While we see manufacturing jobs shifting all around the country, much of it has to do with the latest in manufacturing trends. Whether related to the workforce, technology, or the way that materials are sourced, manufacturers know to watch their industry carefully. Even the slightest change in the price of raw material can have an unforeseen ripple effect.
Here are five of the trends to look out for in the manufacturing world.
1. Manufacturing with Intelligence
By integrating artificial intelligence with the world of manufacturing, there are exciting benefits yet to see. With the large-scale adoption of data-driven models, things are bound to change. Advanced manufacturing technology will soon require all that data to create the kind of customized output users will demand.
Intelligent manufacturing helps businesses to organize data, production, and all of their schedules. They can deliver efficiently and accurately and even allow their customers to track packages.
The product quality companies provide will also improve. Intelligent manufacturing allows companies to stay ahead of issues, respond to customer feedback, and see what’s not selling as well as planned. They can work this data into the system seamlessly and change things as needed.
When resources need to be allocated somewhere else, the system can respond immediately without user input. By creating an interconnected system of staff and tools, the needs of everyone are going to be met with lower costs and higher efficiency.
2. Data-Driven Everything
While managing the data that is generated by manufacturing once felt insurmountable, it’s now seen as the bare minimum. Rather than just collecting, storing, and organizing data, companies now need entire departments dedicated to using that data. There are important insights to gain from this data and even money to be made.
Data harvesting is now a well known and understood practice at the consumer level. People know that when a pharmacy asks for their email address, it’s not just to send them coupons, but to track their consumer habits. You could be doing something similar to help drive manufacturing.
Gather data to help you understand how you can grow. If you’re constantly seeing a machine break down, you might want to change the way you make the object you manufacture with it. However, if that machine is breaking down from overuse, perhaps you need to invest in a second machine and keep doing what you’re doing.
Your data needs to be organized in such a way that it’s visually meaningful to everyone who sees it. If you don’t organize it properly, it’s going to be a challenge to get the most out of your data.
3. More Accessible Production
One of the most exciting technological developments in the last decade has been the rise of 3D printing. Not only is 3D printing easier than ever, but it’s also affordable and accessible to many people who never would have tried it before.
If you’re in the manufacturing world and have been for a while, you could see 3D printing as a threat. It makes it so that smaller companies can manufacture prototypes and get to production faster than ever. However, you’d have the same amount of access to rapid prototyping tools and even more resources than any startups.
Since the beginning of 3D printing, the auto industry has been experimenting with it. They’re not releasing any final products made this way but they use it to create prototypes for new components all the time. They use all of their talent and engineering skills to push the limits of these technologies.
4. Better, Faster, Stronger
Every year, computers break new ground in their ability to write, read, and process data. Computing power is reaching unforeseen levels and operating at speeds we never thought imaginable. Every major technology expert has noticed that we’re constantly exceeding our own predictions.
With the innovation of cloud computing, we can transfer data around the globe in fractions of a second. Machines and processes can be operated remotely while we stand in another country entirely. The amount of control, accuracy, and precision are only possible because of the innovations made down at the level of the circuits themselves.
Machine tools now come standard with computerized integration. There is often free software available to manipulate just about any device that has network connectivity. The Internet of Things means that every element of the manufacturing process can be reading, writing, and storing data.
As you finish a project, you can get a readout of how much material you used and how much you have left. You can see the percentage of errors and how long your machines operated without incident. Every element of your process can be outfitted with some kind of monitor to keep things moving in the right direction.
5. More People Jumping on Board
One of the big changes in manufacturing is how it’s seen a revival. As tariff schedules have changed and more people are seeking locally produced products, local manufacturing is booming.
Even once abandoned urban spaces are seeing revivals where people are reopening or repurposing old manufacturing spaces. That’s because so many talented engineers are living in cities and want to bring their ideas to life there. This is changing the landscape and the market for manufacturing in major ways.
Check out this site if you want to discover more about other innovators in the field.
Manufacturing Trends are Always Shifting
Looking at all of the manufacturing trends that are shaping the landscape of every industry, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve. If you’re not up on the technological developments to come, you could leave behind.
If you’re looking to manufacture as cleanly as possible, check out our guide for tips.