The new paradigm of manufacturing is seeing a range of technologies such as robotics, IoT, 3D printing and data analytics being integrated into traditional manufacturing processes.
Companies are beginning to embrace these technologies to increase productivity and profitability. In fact, many manufacturers are looking at digitization as a KPI, not an option, to stay relevant in an increasingly connected environment.
Let’s look at the top 10 technologies that manufacturers worldwide are utilising to boost profits, increase efficiency and reduce costs:
1. Internet of Things (IoT):
IoT has the potential to digitize factory objects to an extent where processes become so flexible that factory owners can benefit from: cost efficiency, flexibility, reduced time cycles and cheaper labour. The biggest advantage of all, however, is that connected devices give factories the freedom to create more customised options for their customers and gain a competitive edge.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI): Patrick Van Den Bossche, Partner, AT Kearney, explains: “Future human-robot collaborations will combine human agility and intelligence to solve problems with the durability and precision of robots at a lower cost.
Also, supported by easy and quick programming, such as motion or voice control, this new collaboration may lead to a marked change in productivity and profoundly affect the traditional factory model overall. Manufacturing is already headed in this direction. Automobile makers BMW and Daimler are about to introduce collaborative robots on a large scale to replace the final assembly activities currently completed by human operators.”
3. 3D Printing: The global market for this technology is developing with 20% growth year-on-year and is estimated to reach between US$25 billion to US$50 billion by 2025. Even traditional manufacturers are realising the opportunities offered by 3-D printing.
In fact, 3D printing represents only 0.04% of the global manufacturing market, with prototyping as the leading use today. Wohler’s and Associates believes 3D printing will eventually capture 5% of the global manufacturing capacity, which would make 3D printing a $640 billion industry.”
4. Big data analytics: It is a common fact that manufacturers generate vast amounts of data, which they very often don’t know what to do with. An online article comments: “Big data analytics can offer several ways for improving asset performance, streamlining manufacturing processes and facilitating product customization.
According to a recent survey by Honeywell, 68% of American manufacturers are already investing in big data analytics. These manufacturers can make informed decisions using productivity and waste performance data provided by big data analytics, lowering operating costs and increasing the overall yield.”
5. Blockchain: Gartner predicts that by 2030, the business value of blockchain will exceed $3.1 trillion and 30% of manufacturing companies with more than $5 billion in revenue would be implementing projects using blockchain.
If you are a UAE-based manufacturer, here’s the opportunity…
In line with Dubai’s “Industrial Strategy 2030”, the economy is looking to fuel the manufacturing sector. According to the Dubai Department of Economic Development, the sector is expected to contribute 25% to the country's overall GDP by 2025.
The UAE’s mandate to continue injecting innovation within this sector combined with manufacturing technology heading in dramatic new directions, keeping pace with change is more important than ever for any SME.
Success requires actively scanning the new technology frontier regularly to position your company to capitalise on opportunities when they arise. Recognising these openings as they occur takes an understanding of the new technologies advantages and risks.
And positioning operations for quick adoption of the right technologies begins with a rigorous assessment of the factories capabilities to take advantage of the technologies. Finally, it is imperative to put in place a clear road map for testing and adopting the technologies so you are ready to move as the opportunities and needs arise.
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