Tag: IIoT manufacturing industry

Future of manufacturing

Future of Manufacturing in Europe: Key Forces That Will Drive Growth and Profitability

Europe’s 2020 agenda for digitization and Horizon 2020 plan for R&D funding are significant initiatives to facilitate a more sustained and competitive economy. These long term strategies will eventually trickle down to the manufacturing sector and play a significant role in the future of manufacturing in Europe. The manufacturing sector currently accounts for nearly 15% of Europe’s GDP and will play a significant role in their long-term economic development. In this blog, experts at Infiniti explore some of the key forces that will drive transformation in the future of manufacturing in Europe and disrupt their manufacturing sphere.

The European manufacturing sector holds tremendous opportunities, but these opportunities also comes with a host of challenges especially for players who are new to the market. Request a free proposal to know how our industry experts can help you stay abreast of the challenges in the European manufacturing space and capitalize on the right opportunities to improve profitability.

Future of Manufacturing in Europe

Future of manufacturingNearshoring in Eastern Europe

Although Western Europe is often considered the hub for manufacturing activities, Central and Eastern European countries including Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Czech Republic are expected to become pivots for manufacturing innovation. The easy availability of cash grants and tax incentives, and the accessibility of skilled researchers are some of the key factors enabling this shift.

Rise of industry 4.0

With large sums of money being allocated as a part of the Horizon 2020 R&D funding program, we can expect significant advancements in computing, sensor technologies, and robotics in the future of manufacturing in Europe. If this becomes a reality, the future of manufacturing in Europe will not be far from achieving the vision of connected enterprises.

Carbon neutral manufacturing processes

The growing climate change and carbon emission concerns are putting pressure on manufacturing companies around the world to resort to more eco-friendly production processes. From a manufacturing industry standpoint, it is vital to optimize current energy consumption in the plant and focus on electricity from renewable sources. Moreover, the EU plans to reduce 40% of its carbon and greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. As a result, we can expect to see several top manufacturing companies embracing the concept of carbon-neutral processes in the future of manufacturing.

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Demand for highly-skilled workforce

The demand for low-skilled manufacturing jobs is on a steady decline. The future of manufacturing in Europe will soon undergo a structural shift as a result of rising demand for highly skilled and efficient workforce. Human-centric factories will become a reality that encompasses attributes such as dynamic work environments, skill development, and factories aligned to social environments.

Disruption of nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is one of the key enabling technologies in Europe’s Horizon 2020 plan. This will proliferate new opportunities in sectors such as food and beverage, where non-scale polymers can be used to prevent oxygen from spoiling the food. This also means that companies in the manufacturing sector will soon be focusing on the use of nanotechnology in their production and packaging process to enhance the output.

Energy and geopolitics

From a political standpoint, an important talking point is the lifting of the Iran Sanctions, and Russia and China coming together due to the economic climate in both countries. As a result, there was a cheaper dumping of goods, as was seen with the steel industry. Iran will provide more of a growth opportunity when compared to Russia and China, with certain sectors including aviation and automotive expected to see opportunities galore.

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smart manufacturing

Answering 4 Key Questions About Smart Manufacturing

Over the past couple of years, smart manufacturing has been the trending topic of discussion amongst manufacturing experts, strategists, and industry thought leaders. Despite smart manufacturing garnering increasing popularity, many in the manufacturing industry aren’t quite sure of what it entails, its benefits, and how it is relevant in their organization. Smart manufacturing is a powerful force with the potential to restructure the existing competitive landscape and produce a new set of market leaders. Companies that are slow to adopt such advanced technologies and processes could be left behind.  In this blog, experts at Infiniti answer four key questions relating to smart manufacturing and how it is transforming the manufacturing landscape as we know it.

smart manufacturing

What is smart manufacturing?

Smart manufacturing involves the use of fully-integrated and collaborative manufacturing systems that respond in real-time for catering to the rapidly changing demands and conditions in the factory, the supply network, and customer needs. It is a broad concept that cannot be implemented directly in the production concept. It employs computer controls, modeling, big data, and other automation to enhance manufacturing efficiencies.

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What are the benefits of smart manufacturing?

Smart manufacturing opens up new avenues of innovation that will optimize the creation of higher quality products, improve productivity, sustain safer plant floors, and improve energy efficiency. Furthermore, it will give manufacturers the opportunity to boost employment rates over the current national manufacturing workforce. With the adoption of smart manufacturing techniques, more technology based manufacturing job positions will be available, creating direct manufacturing as well as non-manufacturing positions.

What does smart manufacturing mean for manufacturers?

For small manufacturing companies leveraging any type of business intelligence solution from legacy systems has been extremely limited.  Generally, these systems are not interoperable. As business models are increasingly becoming non-scalable, non-replicable, overly complex, and costly, it is increasing the difficulties for small manufacturing firms. Using smart manufacturing technology, small and medium companies in the manufacturing industry will gain access to new and growing forms of business intelligence. It can also be used to analyze data and test simulations that play a significant role in improving products, design, and performance.

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How does data drive smart manufacturing?

Smart manufacturing primarily revolves around harnessing data. Since smart factories are built on the foundation of data, cybersecurity will play a key role in the entire manufacturing ecosystem. While enabling advanced techniques such as smart manufacturing, data security is imperative. Machines, smart sensors and robotic platforms on the shop floor generate data that is necessary for monitoring, maintenance, and the basic management of the production line. However, much of this data remains in information silos within the factory. Greater integration of context data coming from several different data sources can enhance efficiency and increase the speed of production processes.

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manufacturing sector

How the US Manufacturing sector Compares to Other Nations

After several years of falling output and diminishing labor force, the industrial manufacturing sector in the United States has been enjoying resurgence over the past couple of years. According to manufacturing industry experts at Infiniti Research, factors including the strengthening economy, better workforce quality, favorable tax policies and regulatory environment, and reduced transportation and energy costs are catalysts for this revival. In order to move forward, it is essential to understand how the manufacturing industries across the world are performing in comparison to that of the U.S. manufacturing industry. In this blog, experts at Infiniti Research provide insights on the manufacturing trends and some of the manufacturing challenges faced by different nations. They also highlight how the US manufacturing sector compares to these nations.

China has one of the strongest manufacturing industries in the world in terms of manufacturing output and the percentage of its national output that is generated. Meanwhile, Poland has the highest percentage of its workforce employed in manufacturing.

United Kingdom

The drop in the value of the British pound against the U.S. dollar and the euro has strengthened the U.K.’s manufacturing sector, thereby facilitating an increased demand overseas for goods from the country. Furthermore, the manufacturing sector holds a strong presence in the country due to its significant role in the export economy. In fact, the manufacturing sector contributes to a good majority of the U.K.’s overall exports. One of the key manufacturing trends in the U.K. is the rising efforts made to capture a significant share of the overseas market. However, the weak pound can impose manufacturing challenges as it may increase the import cost of certain supplies. Furthermore, as Brexit negotiations unfold, the future of manufacturing in the U.K. will experience significant turbulence.

Most companies in the manufacturing industry often cite congestion, logistical issues, or connectivity problems as major barriers to overcome. Are you facing similar issues in your business operations? RFP to learn how our solutions can help you overcome to these predicaments.

Switzerland

The effective governance policy in Switzerland has played a favorable role in shaping its strong manufacturing g sector. As a result of their long-held international neutrality, the country has transparent and fair processes, strong judicial effectiveness, and good economic and political stability. Moreover, Switzerland prioritizes being a strong trading country. The country has also got a top-notch manufacturing talent pool with a large number of highly-skilled workers. The key manufacturing challenges faced by companies in Switzerland include the cost of production and the strong franc value that could hamper exports.

Brazil

The rising corruption in Brazil is one of the primary factors that has plagued the country, resulting in a flailing manufacturing sector. Corruption makes investors reluctant to pour money into business operations due to chances of long-term uncertainty. Consequently, this dampens the chances of long-term investment and business growth. This can have adverse effects on the country’s manufacturing sector. A healthy manufacturing sector is contingent upon transparency in financial transactions, relative certainty in a country’s political environment, and individuals being held accountable for illegal action.

Indonesia

Although a decade ago Indonesia’s manufacturing sector contributed a significant amount of their GDP, Over the years the industry’s contribution has considerably dipped. Indonesia is largely hampered by anemic labor productivity. The sizeable proportion of small and unproductive firms in Indonesia are dragging down the entire sector. To improve their global competitiveness, Indonesia needs to develop its workforce and advance its manufacturing sector. They must focus on incentivizing manufacturing companies with low productivity to either exit the industry or improve their productivity through technology and skilled labor.

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Manufacturing sector in the US

Skilled workforce, advanced technology, and pro-business policies have propelled the growth of the manufacturing sector in the U.S. Manufacturing contributes to over $2 trillion to the United States economy. The labor costs in the United States are significantly higher than in other countries. However, the levels of productivity found in the United States make up for this difference, making the country an attractive location for manufacturing investment. Furthermore, disruptive technologies including additive manufacturing, 3D-printing, robotics, and the utilization of the IoT and Big Data are revolutionizing the U.S. manufacturing sector. This has not only increased levels of productivity but has also made the United States one of the most attractive locations for high-technology manufacturing firms. The United States has, benefited from open trade policies, and in order to attain continued manufacturing growth, the country should avoid tariff wars or overly restricted trade policies.

The gap in labor costs in the United States in comparison to other countries has started to drop and is expected to continue as the cost of industrial robots falls.

Learn more about how manufacturing sector challenges vary from region to region and how our market intelligence solutions can help overcome them.

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5 Manufacturing Challenges Affecting CIOs of Manufacturing Companies in 2018

MANUFACTURING CHALLENGESToday, chief information officers (CIOs) of manufacturing companies are facing numerous changes that will affect the future growth prospects of manufacturing companies. Driving this change are a number of opportunities to grow and boost manufacturing processes. Though research shows that manufacturing companies will have ample opportunities to grow, CIOs will witness the advent of new manufacturing challenges that will compel them to change the way they look at strategies to improve the scale, speed, and simplicity of manufacturing processes.

At Infiniti, we are constantly in touch with manufacturers and hear first-hand about the issues they face. Since the manufacturing challenges are real, we thought we’d list out a few so that CIOs of manufacturing companies can devise effective business strategies to address them head-on.Get more info

Top manufacturing challenges of 2018

Boosting revenues

One of the biggest manufacturing challenges that CIOs face today is boosting their revenue growth with the technology systems that they already have in place. Manufacturing companies will have to re-strategize their production workflows to meet the demands of short production runs for existing products and streamline new product introductions.

Shortage of skilled workforce

With Baby Boomers exiting the workforce and taking their valuable manufacturing skills with them, new reports claim that more than three million manufacturing jobs will become available over the next 10 years. Manufacturing companies are already feeling the heat when it comes to filling the vacant positions and the impending exodus of Baby Boomers will only add to their growing tally of manufacturing challenges for this year.Get more info

 

Advanced technologies

Though new technologies are aimed at making life easier for all of us, that’s not always the case for manufacturing companies. Technologies such as IoT, industrial automation, cloud and edge computing, and robotics are advancing at a break-neck speed. And by the time IT teams of manufacturing companies adjust and get approvals for new technology installations, a better solution emerges. This rapid development and availability of new technologies will be one of the biggest manufacturing challenges of 2018.

Data security

One of the major manufacturing challenges faced by CIOs this year is ensuring cybersecurity. With advances in technology and advent of new platforms, the risk of data leaks has also increased. Today, hackers aren’t just happy stealing data, they want to extort money by holding the confidential data hostage. In the past year, Ransomware attacks have almost doubled, and manufacturing companies can expect more frequent attempts as they integrate more technologies into their manufacturing processes.Get more info

Regulatory changes

Risk mitigation and avoiding uncertainties are a crucial part of any business process. When manufacturing regulations change, the costs associated with the manufacturing process also ebbs and flows. Tax regulations and trade agreements keep changing with every news cycle and amendments to government regulations can wreak havoc for manufacturing companies. Manufacturing challenges in the form of regulatory changes is one of the major factors influencing the profitability of manufacturers. As a result, CIOs need to be on top of their game at all times and predict changes before time to remain profitable.


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Top 5 Smart Factory Trends in 2018

Efficiency, effectiveness, and economical. The 3 Es have guided the manufacturing industry for hundred of years and bringing about massive transformational changes. As hi-tech solution and automation pave the way in the modern economy, problems like worker fatigue and quality control will diminish. The smart factory, however, represents a leap forward from automation to a fully connected flexible system. The Industry 4.0 revolution along with IoT will enable factories to use a constant stream of data from interconnected operations and production systems to learn and adapt to new demands. The smart factory can integrate data across all the systems to drive maintenance, Request Proposalmanufacturing, digitization of operations, and inventory tracking. So what are the trends picking up in the smart factory across the world?

Industrial robotics

A new wave of factory automation is underway. Industrial robots are entering the manufacturing scene and creating value for companies. It is not uncommon to see robots outnumbering production workers in most of the smart factories today. The availability of collaborative robots has considerably reduced the overall costs and increased manufacturing flexibility for the companies.

Predictive maintenance

An unexpected breakdown can be very costly for a manufacturer and add to that the losses caused by the downtime. Smart factories enable predictive maintenance to be practiced that can alert manufacturers when parts that are prone to breakage. Many smart factories are now using IoT sensors to predict faults before they happen. The technology also has the capability to locate nearest service technician and map out the best route for the person to reach the premises.

Increasing use of AI

Artificial intelligence has been a hot topic in many industries. In a smart factory though, it plays a key role, by helping manufacturers predict demand patterns and optimally allocate resources. AI basically eliminates human guesswork and brings in cold and hard perspective of data into the equation. New cloud-based smart factory apps have emerged recently which comes embedded with AI and enables sophisticated decision science to be used to perform day-to-day work tasks.

Additive manufacturing

A lot has changed with the introduction of 3D printers. The parts once ridiculously expensive to manufacture can be done within minutes for few dollars with a 3D printer. In a smart factory, 3D printers are increasingly being used to make not only the prototypes but the final products as well. Such additive manufacturing creates an object by adding the material layer by layer as opposed to the subtractive manufacturing of drilling, cutting, and hammering materials away. Additive manufacturing opens up possibilities for mass customization from individual automobile parts to a pair of shoe.

Data visualization

Today data is easily available to managers. But how will they make sense of numbers to address issues and bottlenecks? Many inefficiencies often go unnoticed which have a dramatic effect on productivity. Graphical representation of data can help executives gain insights into challenges that lie in the production line. Data visualization assists even lower level employees to understand whats going on, and empower them to take decisions which can improve operational efficiency in a smart factory.

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Why Should You Be Using AR in the Manufacturing Industry?

When you hear the word augmented reality, the first thing that comes to your mind is AR gaming. The application of augmented reality is not just limited to gaming. Its ability to turn the surrounding into an interactive virtual world can augment the experience and performance of any task. Manufacturing industry, in particular, is blessed by such advances in technology, as it increases the process efficiency and helps cut down on production downtime. So what Request Free Proposalare the benefits of using AR technology in the manufacturing industry?

Increase speed of work

It usually takes a lot of time for people to learn assembly and manufacturing skills. This is particularly true in the case of fighter jet engineers who go through years of training to assemble an aircraft. AR technology can hasten the process as it can overlay images in the real world using sensors and cameras. Such information helps engineers to see renderings of bolts, part numbers, and cables with specific instructions on assembling a specific component.

Solving problems

Whenever a problem arises on the shop floor, every team requires real-time access to solve the problem at hand. However, it cannot be possible for all teams to access the problem due to their location. Manufacturing operations employees can directly show all the issues at hand and explain it to the maintenance teams and engineers with the help of AR. Additionally, they can also keep track of the progress of diagnostics processes remotely.

Easy data access

Apart from projecting vital information within a user’s field of view, AR technology also allows service engineers and manufacturers to access data regarding the product or the manufacturing process easily. This includes information on the object’s location in the inventory, lead times to procure them, and their detailed specifications. Also, it is entirely possible to scan QR codes to view live videos, graphics, and images that can assist the engineers in the manufacturing process.

Decreased maintenance time

Augmented reality can project graphics and video in such details that the users would be able to carry out maintenance tasks just by following the instructions. The automotive company Bosch has collaborated with AR firm Reflekt to develop common augmented reality platform (CAP) that can help users with maintenance.

Reduction of production downtime

Production downtime can cause thousands of dollars in losses and incur an opportunity cost in a manufacturing firm. Augmented reality can help maintenance teams and engineers to identify the flaws and prevent downtime from occurring quickly. Teams in the manufacturing setup can use mobile apps to identify the problem on the shop floor and resolve it immediately.

Training uses

AR is one of the most preferred tools when it comes to training and simulation. VR is already extensively used for simulation training for aircraft pilots, military operations, and advanced surgeries. AR can be used in training to facilitate the learning process.

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telecom industry

Is IoT Flawless? Top Challenges in IoT that are Affecting its Future

Much of the world has been excited with the prospects of IoT and how it can change their life for good. It can literally change the way we shop, travel, and offer different consumer services. Such a giant interconnected network of devices and sensors paves way for advanced data sharing and communications. Imagine a scenario where you regularly top up your fridge with supplies and groceries. After regular consumption, you are out of milk, the refrigerator that’s connected to IoT notifies to your smartphone, and your smartphone directly places an order for milk. Within some time, the milk arrives at your door without you even breaking a sweat. The future looks promising for IoT with many more applications not only in the household sector but also in the industrial area. However, few challenges or issues need to be tackled to successfully embrace the future of IoT.

Challenges in IoT

Security

IoT has already garnered serious attention from tech firms and government agencies across the world for security reasons. Since all household devices are interconnected to IoT, it can be disastrous to consumers if their baby monitors, cars, cameras, or security systems are hacked. Such an act of hacking can cause severe damage to the society. Poorly designed devices can expose the user to data theft, leaving vulnerabilities exposed. Additionally, IoT deployments also consist of identical or near identical devices, and the sheer amount of such devices in totality can leave the question of security lingering. Adding security protocols will be costly and time-consuming, and the users will then need to consider the tradeoffs between cost and security with IoT deployment.Request Free Proposal

Privacy

There are certain things that are personal to an individual and they would like to keep it that way. However, since IoT is interconnected and each device shares information across the network, privacy can be of concern. Privacy is one of the biggest challenges in IoT. One would not like others to know information such as where they drove their car to, whom they call, what kind of media have they stored in their phone, and personal things they buy off the market. Additionally, since IoT relies on sensor data to enable automation, there is a feat that sensors and tracking device may actually spy on people. They can actually know what TV show a particular individual is watching and secretly transmit the data to a cloud service for processing. Such data collection and distribution exposes companies to legal and regulatory challenges.

Standards

Numerous companies are investing in IoT to develop devices that are compatible. It is then enabled by multiple network carriers, all of whom may have different protocols and standards. Achieving a standard is one of the biggest challenges in IoT as it can limit the potential of devices to communicate effectively throughout the network irrespective of device, manufacturer, and service provider. The absence of standards can enable strange behavior by IoT devices. Developers should design products that operate in disruptive ways on the internet, and poorly designed devices may not facilitate the smooth workings of IoT network. Standardization should flow not only in terms of design but also configuration tools, methods, interfaces, and protocols such as IPv6.

Regulations

Since IoT has a lot of scope to be abused and misused by unintended parties, regulations will be set by government authorities to curb such problems. Privacy and security issues will pose questions for the IoT technologies, and thoughtful consideration from law enforcement authorities is required to help control such issues but not hamper the development of the technology. Additionally, legal issues arise when the data is shared between two countries, surveillance and civil rights issues, security breaches, privacy lapses, and unintended uses.

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The World is Embracing Smart Factories – And Why You Should Too!

There have been rapid changes in the manufacturing technologies in recent times. The emergence of automation systems, Industry 4.0, and machine learning have resulted in the convergence of digital and physical worlds. Today, manufacturing is less about producing volumes and more about the intelligent and dynamic creation of value. Advancements in digital technologies have led to the preference for smart factories, where the machinery and equipment can improve processes through self-optimization and automation. The benefits of a smart factory extends Request Free Proposalbeyond manufacturing into functions such as supply chain logistics, planning, and product development.

Advantages of a smart factory

Asset efficiency

Advancements in sensor technology have enabled manufacturing industry to generate huge volumes of data that can be continuously analyzed to reveal asset performance issues, which need corrective optimization. A unique advantage of a smart factory is that human operators aren’t required to analyze such data and implement a corrective course of action. It is entirely possible for such factories to take corrective measures by itself through predictive analytics and machine learning. An increase in asset efficiency translates to lower downtime, optimized capacity, and reduced changeover time.

Lower cost

A smart factory enables manufacturing facilities to operate with lower inventory levels, which further lowers costs related to sourcing and supply networks. Additionally, the material handling costs also drastically decrease alongside wastages and downtime, which directly translates to cost-savings. Also, lower energy usage and quality processes will further reduce the warranty and maintenance costs.

Quality improvements

As discussed, smart factories are capable of implementing a corrective course of action on their own. Such principles can also be used to predict and detect quality defect trends sooner along with their cause. It will inevitably lower scrap rates and lead times; thereby, increasing fill rates and yield. As a result, optimized quality process will ensure quality improvements.

Maximum flexibility

Smart factory logistics systems are equipped to handle a host of different manufacturing environments and production setups. As a result, it can handle the differing nature of operational tasks, ensuring maximum flexibility. Additionally, advanced sensors technology can automatically recognize manufacturing demand fluctuations, which, in turn, allows a company’s supply chain to respond with better agility.

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Answers to the questions

Harness the Power of Rapid Prototyping in Your Product Design

Imagine a scenario where you manufacture a device in bulk only to find out that some parts don’t work in conjunction with others, deeming the product completely useless. That’s a nightmare for any firm in the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing firms are using rapid prototyping in their product design phase to avoid similar problems. Manufacturers create a 3D model of a part or a product to test its efficiency before manufacturing in large quantities. Rapid prototyping allows product designers to demonstrate the look and feel of the product to clients or in-house management. The manufacturing industry is increasingly adopting rapid prototyping, 3D printing, and additive manufacturing in the product design process to transform the concept into reality effectively.Request Free Proposal So how exactly can design teams and manufacturing companies benefit from rapid prototyping?

Design accuracy and precision

Conventional industrial prototyping was a very iterative process and inefficient, resulting in lower quality manufacturing standards. For instance, design firms used cardboards, empty cans, and deo roll-ons to create the first prototype of a computer mouse. The problem with such prototyping is that it is a distance apart from the final product and fails to acknowledge real-world working conditions. Rapid prototyping allows for flawless product design and flexibility with the help of rigorous testing, evaluation, and quick remodeling capabilities. Rapid prototyping and 3D modeling rely on software such as CAD, which facilitate virtual product trials and error elimination.

Incorporating instant changes

One way of gaining competitive advantage is being the first to introduce innovative products to the market. Being the first-mover in the manufacturing industry requires companies to have a very short time-to-market. Iterative product revisions slow down the product development process and the time-to-market as well. Rapid prototyping allows product designers to instantly incorporate client or management feedback and move the product through multiple changes quickly. This way, the final product meets the market demand and increases the acceptance rates and competitiveness of the company.

Communication of idea

Before a product hits the market, it gets approved by various internal and external stakeholders including management, product designers, marketers, clients, collaborators, and regulatory bodies. If the prototype is weak and doesn’t communicate the idea clearly, companies will face hindrances in getting quick approvals; thereby, delaying the product launch. Rapid prototyping allows companies to build sophisticated designs and present the design idea in a detailed and clear way due to their CAD capabilities. Easy communication of design ideas thereby translates to rapid innovation.

Customizing designs

There’s a high probability of incorporating customized changes along the design process. Rapid prototyping allows for the development of personalized products as per individual requirement without the need for special tools or process. All that is required is a small change in the CAD model, and they can deliver the design as per the requirement of the customer.

Minimizing design flaws

Since rapid prototyping allows for changes to be incorporated swiftly, all design flaws can be addressed instantaneously. With the help of additive manufacturing, the company can identify flaws prior to mass production. Since the prototype material closely resembles the properties and strength of the actual product, it allows for physical tests to be performed effortlessly. Consequently, product faults and usability issues can be identified earlier to prevent hiccups in the manufacturing process later.

Cost and time savings

Additive manufacturing can eliminate the need for developing molds, patterns, and special tools – resulting in massive time-savings. Unlike conventional prototyping methods like CNC machining, rapid prototyping produces minimal wastages as it only prints the materials that are actually required to build the object. As a result, it offers enormous cost and time savings to the manufacturers.

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Top Trends in the Manufacturing Industry: Prediction 2018

The manufacturing industry is under immense pressure to innovate and bring down the costs rapidly. The rapidly rising rate of technological advancements and increasing product penetration in the emerging markets have raised the bar for the manufacturing industry. At present, the manufacturing industry has been aggressively pursuing digital transformation to improve process efficiency and empower innovation. According to a 2015 World Bank report, the value added in the economy by the manufacturing industry in China is anticipated to be around IR_Brochure$3,250,412 million, which is the highest in the world. It is also one of the biggest employers in the world, creating millions of jobs in the economy.

Top trends in the manufacturing industry

Leveraging digital platforms

The rising consumer expectations and advent of connected devices and platforms are the most significant drivers of digitization in the manufacturing sector. In order to ensure that the right products are manufactured at the right price and gets delivered to the right people, the industry has been using advanced digital technologies such as IoT, AI, machine learning, robotics, and data analytics. These digital technologies are crucial to optimize the enterprise value chain and supply chain.

IT and value chain

A vast majority of the companies are refraining from embracing digital technology due to substantial setup costs associated with it. However, companies have started to realize that the benefits far outweigh the costs. IT departments of the organization are making efforts to ensure that their value chain process is in alignment to their business strategy. Such steps will help release 10% to 20% of the total IT applications costs. It has been evident that early adoption of digital technologies pays up its initial costs by increased operational efficiency and productivity boosts.

Legacy applications

Legacy applications mostly have a negative connotation regarding being an outdated and inefficient system. However, this is not always the case as manufacturers processes, business data, and digital histories all exist within the legacy system. Replacing legacy system with newer technologies may not always facilitate smooth data and system transition. Most manufacturing companies are still relying on legacy systems; whereas, others are looking to phase out legacy applications to enable digitization slowly.

Smart manufacturing

The concept of smart manufacturing has gained a lot of attention in recent times, and many players in the manufacturing industries have introduced this concept in their plants and production zones. However, the majority of them are struggling to implement fully scaled smart manufacturing concepts. Industrial IoT has helped the manufacturing industry to implement fully scaled smart manufacturing concepts. Manufacturers are prioritizing predictive maintenance and energy management in the initial phases and are looking to implement more complicated AI-oriented applications. Such technologies will improve product quality, lower machine downtime, and save labor costs.

Pricing models

Outcome-based pricing has been popularized recently by the medical devices and pharmaceutical companies. However, in the manufacturing industry, the suppliers are still not ready to adopt such pricing models because of which buyers usually have to outlay huge budgets for equipment acquisition. The things look to remain the same in 2018 as well, owing to the fact that GE has not seen growth in its market share or stock price despite using such pricing models for their connected products. It is expected that companies in the manufacturing industry will continually examine the feasibility of this pricing model and practice it on a smaller scale.

 

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