Technologies that shape the future of manufacturing

Ever since the dawn of humanity, we had enriched ourselves by facilitating various newest technologies that helped us to live the life to its fullest. The merchandise produced by the market, no doubt, has defined the drive of our economy and shaped our culture as a whole.





But the technologies heretofore were found to be inefficient to fulfil the expectations of the emerging manufacturing industries. Fortunately, the arrival of certain new and innovative technologies are renovating the entire paradigm of the face of manufacturing. So here in this article, we are going to explore the key technologies that can be said as the reliable factors to refurbish manufacturing.






For our purpose, we are going to probe five essential technologies that certainly have proved to support the industrial mechanisms of manufacturing.







Internet of Things (IoT)




The forerunner of our technologically advanced times is, indubitably, the practice of Internet of Things. Why is it so significant? IoT can generally be defined as a system in which multiple devices – whether it is digital or mechanical – are designed so as to interrelate with each other in order to transmit data over a committed network, where the environment is completely devoid of human intervention whatsoever. This philosophy of interconnectivity is at the heart of IoT.




Would not that be great if you are in your office from where you could access your computer at home and derive files from it? Would not that be splendid if your usual alarm clock with the IoT systems, which is set to wake you up at 6:00 AM, sense that something is wrong with your car and you got to catch the bus to work, wakes you up a bit earlier, say 5:30 AM? That’s the marvel of IoT, whose major goal revolves around the process of connecting together all the devices that are equipped with internet.




So how does IoT makes a big change the manufacturing industry has never seen before? It is important to note that it is estimated that there will be a whopping amount of 70 Billion USD investment on IoT by the manufacturing industries in the next few years.





Remote Access




The advantage of remote access is the major point of focus when it comes to the manufacturing side. A machinery powered by IoT technology can convey certain information to the other team of workers within a same or other organization, thereby equipping them with the possibility of interconnected and real-time business process feed. So we can optimize and guide all the stages in a production unit with interlinked components.





IoT Sensors




IoT technology employs sensors to condition the entire infrastructure of manufacturing business. For instance, if perishable foods like fish and other edible goods are exported to a certain destination, it is important to set the temperature in such a way that the product is transferred from one place to another intact. So IoT sensors keep track of the right temperature to be maintained in transit. If there arises an event of fluctuation of the right temperature, the information is promptly passed on to the other end or another probable point so as to alert them of the problem.




In this way, the manufactured and value-added goods can be protected by the right prompt of IoT sensors.





Ebb and Flow of the Production




IoT can be of biggest help when it comes to the monitoring the entire production flow. The operation of initially refining the particular product down to its packaging and delivery is overseen with infallible care by the IoT systems. If there should any adjustments in operations be made or better care to be taken in case of failure, is informed to the pertaining production unit in no time.





Catalogue Management




Once the production phase is successfully crossed, there surfaces a hefty task of marketing the product through the supply chain unit. If there is any divergence to be found from the original plan of supply, it is notified and corrected accordingly. Even the cross-passage stock of the goods are intimated to the management real-time and the estimation of the inventory is shared with the interconnected production team.





Big Data




The accumulation of data is at a breakneck speed and the format in which it is stored exceeds our grasp, right? So no matter how larger the data is but what really counts is how we manage it. So this large amount of data is collected together – whether it is in a structured or unstructured format – so as to analyze and arrive at a meaningful point of coherence. A voluminous amount of data is received in a high velocity from multiple varieties of forms and formats. So in order to lead a successful manufacturing environment, we should know how to navigate the big data to our goal.





Find out the popular product




The most important goal of big data is to collect an enormous amount of data from which the desired result could be derived by tracing and figuring out the recurring patterns and models. So in a manufacturing company, if we are clueless as to which particular product is gaining wide attention among people amid a set of multiple other products, all we need to do is to collect the sales data from the market and analyze the sales rate of each product. By following the recurring patterns in that data set betrays which product is popular among the consumers.




In online shopping websites, it will be displayed as “customers who bought this always bought” so and so. All these are done with the valuable support of big data.




Quality Assurance




There is a by-category of analysis known as predictive analysis in big data. If certain digital gadgets are manufactured and put through the quality assurance test to verify the intended purpose, it is certainly improbable to put each and every unit of the gadget through several tests to analyze the quality.




But the predictive analysis algorithm is designed in such a way that the manufacturing process is watchfully monitored and thereby it is sufficient just to focus on very few necessary tests for the guaranteed quality.





Artificial Intelligence (AI)




How impressive is it to know that human intelligence can be replicated by inanimate robots? What does it feel like to become gods ourselves by creating an intelligent being that makes a decision – a feat accomplished thus far only by humans alone? Yes, artificial intelligence brings it to a possibility in which machines learns from experience, receives input information and acts accordingly, and performs tasks that only humans could do.




It may astonish us to know that a computer designed by IBM called Deep Blue defeated world’s greatest chess grandmaster Gary Kasparov in a historic chess match in 1997. The human intelligence is mimicked by computers and they can deduce the relevant right course of action in a given situation. Imparting the man-made computers with the potential to make decisions is the stunning achievement of Artificial Intelligence.





Intelligent decision-making




So what valuable stuff the technology of Artificial Intelligence can bring into the manufacturing industry? To avail the benefit of AI, a manufacturing company has to have a string of powerful network, good production line team, and established quality control design, artificial intelligence can make rightful and informed decisions in every step of a production. If there any defects to be found, the AI-powered system immediately makes the decision according to the intent and eliminates the defective part of that particular product.




So the support of AI in manufacturing is so massive that several manufacturing heavyweights rely on AI technology to help them attain maximum product accuracy and cost-control. Unnecessary costs are reduced and lost business is averted.





Virtual Reality and Automation




It should be noted that large car manufacturers all around the world relies on artificially-designed robots to assemble the cars. Once automated, the artificial intelligence-powered machines are fail-safe and accomplish the task perfectly. Through virtual reality, AI allows people even who are remotely situated to work together by connecting them with a united environment.




This collaboration results in increased productivity in a lesser time than a normal situation would demand. Moreover, robotic technologies enabled with artificial intelligence can do the important tasks of image and voice recognition. So even the highly complex tasks that demand human intelligence can skillfully be done with these robotic bots.









All said, some statistical facts blows our mind: according to a detailed report by Forbes magazine, it is estimated that there will be a great surge in the investments on IoT – a remarkable compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.6% in just a period of 5 years from 2016-2021. The same report notes the unprecedented acclaim artificial intelligence received by stating that the predicted market investment would be a leap from 8 billion dollars in 2016 to 72 billion in 2021. So all these statistical proof reflects on manufacturing industries as well. The major technologies discussed in this piece of writing – Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence – are going to singlehandedly alter the entire history of manufacturing industry like never before.


January 16, 2019
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