The manufacturing industry has recently gone to great efforts to incorporate smart technology through AI (Artificial Intelligence) and 3D printing. Continually pushing for development, we are now a far cry away from the moving assembly line established in 1913.
The recent buzz term in the industry, ‘enablers’, describes the technology which has allowed for these rapid developments. Not only have they helped businesses speed up their production and increase efficiency, it has offered a way for companies to measure and track their results. This creates the opportunity for greater profit.
In terms of business processes, several software programmes involved in distribution, energy management, and sales, are now heavily relied on within the manufacturing processes. Smart technology is at the heart of virtually every businesses’ operations. Here, with propane cylinder supplier, Flogas, we take a look the various smart technologies available, and how they can be of benefit.
AI (Artificial Intelligence)
We all probably have a visual in our head of what AI is. But for manufacturing, it’s different to the movies! In industry, AI effectively translates into an extension of human capabilities. For example, voice control, which allows for staff members to instruct commands without having to enter information into a computer. Likewise, specially-designed algorithms are also used by AI, helping it to react quicker to changes that may occur within a business’ data than a human would be able to.
Manufacturing machinery needs to be in full-working condition for businesses to reach their full potential. But, workers will often only notice an issue once it has reached a state restricting it from further use. That said, smart technologies such as condition monitoring help assess drastic temperature changes and unusual vibrations to machinery. If a machine is in working order, the manufacturing process continues, and profits are protected.
There is also strong evidence that suggests ‘change’ within manufacturing that suggests that it actually benefits a business and its output — often being the necessary push required to keep both colleagues and process up to speed.
Technology is always expanding, therefore businesses will place a considerably larger emphasis on their use of digital platforms. This enhances the potential risk of an attack or failure. Due to the fact the manufacturing industry is the third most attacked sector in the UK, in regard to cyber-crime, implementing an effective cyber security scheme is crucial. Protection of your network is essential as it helps prevent any disruption or intrusion.
The Internet of Things
Businesses need a firm understanding and insight into all of their processes if they want to perform well. The production process is a complex machine and tracking each and every stage can be rather difficult. However, the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) allows for every device, machine, and process to be interlinked via one, larger data communications hub. By collating the various insights, suggestions can be made, leading to increased profit margins.
Whatever industry you’re in, every business requires an in-depth knowledge of its inventory. But tasking a staff member to manually enter every change is rather time consuming. Block-chain processes, on the other hand, has developed itself a must-have for manufacturing companies. It allows firms to digitally track goods, logs, and supply chains. Large amounts of data can be collated using real-time analysis, ultimately speeding up the production process, and guaranteeing that nothing is missed.
The next stage on from AI will most likely be industrial robotics, which can carry out a variety of manufacturing tasks. Usually, they are quicker and more efficient than humans. More importantly, however, is the fact industrial robots present less danger in regard to injury and therefore can be placed in situations which pose a higher risk to humans. In certain circumstances within the industry, ‘cobots’ have been established, to work in conjunction, or collaboration, with humans.
While manufacturers developing new products, a difficulty arises when they cannot assess how said product will perform in different environments. Now, however, a ‘digital twin’, enables industrial companies to effectively mimic the product they already have, placing it into a host of various arenas, ultimately providing them with the facility to forecast both cost and production.
It is clear the manufacturing industry has been enhanced tenfold by the vast range of developments which have occurred within the past century, but, more so the past decade. Companies can work better, faster, and smarter thanks to these smart technologies, but, who knows what’s next?