Manufacturing processes depend hugely on technology, and any new kind of technological advancement is likely going to be likely picked up by the manufacturing industry in some way or another.
Here are some of the innovative technologies that have altered manufacturing forever in their own way, many of which have probably either already impacted or will impact your manufacturing businesses:
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the collective term for a range of everyday items and traditionally non-internet-connected machines being connected to the internet and interconnected with each other. IoT has become particularly popular in the last decade, and many businesses are adopting IoT connection on a deeper level as its technology expands and opportunities for IoT grow. IoT technologies improve a basic tenet of manufacturing, which is interconnectivity, so having devices connected in that way means a faster and more unified set of processes.
In simple terms, nanotechnology is merely any tech focused on the very small, and that can include a wide range of technologies. Manufacturing at the nanoscale involves cost-effective manufacturing of nanoscale materials and is becoming more and more popular when using complex bottom-up approaches to build materials, a technological innovation that will continue to revolutionize production.
Nanotechnology can help to make materials last longer or be more durable during manufacturing processes, improving efficiency. In computing, nanotechnology ensures a much faster and more powerful processing capability, and given just how much manufacturers rely on computing, nanotechnology will likely only continue to grow.
Cloud computing has become a normal part of many working environments across several industries, including manufacturing. The use of online server farms to store data and enable faster communication across a workplace makes any manufacturing process quicker and more aligned. Companies like VersaCall offer innovative cloud-based manufacturing solutions such as advanced Andon systems, which have made communication within manufacturing plants much more efficient and immediate.
As cloud computing continues to grow in the manufacturing sector to interconnect devices and allow for greater identification and solving of root causes for production issues, continuous improvement initiatives will succeed more and downtime will be drastically reduced.
This is a relatively recent technology, and the potential for it is huge. With augmented reality, there are going to be fewer ultimate mistakes in the manufacturing process as it offers real-time access to information about system errors and their causes.
Data access also becomes much simpler with AR and work more collaboratively with IoT devices to improve processes according to that data. Maintenance time can also be cut down because AR is app-based and includes applications such as CAP that allows any staff member to pinpoint and fix issues without being a mechanic themselves.
One of the main benefits of 3D printing is that it is a way of producing whatever item or tool you need which does not produce any waste. That means a greater efficiency for your business and fewer materials and less time and money wasted.
3D printing can make adaptation to your production line much quicker as it allows you to adjust product changes, print speed, and machinery enhancements based on your other production processes. These adjustments can be made instantaneously, meaning you cut back on downtime and increase productivity within your plant as you adopt 3D printing technology in your production line.
Where in the past you would have had to use robots (which were often quite pricey) to assemble and put something together on the factory floor, now you can use light-based manufacturing to do the same thing.
Using something known as an optical trap—essentially a device which uses light to move objects around—you can create products you need while cutting back on costs and increasing efficiency. The tools involved in light-based manufacturing tend to be much more cost-effective and allow for micromanipulation of particles, which is revolutionizing nanomanufacturing.
Smart Factory Initiatives
A smart factory is very much going to be the way of the future. In essence, it will mean integrating technology into many more processes than we currently do, perhaps even all processes at some point or another. There will be scope for making use of AI, and that is going to provide some amazing improvements to the way we manufacture goods.
One advanced system that is improving smart factory initiatives is advanced Andon systems (like the one’s from VersaCall), which implement cloud-based technology to communicate issues on the production as soon as they occur, thus reducing overall downtime and increasing productivity.
As these innovative technologies continue to change the face of manufacturing, it’s wise to look into how your manufacturing company can begin to implement these developing devices. That way, you’ll be prepared for the extensive technological evolutions that manufacturing will certainly undergo in 2020 and the years ahead.