AI (Artificial Intelligence) and 3D printing are just two examples of smart technology that are revolutionising the manufacturing industry. The industry is continuing to look for development and they’re a far cry away from the moving assembly line established in 1913.
The buzz term “enablers” floats around the sector, describes technology that has allowed rapid development to occur in the industry. Not only have “enablers” improved business production speed and have increased efficiency, they’ve also offered ways for companies to measure and track their results, which maximises their profits.
Within the manufacturing processes, there are various software programmes involved in distribution, energy management and sales, which are heavily relied upon. For every business, smart technology is the heart of its operations. Here, with commercial gas supplier, Flogas, we investigate various smart technologies available, and how they can be of benefit.
With the advancement of technology comes a bigger emphasis on the use of digital platforms within businesses. 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.
Industrial Internet of things
With a firm understanding and insight of all processes, businesses are likely to perform better. 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.
We all have our opinions and ideas of what AI looks like. 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.
A manufacturing business can only perform at it’s very best, if the machinery is in full working condition. 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. This allows operators to address any potential motor repair or other maintenance tasks to prevent machine downtime, saving the company a lot of money. However, if a machine is in working order, the manufacturing process continues, and profits are protected.
Think ahead all the time
There has been strong evidence conducted in regard to ‘change’ within the manufacturing industry that suggest it’s actually beneficial for businesses and their outputs – often being the necessary push required to keep both colleagues and processes up to speed.
All businesses require an in-depth knowledge of their inventory and tasking a staff member to manually check everything is 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.
Effectively being the next stage of AI, industrial robots, despite being lightly used at this present time, can carry out various 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.
Often when manufacturers are developing a new product, 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.
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?