The manufacturing landscape of today looks very different than it did in the recent past. It used to be the case that supply chains remained stable, demand was less volatile, and products were more standardized. To compete for global market share, achieving quality and efficiency was once sufficient.
But today, the global economy functions according to the ever-changing tastes of modern consumers. Demand for any given product can fluctuate wildly without notice, demanding shorter product cycles and the capacity to put products on the market immediately.
In order to cope with these new challenges, manufacturers have a host of new and innovative technologies at their disposal. Here are four technological advances that promise to change the manufacturing industry.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has become a popular catchphrase in consumer households. But the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has the capacity to greatly enhance manufacturing.
Enhanced connectivity of people and devices allows manufacturers to gain valuable data, increase efficiency, and make better decisions. Things like machine learning, smart devices, and connected sensors within a manufacturing plant can be used to increase performance. Personal tech devices such as smart glasses and wearables give supervisors the ability to work hands-free and obtain information about production easily.
Utilizing cloud computing technology is a must for any manufacturer that hopes to remain relevant in today’s economy. Rather than struggling to keep up with the constant demands of maintenance, re-investment, and upgrading that come with legacy systems, migrating to the cloud results in a smooth process of data integration.
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The cloud can unify any business and its data throughout multiple locations around the world while being secure, agile, and accessible. Cloud eliminates many traditional IT needs and lets you focus more time and resources on manufacturing. Being based in the cloud means you can scale your computing systems as your business changes with minimal capital expenditure.
Cloud-based systems also make it easier to use a 3D printing service. Many of the world’s leading 3D printers have already integrated their systems into the cloud. For this reason, all you have to do is upload a 3D model, select your material and the price, and then you will receive your part.
Because of the now ubiquitous nature of smartphones and tablets, mobile technology can now be integrated into the manufacturing workplace. Things like Bluetooth, RFID, sensors, beacons, and other communication tech that enable wireless data sharing are becoming more common in manufacturing plants. The integration of devices like these with the cloud means that product managers have greater insight than ever before into vital variables like machine efficiency, inventory movement, and production status.
Most manufacturers have more data than they can make use of. Increasing the efficiency with which you utilize your data can lead to significant enhancements in productivity and effectiveness. Analytics tools find the proverbial needles in the haystacks that are your data. These data points are then connected and presented to you in an easily digestible manner such as a graph or chart.
These four technological advances are transforming manufacturing. They are not isolated instances – they work together to create a synergistic increase in effectiveness for manufacturers. Don’t get left behind – keep up on all of this tech.