The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated digital transformation in manufacturing significantly, as businesses had to get used to supply chain disruptions, remote work and new delivery methods. If there was one thing that the whole manufacturing industry learned in the year 2020, it is that investing and adopting the latest technologies is not just a yes or no choice when it comes to streamlining processes and ensuring business survival. Latest technologies are helping manufacturers to reduce costs, optimize the process, enhance the quality of the products and boost the overall productivity of the workforce. There’s no doubt that many companies have started to realize the long term benefits of digital transformation. If you, too, plan to go digital, you can benefit greatly from it. This article will tell you some reasons why a manufacturing company should invest in digital transformation as well as show you top 10 trends to watch for 2021.
For a manufacturing business to be more efficient and effective, there’s no choice other than focusing on innovation and technology. And digital manufacturing is a great concept at this time for these six ways that you could benefit from working digitally:
- Improve efficiency & productivity: Moving to the next level of traditional manual processes, cloud-based solutions will help improve decision-making capabilities, avoid costly rework and downtime, simplify performance monitoring, identify weaknesses and bottlenecks, and so on. This way, your business can save a huge amount of time and money while also doing more effectively.
- Reduce costs: Digital manufacturing can help you have better insight into issues, such as inventory levels, delivery status, and demand cycles. This will minimum unnecessary risks and costs related to problems like excessive inventory and material.
- Innovation: It will be worth it to invest in the right digital technology, and software, as it will equip your employees with unique, and improved skills.
- Customization: Digitized manufacturers can provide customers attractive customization options. It also allows manufacturers to expand a mass scale while maintaining high efficiency.
- Safety: Robots can work in dangerous environments. The manufacturing staff can be alerted about potential hazards well in advance.
- Attract and empower the next generation workers: By investing in digital technology, it is a better chance of you attracting and retaining skilled employees.
Getting back to the topic at hand, let’s explore the top 10 trends that will rule the manufacturing industry in 2021 and how each one will play a role in defining the digital transformation journey of the industry.
1. IoT (Internet of Thing)
IoT is not something new but it is still trending in 2020 and it will continue for the next few years. IoT is now globally applied and companies are understanding its important role. IoT helps you to connect different types of devices from anywhere via the internet to conduct tasks automatically and to make decisions in real-time, based on the data available at hand. You can manage the supply chain, detect the quality of the parts, the origin of any defect during production, ensure the safety of the employees and perform various other functions with the help of IoT.
2. Big Data and Predictive Analytics
With the development of technologies like IoT, companies are greatly investing in their cloud-based capabilities and building an infrastructure that is able to collect data from every state of the manufacturing process. Having data in hand will help you to reevaluate your strategies and understand your business clearly and timely. But having data is one thing and making it meaningful and useful is another. Therefore, collecting the real-time data of every device in the plant is necessary to predict when a specific device might go off and at what point it may need to be still connected. Predictive analytics helps to avoid downtime periods and manage the plant in a much better way.
5G has been around for a while but manufacturers should use it effectively to improve the smart manufacturing ecosystem. It will offer high-speed internet connection, permit faster communication, and save valuable time. Also, it will help manufacturers to use multiple sensors on different types of devices, improve the cloud infrastructure, enhance the identification of parts, and quality of the product.
4. Digital Adoption Platform
There are a lot of things taking place in the backend, from handling inventory to procuring raw materials. These functions could be complicated when the workflow is so high, especially entering details within the procurement application. Manufacturers might deal with a big problem which is how to conduct those tasks efficiently as well as ensuring the accuracy and integrity of data which are of paramount importance at the same time. It is, therefore, an ideal solution to train your employees while keeping them engaged and a digital adoption platform helps you with that and more.
5. Smart Industrial Robots
Production automation and robots are not something that factories are unfamiliar with, but being able to adjust to complex changing conditions, such as increased customer orders or lower machine performance in another part of the factory must be something that we never thought that the control systems and programming languages can handle. With the advent of robots in conjunction with AI and other emerging technologies, manufacturers can take a critical step toward transforming into an intelligent factory. At this level, robots not only perform tasks, but also are able to engage in data collection, sharing and analysis to work on solving problems with humans. Additionally, collaboration robots, cobots, will emerge to help humans to do tasks in dangerous environments, thereby allowing a human to work safely and smarter at a distance.
6. Digital Twins
A digital twin can behave as a device’s real-life equivalent to collect data on the most effective solution to help manufacturers digitally replicate different scenarios. Manufacturers can also improve quality of goods, design predictive maintenance, optimize production processes and risk mitigation scenario planning by combining digital twins with IoT data and AI.
In order to create the experiences to improve the production floor’s performance, manufacturers are also running alternate reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) applications by using 5G and edge computing. With this technology, employees can assemble a product or repair a machine with a real-time feedback loop to confirm that it was done correctly through support and guidance of AR/VR. In case it’s not fixed immediately with prompted step by step instructions on how to correct, AR will guide inspections to make sure all locations are inspected, and every part is in the correct location or position, and pass the quality criteria.
8. 3D Printing Technology
3D printing technology is a much talked about digital transformation in the manufacturing industry. This technology helps companies make faster and cheaper prototypes. In fact, the use of 3D printing helps to halve costs, while delivering twice the performance. That’s a cost-effective way for product designers to troubleshoot and test their commodities. It also helps manufacturers to produce commodities that are in high demand.
9. Predictive Maintenance Innovation
In the past, if there was any malfunction that was unnoticed, manufacturers would schedule routine maintenance on equipment to check it out. But this work would disrupt the production process and cost money. Now, with the development of digital technology, machines are equipped with internal sensors that send messages automatically to alert workers if maintenance is required. With a real-time notify and response system, the technology of predictive maintenance recognises mechanical failures even before they happen.
10. Agility and Responsiveness
One of the biggest advantages is that technology is making manufacturers focus on bolstering responsiveness and agility due to changing customer demands and market conditions. This is beneficial to the manufacturing industry. You will be able to match production cycles and the emerging product demand levels closely. The more successfully an organization can match those two essentials, the more agility you can pump in your operations.
New technologies will be invented, and the existing ones will be innovated. Consumer needs are increasing within the passing day and companies are competing with each other to satisfy consumer needs. The new technologies will be of paramount importance. So, your manufacturing business needs to realize the long term benefits of digital transformation and have good strategies in order to go digital successfully.
Contact Kyanon Digital today for more detail and information.