Though the manufacturing industry in the US has taken a hit over the years, by-and-large it continues to be resilient by incorporating new methods and technologies while navigating through the related challenges. Currently, several tech and digital trends which include the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), robotics, and 3D printing, are delivering efficiencies and new opportunities in the way companies in the manufacturing industry approach developing products, managing new operations, and serving customers. Also, manufacturers are facing emerging challenges that include – managing legacy systems, finding and keeping viable workforce talent, and handling large volumes of data appropriately and effectively.
Four Digital Trends in the Manufacturing Industry
IoT has helped attain new efficiencies in the retail and finance industry; however, industrial manufacturers have faced difficulty when it comes to understanding how this technology will create new business models and increase customer satisfaction. This year, it is expected that companies in the manufacturing industry will save more time and money as their IoT-enabled equipment undertakes self-maintenance and alerts managers to developments. Along with substantial material cost savings, this will reduce equipment downtime, overall maintenance costs, and maintenance planning time.
In 2018, smarter, less costly and much safer industrial robots called collaborative robots or ‘cobots’ are expected to replace bulkier, potentially more dangerous traditional industrial robots. With China and the United States taking the lead in adoption rates, cobot shipments are expected to increase significantly in the manufacturing industry.
Blockchain in manufacturing
The blockchain technology is mainly associated with cryptocurrencies – the technology creates a way for digital information to be recorded, stored, and distributed but not duplicated or copied. Industry experts believe that it will play an increasingly large role in other industries, including the manufacturing industry. It can be considered a more trustworthy way of building digital relationships.
Rise of cybersecurity risks
2017 had witnessed numerous cybercrimes that proved to be highly challenging for companies in various industries. And in 2018, these malware attacks are expected to become more severe with the increasing number of sensor-infused, internet-connected devices. As manufacturers increasingly embrace cyber-physical systems, the vulnerability of their operations will become far more vulnerable. However, advances in AI and machine learning offer solutions that will help predict and ward off cyber attacks.