For several years now, the manufacturing industry has seen revolutionary changes within the field thanks to new technology, strong innovation, and ever-changing consumer needs. This past year has been no different, as we have seen exiting new trends that have taken place among companies all over the country, and world. Here are just a few influential movements that we have seen in 2016.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The concept of the ‘connected factory’ has been evolving throughout the past few years. Internet of Things is the growing capability of the Worldwide Web to connect machine, sensors, computers, and humans in order to enable new levels of information retrieval, processing, and examining. Essentially these devices allow for more specifics and can convert data that you collect into business-problem solutions that will boost your productivity, efficiency and overall bottom line. For example, Stanley Black and Decker have adopted Internet of Things at one of their plants in Mexico to manage their production operations in real-time via mobile and computer devices. As a direct result, their “equipment effectiveness has increased by 24 percent, labor utilization by 10 percent, and throughput by 10 percent.” In the future, next generations of IoT should go further than just real-time monitoring, as we expect it to connect platforms using the data retrieved to deliver superior, and more durable products to the consumer.
Thanks to advances in computer science, informational technology, and engineering, manufacturing has been able to give real-time information and help at the point of use. It starts at the factory floor where the user simply follows text, audio, graphics, and other visuals that are shown through goggles or real assemblies as they conduct a particular duty at the business. This technology can then allow you to analyze the accuracy, timeliness, and other reports, which all can be sent to a supervisor. Today, manufacturing companies use augmented reality in order to provide detailed training, track products, and improve safety. In the future, we see the technology being sold as additional add-ons to the manufacturer’s product, which would in return create greater revenue. In addition, augmented reality will soon be used as a detailed instructional manual, where it will eliminate employee mistakes.
This technology, which is also called additive manufacturing, produces physical objects from online designs by building thin layers of plastic, resin, metal or other materials that would help create the shape. Currently, 3D printing is being used to build product prototypes, shrink manufacturing times, and alter the economics of a product. The technology though, is limited due to a limited design of products it capable of producing. Even with its limitations, companies have embraced this technology. While they use it for prototypes today, many are looking to 3D printing in the future as a way to make cost-effective specialized products for specific uses.
We have seen the field of manufacturing innovated substantially in this past year alone, and everyone at the Sullivan Corp is looking forward to seeing what exiting new trends 2017 will bring! Click HERE to read more.