From Augmented Reality to IoT: Where Manufacturing is Headed

March 1, 2017

Manufacturing in the US alone is large enough to be the 9th largest economy in the world. There’s no question that global manufacturing is on the rise, but what will be the next big thing in the manufacturing industries?

[Image Source: Pixabay]

Manufacturing has been a very hands-on worker-oriented skill for hundreds if not thousands of years. It was a trade that took years of apprenticeship and skill to master. However, the modern engineering and manufacturing dynamic has shifted towards a segmented process. Engineers design goods, manufacturers manufacture them through processes or robotics, and then a company sells the product. The rise of the computer-aided design era has changed manufacturing into a rapid pace growing industry.

Apart from the changes that innovative software has brought to the industry, implementation of robotics systems and interconnectivity has meant that manufacturers can know nearly everything about their plant all at once, according to Ennomotive. It is truly the information age in manufacturing and we are only just beginning to implement groundbreaking innovations.

[Image Source: Pixabay]

Many fear that robots and other technologically advanced systems will make their job obsolete. While some jobs will hurt due to automation, the overall industry will see a net growth thanks to constant technological innovation.

Robots have been around for years in the manufacturing industry, but we are changing how we use them in modern plants. Automation World points out that, China is the biggest producer of manufacturing robots within the last decade. They are planning on producing 150,000 robots just in 2017 alone. When these robots first came out, many thought they would surely replace all human jobs and factories would be completely robotic. However, in developed economies, companies see that maintaining human employees is necessary to innovation and growth. After all, robots are good at building things, but so far, they have a hard time thinking about new innovative ideas.

The next major growth sector in the manufacturing industry is virtual reality, or VR, according to Strategy And. Rapid prototyping and 3D printing brought about an age of fast engineering, but VR will bring it to another level. Now, engineers can design in virtual spaces and demonstrate products that haven’t even been manufactured yet to clients and potential customers. Many companies are already using virtual reality in their modern applications. Boeing and Samsung use VR to train technicians for their products. This is only the beginning. The daily life of the manufacturing engineer is evolving into the virtual world. It’s a great time to be alive for designing and making things.

[Image Source: Pixabay]

We have talked a lot about the Internet of Things (IoT), but it will truly bring innovation into the manufacturing realm. The Internet of Things allows for plant operators to understand what is happening within their factory from one core location. It also allows for constant innovation through artificially intelligent programs or just good old human intelligence. IoT is enabling companies to have a greater control over what they do. By eliminating downtime and better utilizing the tools at hand, the cost of implementing IoT is covered by the savings manufacturers see in the long run.

These three main aspects of manufacturing: robotics, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things, are all major players in the growing field. We are reaching an age where nearly anything you can imagine can be designed and manufactured in a matter of hours through whatever means necessary, it truly is the age of rapid development.

SEE ALSO: The Future of Building Construction is . . . Manufacturing?


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