The manufacturing sector is changing at a meteoric pace and much of this change is due to innovation and progression in technology. Manufacturing Global takes a look at the tech solutions having the greatest impact on the industry.
Additive manufacturing, or 3d printing, is big news in the manufacturing sector. The new technology has captured the imagination of the general public and manufacturing executives alike, however it has also proven to be a game-changer for the industry.
Additive manufacturing technology has evolved so much in recent years, to the point where it can produce components made of metals, mixed materials, plastics and even human tissue. The benefits of 3d printing include shorter lead times, improved quality and reduced waste, flexibility and cost savings.
Additive manufacturing is creating a shift in the way engineers and designers think about product development, therefore changing the way we train future manufacturing employees.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) allows devices to communicate with one another automatically without human input and is having a profound effect on the manufacturing sector. The benefits of IoT technology include, reduced down time due to the fact that machines can notify mechanics about defects and required maintenance; increased quality; less waste; and greater visibility of the manufacturing floor via big data analytics, which in turn leads to improvements across the board.
Nanotechnology is one of the most interesting – and potentially game changing - technologies to come to the fore in recent years. Nanotech, or the manipulation of matter on atomic and molecular scales, is currently used to describe micro-scale technology in everything from space technology to biotech. As such, nanotech has already changed the world. But the fruition of atomically precise manufacturing (APM) — nanotech’s next phase — promises to create such ‘radical abundance’ that it will not only change industry but civilization itself.
Though many business leaders still have reservations about the cloud for manufacturing application, the space is advancing rapidly to address major concerns around connectivity and security, as well as other issues, while making the benefits of cloud adoption too attractive to ignore.
The benefits of implementing cloud computing technology include greater visibility of the manufacturing plant, both locally and globally – for example a manufacturer can share data quickly and effectively from one facility to another; cost saving insofar as cloud computing will lower the cost of ownership when it comes to implementing software and greater quality control and performance management.