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Technology Trends in the Future of Manufacturing
Category: Manufacturing & Engineering

4 Technology Trends Manufacturers will keep an eye on in 2021

2020 was the year of aberrant challenges for manufacturers across the globe. Along with the current trend of digitally transforming processes from the company to the shop-floor level to the supply chain, manufacturers quickly had to respond to COVID-19. Pre-pandemic, a lot of manufacturers were trying to measure their digital transformation initiatives beyond the PoC stage, strategically changing themselves from product-centric to customer-centric enterprise. Leveraging data, data integration, artificial intelligence (AI), and data analytics was important for continuous process enhancement across the entire business, from the shop floor to the enterprise level.

The Coronavirus pandemic, however, put instantaneous pressure on manufacturing enterprises to shift their focus on making their processes resilient. In addition, it created several new challenges like how to assure uninterrupted supply chains with a consistent flow and availability of raw materials and other important product elements, how to keep employees safe, how to achieve social distancing within the organization, and how to allow remote working.

In order to be more resilient and agile operations, manufacturers are significantly switching to infrastructure technologies like the cloud. This allows them to not only transfer CAPEX to OPEX, hence optimizing cash flow, but also to establish foundations for more scalable and resilient factory tasks.

Let us look at some of the top manufacturing technology trends that industries ought to pay heed to in 2021.

1. Human-centric machine learning and artificial intelligence:

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most remarkable technologies in the market. Along with machine learning, artificial intelligence is allowing smart manufacturing, helping manufacturers to reduce costs and optimize operations. AI-powered systems also help manufacturing companies reduce the time-to-market for products by decreasing the production time. The design of the product can alone helps the enterprise to stand out from others in the market.

ML and AI by analyzing the operational processes, allow manufacturers to establish unique and sustainable products with innovative designs at lower prices. These technologies also help entrepreneurs in arriving at logical conclusions and in taking strategic decisions. Also, AI and MI find application in the manufacturing sector across various areas like supply chain management, inventory management, warehousing, forecasting, etc.


2. Enhanced scalability using cloud computing:

In today’s cut-throat competitive environment, manufacturers are under a lot of pressure for catering to increasing customer demands and offer better services. Hence, companies are continuously searching for innovative ways to optimize processes, increase production capabilities, and thereby fulfill customer demands.

Cloud computing helps enterprises to address all the requirements. It allows them to manage all the activities including new product launching, prototyping, sales, and marketing from an integrated platform. Also, it enables to scale up computing capabilities increasingly without much investment. On the contrary to integrated and optimized tasks, cloud computing also provides other advantages like time and cost savings, business continuity, reliability, etc.

3. Go for computer-aided manufacturing:

Computer-aided manufacturing means using software and computer-operated machinery to simplify and automate several manufacturing operations. The latest technological innovations have allowed computer-aided manufacturing from computer-aided design. In computer-aided design, a product is designed with the help of software, while in the CAM, the manufacturing of some products is also done automatically via the software and computer-controlled machines by using geometric design. This enables manufacturers to reduce the human workforce needed for production.

Even though CAD and CAM are used for a long-time, their usage has been limited to large-scale organizations. However, medium-scaled enterprises are also significantly leveraging these technologies, and the trend is estimated to grow in the coming future.

4. Increased use of industrial IoT:

Since the inception of industrial IoT, hardware and software were studied as two different entities. Industrial IoT by connecting hardware machinery with computer software has led to the establishment of more data-driven operations and a working environment. IoT has revolutionized a lot of industries; however, the significance of IoT on the processes of the manufacturing sector is remarkable. Industrial IoT, by streamlining communication among several devices, is allowing enhanced interactions in the factory work floor and hence helping entrepreneurs to monitor processes in a better manner.

Conclusion

As digital manufacturing evolves in the coming years, the industrial manufacturing industry will have to progress. At KCS, we understand that the future of global manufacturing is increasingly digital, with AI, IoT, and Big Data are significantly changing environments that can be inconvenient and difficult to navigate. We help simplify manufacturing frameworks and enhance the efficiency of systems via cutting-edge automation, management, enterprise app design, support, quality assurance.

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