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3 Technologies Inspiring Change in Manufacturing

Here are some of the advanced technologies that are driving growth to change the manufacturing landscape!
The manufacturing industry has seen its ups and downs recently. Companies are moving overseas and layoffs happen left and right. However, new technological advancements have the potential to inspire real change and transform the industry for the better. 

1. Additive Manufacturing

Many manufacturers are already well familiar with the concept of additive manufacturing. It’s origin began hundreds of years ago. Its reputation among modern society is decades old and  it's a process that is used to cast everything from engine components to medical devices.
Technologies: Manufacturing Changes
Meet 3-D Printing

3-D printing is the next incantation of additive manufacturing. This recent breakthrough can revolutionize the manufacturing sector as we know it. What once required countless hours of research and development, significant capital expenditure and a tedious production line can now be designed and created with nothing more than a desktop computer and materials. This technology takes the basic concept of the consumer model and upgrades it for industrial purposes.  The technology has so much potential that is even being considered by General Electric for use in jet engine components and auxiliary hardware.

2. The Industrial Internet of Things

Often referred to simply as the IIoT, the Industrial Internet of Things is meant to facilitate advanced computing such as artificial intelligence, machine-based learning, big data analytics and worldwide networking. It's a platform that will certainly change the face of the manufacturing industry over the years to come.

Working Alongside Smart Machinery

Nearly all sectors of manufacturing will experience change and growth as a result of the IIoT. With smart factories, automated warehouses, next-gen security systems and real-time asset monitoring from anywhere in the world, it will be hard to ignore the coming revolution of Industry 4.0.

Based out of France, Exotec Solutions is already fast at work on a robotic warehousing solution that provides full automation of packing and shipping. With plans to launch the first of its robots in 2017, the team has already piqued the interest of many prolific manufacturers, including Samsung.

Ocado, a prolific chain of grocery stores in the United Kingdom, has already embraced robot automation. Its Ocado Smart Platform, a proprietary design, provides end-to-end management of the entire sorting, shipping and delivery process.

3. Lean Manufacturing

Another system that's been in place for decades, lean manufacturing revolves around minimizing production waste, streamlining day-to-day processes, enhancing quality and providing value to the customer. Despite its longevity, as well as its proven success in the field, many manufacturers have yet to adopt the lean methodology for use in their own operations.

Experiencing New Success With Traditional Tools

The team at Thrustmaster, a popular manufacturer of next-gen marine hardware and products, recently learned how beneficial a full-scale lean implementation could be to their company's bottom line. While the entire integration process admittedly took 18 months to complete, Thrustmaster now boasts an on-time parts delivery rate of 100 percent, improved material flow, and greater profitability than ever before. In fact, the lean program boasts an impressive list of past success stories. Companies like Nike, Caterpillar Inc., Intel, John Deere, Ford and Toyota have all utilized the platform at one point or another.

Maintaining Relevancy in an Evolving Economic Climate

While many businesses and, in some cases, entire industries have succumbed to the challenges of economic evolution, new technology and the sheer competitiveness of their peers, those within the manufacturing sector tend to be of a different breed. It’s a steadfast and professionally versatile collection of individuals who are willing to embrace change for the continued success of an industry that is definitely here to stay. 

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 16th January 2017.
Megan Ray Nichols
Megan Nichols is a contributing writer at Inspiration Unlimited eMagazine.

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