3 Technologies Transforming Modern Manufacturing Techniques
The U.S. economy is experiencing a period of job growth. The unemployment rate is at a low last seen more than 50 years ago, according to government data, and millions of jobs have been created since 2016, approximately 2.6 million of which were added to payrolls in 2018 alone.
Manufacturing has helped lead the way, with the industry contributing $2.2 trillion to the nation’s gross domestic product in 2016 and over 85% of small-business manufacturers confident that the good times will continue for the foreseeable future, according to the National Association of Manufacturers’ most recently updated outlook survey. Were America’s manufacturing sector its own country, it would be in the world’s top 10 economies, ahead of Spain, Brazil, and Canada, based on estimates from the Manufacturing Institute.
Largely fueling these improvements is the rise of modern manufacturing. Technology is in a constant state of enhancement and advancement. In order to drive process improvements on the shop floor, manufacturers — and companies that use the products made by them — are successfully adopting, installing, and allocating innovative technologies through the advent of modern machine manufacturing techniques, which in turn optimizes the supply chain.
What makes manufacturing techniques advanced?
From machine learning and artificial intelligence to nanotechnology and 3D printing, advanced manufacturing techniques and capabilities usually have a few characteristics in common: They’re founded in state-of-the-art functionalities, improve upon processes that already exist and serve as a workaround to existing workflow problems — without creating new complications.
For example, plastics are a major environmental hazard due largely to their ubiquity. In fact, food packaging manufacturers account for 40% of these materials. Recognizing the potential and existing problems emerging for plant life and the natural habitat, 75% of consumers want businesses to adopt sustainability initiatives.
Numerous small-business owners, franchises and multinational corporations have partnered with chemical manufacturing companies to make sustainability a reality through cleaner development of industrial plastics. In fact, dozens of chemical firms are working collaboratively to leverage process improvements to reduce output of new plastics, reuse what’s already been produced and re-engineer packaging so that it breaks down more quickly and naturally. Advancements and investments in cutting-edge manufacturing technology and adaptability have helped to make this possible.
Here are a few other technologies that stand to further transform modern manufacturing techniques:
1. Augmented reality
Augmented reality melds the real world with the imaginary by superimposing images, sounds, or places so they can be more authentically experienced. As noted by the Huffington Post, it has many applications in the manufacturing sphere, including data retrieval, real-time monitoring, communicating safety warnings, and enhancing the effectiveness of training methods.
2. Enhanced industrial sensors
From optical rotary encoders to inductive proximity sensors, industrial sensors are advancing in their capabilities and practical uses, with more businesses taking advantage of them. Prices are expected to decline for these tools over the course of 2019, which may encourage more manufacturers to invest if they haven’t already, according to ZDNet.
3. Collaborative robotics
Collaborative robots, or cobots, represent the fastest-growing category in industrial automation. This technology pairs robots with humans so they work in a more cohesive manner, as opposed to one replacing the other. Initially only utilized by large corporations, cobots are increasingly affordable and adoptable, which is why their valuation is expected to top $4.3 billion come 2023, according to a report from Markets and Markets.
Modernization is a must in the manufacturing space and at USC Consulting Group, we have the industry expertise to recognize and recommend the cutting-edge manufacturing tools and techniques that can help you achieve supply chain optimization. We have helped companies achieve operational excellence for more than 50 years — if you have a business problem, contact us to help solve it.