduce the need for on-site personnel. The accompanying resource describes some of the innovative ways that the manufacturing industry is relying on these advances.