Innovations in manufacturing and the whole supply chain are changing the face of what it means to be in production, and the convergence of tech and production are creating new and innovative methods of servicing the whole supply chain and leading to the creation of new products.
They say life comes at you fast, and nowhere is this truer than in technology and industry. Innovation is key, and the ability to recognize how technological developments can be applied in a manufacturing setting is what is setting companies apart. Here are some of the top things to look out for and consider investing in the next 18 months.
Industry 4.0 Reference
We are already seeing more application of automation and data exchange in manufacturing, but it is going one step further with the integration of smart robots, human-robot collaboration, additive manufacturing and augmented reality. Add this to immersive training and integration of the value train and what we are seeing is the ability to enable exponential growth and scalability of manufacturing on a massive scale.
One example of this is the use of human-controlled and autonomous drones used for inventory and equipment inspection. With incident and event management controlled by automated drone reports.
Even wider application of nanotechnology and electrospinning
Electrospinning is already in operation commercially, due to the affordability and ease of set up of the industrial electrospinning machine. We can see its use across a wide range of sectors due to the versatility of materials that can be produced for specialist functions. For example in creating artificial skin that melds with living tissues for wound repair or organ protection. Or the encapsulation of pharmaceuticals to protect the shelf life and quality of the product within. It is, of course, prevalent in the creation of specialist fabrics and air filtration too.
But the fact is the application of nanotechnology is only just coming into its full potential in terms of industry. A few enterprising companies are proving that it is scalable, and from there, its applications are endless due to the fact almost any material can be used in the process.
Integration of AI and a faster Internet of Things is leading the way
With the rollout started of 5G connectivity beginning this year, the boom in the Internet of Things will continue. Add to this the increasing development of AI and machine learning mean the management of huge amounts of data and the generation of solutions and insights will improve efficiency and responsiveness like never before. Automation of problem-solving will have huge benefits in production and will prevent wastage too.
Blockchain grows up
Anyone with an interest in cryptocurrency will have heard of blockchain. But now the genius that is blockchain is being recognized for many practical applications in the industry too. Application of blockchain in logisticswill improve the speed and efficiency of financial operations, also improving security and cost-effectiveness. In one distributed ledger system, companies can have a transparent view of activity logs. These let everyone see every part in the supply chain in real time and identify problems before they become widespread.
3D printing on an epic scale
Initially a great novelty, 3D printing is pushing its way into manufacturing at lightning speed. Due to its capacity to produce prototypes in record time, it is now being developed to cater to full-scale manufacturing. It can make production cheaper, faster and stronger than ever before. Of course, to take advantage of these new solutions, you need to be prepared to invest and take the risk in order to reap the rewards. The alternative is being left behind the competitors.