While the U.S. manufacturing industry isn’t as big as it was 25 to 30 years ago, American manufacturers are still building goods in the country—and it’s happening because of digital technology.
More and more manufacturing companies are using disruptive technologies to make the transition from mass production to customized production, making manufacturing faster, autonomous and cheaper.
In this guide, we look at a few of these technologies and how they are changing the manufacturing industry as we speak.
1. The Internet of Things (IoT)
The IoT is perhaps the biggest game-changer in the manufacturing industry, paving way for all kinds of connected technology to streamline and simplify manufacturing processes. For example, IoT can be programmed to provide real-time alerts of damaged or defective goods, which seems like a small thing, but could actually save millions of dollars in costs and waste.
The term Industry 4.0 comes from the idea of intricate integration of IoT, creating an interconnected factory where vital equipment is online, intelligent and capable of making decisions.
2. Artificial Intelligence
While artificial intelligence in itself is not new, it is nevertheless revolutionizing how the manufacturing industry collects and interprets data, performs complex functions and predicts consumer behavior. Today’s smart factories feature integrated IT systems to feed relevant data to both sides of the supply chain—in some cases improving production capacity by as much as 20 percent.
3. Rapid 3D Printing
While 3D printing is an exciting technology, the problem with it is its limited applications in plastic manufacturing. Furthermore, the slow layer-by-layer printing process of plastic materials only makes it feasible for small objects, especially to faster methods like injection molding.
But a new technology called High Speed Sintering could be the key to mass 3D printing plastic objects, using a combination of an ink jet head and infrared lamp to speed up the process. A few years from now we could see entire factories mass printing all kinds of plastic goods.
4. Autonomous Robots
Robots are nothing new in manufacturing. But a new generation of robots is not only capable of mimicking human characteristics like memory and dexterity, they can also be taught to perform complex tasks and work together as a team. These robots are now being used to make production environments safer for humans, performing demanding tasks in dangerous environments. Drone trucks, for example, are used in mining sites to transport loads and collect data at the same time.
Find Your Next Manufacturing Candidate!
Of course, to take advantage of these technologies, you need the right people in place to use them effectively. The Patriot Group provides professional recruiting and placement services, and can help your organization find top manufacturing talent today!