I am a technical writer & IT analyst associated with the top IT firm for over 8 years.
The rapid evolution of technology has transformed manufacturing to a great scale. Digital manufacturing is the new trend to enhance the manufacturing process including product processing, supply chain, inventory management, and related services. Recent technological advancements have seen an explosion in the kinds of technologies and tools that are available for manufacturing brands.
Innovative tech companies like Adidas, Bosch, and Tesla are the best example of how technology can turn seemingly impossible ideas into reality. Modern AI robotics equipment, sensor technology, and smart IoT devices are no less striking.
Trends are something that drives manufacturing companies to constantly deliver more for improving performance, efficiency, and agility. With that in consideration, let’s look at 5 technology trends for manufacturing companies to follow in 2020:
5G technology presents unprecedented opportunities to enhance digital connectivity across the manufacturing processes. It’s not only offering just faster speeds, but 5G offers better connectivity and reliability that is required to streamline the manufacturing firms and industries using large volumes of data. The technology provides manufacturing firms an impressive increase in productivity of up to 2%.
With this new technology, the manufacturing processes are becoming more intelligent. The concept of digital and smart factories will become a reality with 5G connected machinery and equipment. Similarly, 5G technologies can also support the process of the production of goods by improving functions such as supply chain logistics, inventory planning, product development, management, etc.
The level of automation offered by 5G technologies offers real-time linkages to demand forecasts, improved connectivity between logistics team members, predictable production, and cost analysis.
From the rise of 5G the factories of the future will grow and develop and will be able to adapt the new network speed that connects them efficiently. Here are a few points to help you understand how 5G will help manufacturers achieve digital transformation in the coming years:
Automated Alerts: A vehicle equipped with a 5G device can inform about its arrival in a fast and seamless manner. The technology will also work by using an automated guided vehicle (AGV) that helps unload the truck and delivers the material on time.
Ultra Connectivity: The 5G technology allows manufacturing firms to connect robots and other IoT devices wirelessly with complete flexibility.
Effective Monitoring: With 5G enabled wireless devices, workers at a factory can use these devices to monitor and control factory operations.
The predictive analysis technology collects information from multiple data resources to predict the quality of assets and issues related to asset failure. Manufacturing companies in different sectors are adopting predictive maintenance software to minimize their maintenance costs and efforts.
Also, a report published in the Globe Newswire shows that the operational predictive maintenance market is estimated around the US $ 1,138 Mn in 2019 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23.2% by 2020-27.
It is not a surprise that predictive maintenance in manufacturing has quickly become the most important technology to use for asset managers. It helps in implementing IoT devices to monitor asset risks, optimize machinery maintenance schedules, and improve the complete production process.
Predictive maintenance offers much more than you think. It gives manufacturing firms the way to avoid delays and disruption in the production tasks, it helps optimize maintenance tasks, and even more.
The predictive maintenance works by analyzing production patterns and identifying potential asset issues before they happen. It is absolutely helpful for manufacturers to gain insights on certain asset behaviors that occur on the production floor. It's absolutely critical for organizations to know how predictive maintenance works.
Machine Learning Sensors: These are data-collecting sensors that work by installing in a piece of machinery. A fully automated sensor system can make real-time decisions when any anomalies take place on the factory floor or on any machinery.
Data Storage & Communication: The data storage and communication system allows data to be processed securely between the monitored assets or can be saved on-premise or on Cloud.
Predictive Analysis: Predictive analytics helps in recognizing manufacturing patterns and errors in the system.
Many digital manufacturing firms are using VR/AR technologies such as head-mounted devices etc. Augmented reality is the subset of Virtual Reality that provides excellent solutions for manufacturers to easily spot errors in the manufacturing tasks. These AR devices will become more commonplace everywhere in the manufacturing industry and are forecasted to reach around 19.1 million devices by 2021 along with the VR devices.
Augmented Reality has the potential to digitize products in 3D images that makes it easier to understand a product prototype. The manufacturing firms can use this technology to work effectively and to increase the speed of the process along with the efficiency rate.
You can also know about the whereabouts of your workers, machinery malfunctioning, and even about the parts of a factory that are off-limits.
On the other hand, VR technology in manufacturing helps reduce risk by allowing product designers to view key features of the products in real-time. It benefits both manufacturers and engineers who adopt VR. Virtual Reality is also used to review workflows in the manufacturing process and also helps analyze how workers’ can be trained in a digital environment without any delays in production.
When it comes to using both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in manufacturing, the possibilities are endless. These technologies were built to help make industrial processes more efficient and capable of becoming more effective in the coming years.
The rise of wearable technology in manufacturing has given way to the organizations to monitor and increase their workers' productivity. According to a news portal, by 2022 there will be 1.1 billion connected wearable devices.
And, size is no concern for wearable devices, as they encompass everything from smartwatches that can record your heartbeat to smart rings that send notifications to their wearer, and lastly the smart bandages for medical practitioners that can better help a patient who is in pain.
Similarly, the manufacturers are increasingly looking into investing in the Internet of Things (IoT) enabled wearable devices with different sensors that can be used by the companies to improve their workforce efficiency.
With such devices, digital manufacturers are now capable of tracking their worker’s activities, collecting information, and maintaining manufacturing equipment as per their needs.
The world of digital manufacturing has taken wearable technology as a fixture in manufacturing that improves safety standards, injury prevention, work training, process improvements, work awareness, and security. Here are some of the wearable devices that are advantageous for manufacturers working in industrial roles.
Atmos Faceware: It’s a face mask that provides the wearer with better air quality with its PositivAir system and D’fend filtration. The Atmos face mask is perfect to use in the manufacturing firms as it was developed to protect wearers from outdoor pollution and can also monitor hazardous air quality.
Welt’s Smart Belt Pro: It’s a type of smart belt that analyzes its user’s walking habits and can alert a user by predicting a fall before it happens. It is designed for the safety of workers in the manufacturing firms to encourage their safety at the workplace.
Google Glass: These are eyeglasses that work as a hands-free smartphone and are used for alerting workers of machinery malfunctions, tools hazards, and identifying hot surfaces, etc.
As per NIST data, 77% of companies in manufacturing and other sectors rank cybersecurity of their data a major priority. With so many manufacturing firms undergoing huge digital transformations, awareness about the presence of cyberattacks continues to grow.
In 2020, Cybersecurity threats are also a huge risk for all manufacturing companies including small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are more vulnerable to attacks.
The modern cybersecurity solutions are based on the detection ability of human logic that uses Artificial intelligence (AI) for the identification of new threats. The technology responses back to firms about the possible cyber attacks and you can block these threats before they spread throughout your organizations.
Companies must train their workers about the importance of cybersecurity in manufacturing and how to deal with them. As the industry becomes more connected to smartphones and devices, the safety of manufacturers’ data and their customers will be impacted in a number of ways. This is why it is important to put in efforts to train your workers on the potential threats of their cyber activities.
So, cybersecurity is and will remain a hot trend for manufacturing companies of all types and sizes. This is also one of the top priorities to consider in 2020 and beyond for manufacturers.
In the end, manufacturers must learn how to maintain automation in their workflows, safety standards, and machinery equipment. These technology trends of 2020 are important to improve productivity in a cost-effective manner. The success in the manufacturing sector now depends on how efficiently you follow new trends and technologies.
By implementing these trending manufacturing technologies can help you improve the efficiency of your production overall. Are you looking to implement a new production strategy? Or, looking to design a new website for your manufacturing firm? Feel free to discuss your project with my team here!