5 Trending Manufacturing Technologies Impacting Product Development


The manufacturing industry has always been technology-hungry. From big data analytics to advanced robotics, the innovative advantages of modern manufacturing technologies are helping manufacturers reduce human intervention, increase plant productivity, and gain a competitive advantage.

Sophisticated technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, and more are shaping the future of manufacturing by reducing production costs, improving operational speeds, and minimizing errors. Because productivity is critical to the success of a manufacturing facility, any manufacturer is expected to make significant investments in these technologies.

Here are five manufacturing technologies positively influencing the future of product development.


1. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities are rapidly being deployed in industry and manufacturing. Offering asset owners a way to increase productivity and reduce process complexity. By 2020, the number of IoT-enabled devices is expected to reach the 25 billion mark.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a fusion of different technologies such as machine learning, big data, sensor data, cloud integration, and machine automation. Used in areas such as predictive and proactive maintenance, real-time monitoring, resource optimization. Also implemented in supply chain visibility, multi-site operational analytics, and security.  These technologies enable facility managers to minimize downtime and improve process efficiencies.

For example, regular maintenance and repairs are essential for the proper functioning of the facility. Not all devices and devices require maintenance at the same time. These manufacturers can make informed decisions using waste yield and productivity data provided by big data analytics. Subsequently reducing operational costs and increasing overall performance.


2. Big Data Analytics

Big data analytics can provide multiple opportunities to improve asset performance, streamline manufacturing processes, and facilitate product customization. According to a recent Honeywell survey, 68% of US manufacturers are already investing in big data analysis. Thus, are able to make informed decisions based on waste yield and productivity data provided by big data analytics.  Thereby reducing operational costs and increasing overall performance.


3. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

For several decades, manufacturers have used robotics and mechanization to increase productivity and minimize per-unit production costs. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning appear to be the next wave in the making. They help production teams analyze data and use insights to replenish inventory, reduce operational costs. Additionally, they also provide continuous quality control throughout the manufacturing process.

The era of non-intelligent robots for cyclic production tasks is over. AI and machine learning enable robots and humans to work together and create agile manufacturing processes that learn, improve, and make intelligent manufacturing decisions. 

As a result, manufacturers can use industrial robotics and intelligent automation to handle mundane tasks. And then focus their time and resources on revenue-generating tasks such as research and development, product line expansion, and better customer service.


4. 3D Printing

Layer additive manufacturing or 3D printing technology is expected to have a great impact on high-end industries. Such as aerospace, mining machinery, automobiles, firearms, commercial and service machinery, and other equipment. This revolutionary technology enables manufacturers to create physical products from complex digital designs stored in 3D CAD (Computer-Aided Design) files.

materials such as rubber, nylon, plastic, glass, and metal can be used to print real objects. In fact, 3D bioprinting has enabled the creation of living tissues and functional organs for medical research. Unlike the traditional manufacturing process, 3D printers can create complex shapes and designs at no additional cost. Further giving designers and engineers more freedom. 

Additionally, the growing applications of 3D printing in manufacturing are leading to Manufacturing as a Service (MaaS), which allows companies to maintain an up-to-date infrastructure that serves multiple customers and eliminates the need to purchase new equipment. 


5. Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) simplifies the product design process by eliminating the need to build complex prototypes. Designers and engineers use VR to create realistic product models. Thereby allowing them to digitally view their designs and troubleshoot potential issues before they begin production. Customers can also inspect and interact with these digital designs, simulations, and embedded devices, greatly reducing the time required to develop and manufacture the finished product. For example,

automakers are now using virtual reality to ensure their cars are tested early in the vehicle development process, reducing the time and cost of changing designs, tolerances, and safety features.

As predictive analytics is critical to the operational efficiency of a manufacturing facility, operations managers are expected to increasingly rely on virtual reality to review workflows, improve benchmarking processes and maintain compliance through training protocols.


Final Thoughts

As manufacturers continue to implement these modern technologies to control all aspects of the manufacturing process, improvements in overall productivity and profitability can be expected. Businesses looking to stay relevant in the highly competitive marketplace cannot afford to ignore the positive impact of each of these manufacturing technologies.

KloudPLM offers a cloud PLM solution to help you create the products of tomorrow. Various teams such as marketing, sales, and engineering can use KloudPLM and work together to take the product from concept through design to launch. Start your new digital journey with KloudPLM today. Schedule a demo to know more. 

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