Top 4 Technologies driving change in manufacturing

Ever since the first industrial revolution, manufacturers have been one of the most eager and innovative users of progressive technologies across its ecosystems. Connected manufacturing is quickly becoming among the most significant technology-based generational shifts. These technological shifts are no less important than steam power, electricity or automation have been! All these innovations in their time led to incremental changes across the industry.

Connected manufacturing has rapidly achieved similar status. The speed at which organizations are moving to for example, completely paperless operations or swapping to low-cost consumer devices in roles that used to require specialized equipment. Companies that are using the cloud to connect their business processes, people, suppliers and customers can see the pay-offs these technologies have. More than one third of manufacturers in United States say that their revenue increases stem from the application of new technology.

These are the 4 biggest new technologies driving change in manufacturing:

1. Connected manufacturing - IIoT

2. Cloud Computing

3. Additive Manufacturing - 3D printing & wearables

4. Deeper machine data mining and alalysing

Keep reading to find out more about how industry leaders are implementing these new technologies and what to expect in the near future!

CONNECTED MANUFACTURING - THE SHOP FLOOR

IIoT has caught the attention of business professionals across industries and it is the cornerstone of the 4th industrial revolution. Manufacturers today, are legless without IoT, so they are improving machine integration by using cloud technology and striving to improve mobile and personal device connectivity.

The use of robotics is also becoming a huge trend among manufacturers. Since 2016 there has been a 25% increase in robotics' deployments and it's already commonly used in manufacturing operations. The use of robotics continues to expand into Tier One as well as mid-sized organizations, as prices have decreased and the programming and configuring functions have become simpler.

 

CONNECTED MANUFACTURING - 3D PRINTING & WEARABLES

An increase has also been witnessed in additive manufacturing and 3D printing. Additive manufacturing is still commonly used for prototyping and holds promise as a direct connection between concept, design and execution. Even complex part assemblies can be constructed with additive equipment, so the adoption of additive manufacturing is expected to grow and accelerate in the near future. Sensors and IP-enabled tools and machines are also utilized in increasing numbers of manufacturers.

Mobility and human interfaces continue to be an important focus for manufacturers. Connectivity of cloud systems is enabling them to leverage consumer mobile devices to support consumers and employees in every facet of business. More and more manufacturers are deploying tablets in their processes and many are moving towards completely paperless operations. The adoption of wearable devices also show an increase compared to last year, for example, according to PLEX's research, the use of smart watches alone has doubled amongst manufacturers. The reason for the extensive experimentation with these devices is caused by their cost and easy connectivity.

Ultimately, mobile user support is now omnipresent for the entire industry. The use of mobile phones, laptops, and hand scanners is still as popular as ever within the industry. These device are also supporting the integration of cloud-based software that bring multiple benefits to the organization.

CONNECTED MANUFACTURING - SUPPLY CHAIN

Supplier and customer relationships are fundamental to manufacturing. High efficiency and optimal quality have little significance if the materials are scarce or substandard. Availability of products is not equal to on-time delivery. The increase in deployed cloud-based systems, the improvements in data and analytics and real-time telemetry through-out the value chain reflect to the supply chain performance. The majority of manufacturers that have implemented these technologies recognize improvements in their overall supply chain performance as a direct result of cloud based systems. This reflects an accumulated benefit from business-wide connected manufacturing, real-time access to data and improved communications.

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What’s next: 

  • Connective technology on the shop floor continues to grow. According to PLEX's survey, leading manufacturers have already deployed connected solutions, and strategies aim to add more devices and sensors, and thereby more data, to the enterprise backbone. Efforts include better informing mobile workers on the shop floor and deeper machine data mining to improve and extend the performance of equipment and shop floor consumables. 
  • According to the survey, the connected supply chain is expected to grow hugely in the near future. More than 30% of PLEX's respondents are already focusing on connected solutions and another 30% are implementing this new technology in the next 5 years. Similarly, more than 30 percent are expecting to integrate sales and operations planning within the next five years. This can be a shift within the industry that builds directly on the connected manufacturing, access to real-time data, and enhanced integration capabilities. 
  • While there are risks that are being monitored and managed, manufacturers should be concerned about the availability of skilled employees. Finding employees with the needed skills in the new technologies that are being adopted is becoming more and more competitive. Training skilled workforce or finding it, will require more time, energy and engagement.
  • Technology is once again accelerating chance across industries - Supply chains will continue to undergo transformation through connected technologies and the way workforce, facilities and the extended ecosystem is being leveraged.

 

Manufacturers’ investments in innovations aren’t just changing the way things are made across the planet. As advocates of the 4th Industrial Revolution, technology is once again acting as the main accelerator for change across the entire industry, transforming ecosystems, and providing new platforms for further innovation.

Need help with implementing your innovation strategy on a practical level? 

Our team helps businesses find innovative solutions for their business development needs through innovations and growth companies. We go through vast amounts of data to find the best startups/scaleups for our clients’ business development needs.

Read PLEX's whole survey here:

https://www.plex.com/content/dam/plex/en_us/resources/white-paper/2017StateofManufacturingReport-WP-10450.pdf

The 4th Industrial Revolution is Here: Are You Ready?

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In the era of digital transformation, many businesses face challenges. It has become increasingly important for companies to be able to respond to the markets faster than the competition. This is why it's necessary to deploy technological advancements in to the entire organization, to improve its processes and operations.

How are manufacturers embracing disruption?

Even the most traditional industries, like manufacturing, are driving changes in how things are made, beginning from building the product concept, all the way to what happens at the CEO's desktop. Industry leaders in manufacturing are already implementing new technologies and innovations to improve their added value chain. They do this by combining the physical and digital that are disrupting the markets, accelerating creativity and transforming customer relationships. Another thing that has changed industries tremendously, is customer expectations. Customers expect customization and collaborative innovation along high quality digital services. 

Demand signals in manufacturing have become less predictable, which has made speed and agility the new standards for industry leadership. There are numerous reasons why the manufacturing industry is undergoing a so called revolution. Cloud computing has been one of the biggest accelerators for innovation within this industry, and it supports the connected processes that not only cover the shop floor but broader customer and supplier ecosystems too. Then there is the industrial internet of things.. IIOT is creating new ways (3D printing, connected manufacturing, wearable devices) to improve how designing, building, selling and servicing is done. 

Cloud computing and software as a service have also delivered opportunities by changing the cost model for business systems and enabling smaller manufacturers to take on larger operations. CC has also opened a new era in connectivity by making it simpler and cheaper to link systems together and have them form networks. Although these cloud based solutions were initially implemented to improve basic functions like inventory, the cloud's efficiency and connectivity is being leveraged in new an innovative ways.

Data Taking Over

Manufacturers are reaching more and more into machine telemetry, looking for deeper insights from data, that can point to further improvements. Data elements are strongly present, but sometimes pushed aside by operational priorities - this however, is changing! Big Data and analytics will be the ground for decision-making. Twice as many manufacturers are using analytics today, compared to last year and this conversion is only accelerating. Analytics have been used of course, to enhance productivity, but it is also used more and more for predictive maintenance and supply chain risk management. Analytics are now stretching from machine data to supplier score cars and product quality. New levels of telematics are being built into the products to give further information about the production processes. This data is then further analyzed in combination with the insights from within the entire organization.

Connected Manufacturing - The Base for Innovation

Connections between people, processes, machines and production has always presented possibilities for manufacturers to innovate through quality and efficiency. Now, manufacturers are taking connectivity to the next level by linking every aspect of their operations and their value chain. The connected supply chain is expected  to explode, and according to PLEX's report, more than 30% of the manufacturers they interviewed, are focusing on it already today. According to the report, 45% of the interviewees consider the cloud as an important contributor to their own products and 96% note that improvements in connectivity to systems, machines, suppliers, and customers comes as a direct result of cloud systems.

Is your company facing a business challenges?

Our team helps businesses find innovative solutions for their business development needs through innovations and growth companies. We go through vast amounts of data to find the best startups/scaleups for our clients’ business development needs.

To get new ideas, solutions, advice and startup field expertise,

Mikael Juntunen
mikael@catapult.guru
+358 50 4055252

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For reference check out this industry report:

https://www.plex.com/content/dam/plex/en_us/resources/white-paper/2017StateofManufacturingReport-WP-10450.pdf