When one thinks of technology, one’s mind rarely goes immediately to manufacturing. However, when you really think about it, manufacturing is easily one of the most applicable places for technology advances.
After all, the more manufacturing can leverage technology, the faster that products can be produced and the cheaper they will be to the general public.
In this article, we’ll explore five trends that explain the future of manufacturing in 2020.
1. More AI
One of the biggest trends to hit technology in recent years is the proliferation of AI or artificial intelligence. The more that technology advances, the more that manufacturing can leverage technology’s self-learning capabilities.
The applications of AI to modern manufacturing are limitless, but perhaps the biggest arena for productivity gains is simple. AI will allow machines to learn the most efficient processes. Whether that’s specific movement patterns of the machines or large-scale assembly processes, AI can not only understand how to make the chances to increase productivity but also implement and test them in real-time.
2. Predictive Prevention
Anyone who works in a manufacturing plant knows that above all else, downtime is the enemy. After all, when a plant is down, the costs remain the same (cost of machinery, rent, employees, etc.), but revenue has been halted because no additional units are being made.
This is a big reason why 2020 manufacturing trends point in the direction of any preventative maintenance improvements. If one can get ahead of the game and predict when downtime will happen before it does, that’s worth millions to any plant.
3. IoT Becomes Mainstream
The Internet of Things, or IoT, has to do with the inter-connectivity of all of the different pieces that make up a manufacturing assembly line. In 2020, expect to see manufacturing leverage IoT all the more as it seeks to implement such things as AI.
When everything is connected, it’s far easier to analyze large-scale changes to entire assembly processes to achieve maximum production capacity.
4. 3D Printing
3D printing is as big as ever. In 2020, there are no signs that the 3D printing trend will be reversed. Of course, there are some things will likely always have to be done by hand, such as custom metal fabrication. However, there is a very strong potential for some of the more intricate parts of any manufacturing process to be produced with 3D printing.
Why not, after all? 3D printing is not only extremely accurate but also cheap when one uses the right plastics in bulk. The only hurdle here that manufacturing has to jump is that as of right now, 3D printing is not very scalable. It’s hard to produce many units in bulk through 3D printing. Expect that to change in the near future.
5. Big Data
Last but certainly not least is big data. Big data has to do with the acquisition of large amounts of data that enables the manufacturing industry to better analyze its processes.
It is only with the use of big data that the IoT can be used for AI purposes.
The Future of Manufacturing Is Bright
Rest assured that the future of manufacturing is in good hands. With the massive technology advances on the horizon, it’s pretty clear that manufacturing is headed in the direction of massive productivity gains and cheaper pricing.
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