What Does the Future of Manufacturing Look Like?
The manufacturing industry has grown significantly in recent years, and despite recent struggles due to Coronavirus, the sector is seeing some promising signs and appears to be bouncing back.
With the ongoing digital transformation of the sector, along with Industry 4.0 now being fully incorporated into most businesses, there’s now room for the next big deve
lopment in the sector.
With the sector coming on in leaps and bounds in recent years, you can be forgiven for getting excited about what the future holds for the industry; and in this article, we take a closer look at some of the key things to keep an eye out for in the coming years.
It’s no secret that 3D printing has been steadily growing over the years, with the industry set to account for more than $20 billion in spending by 2025, according to GlobalData. 3D printing offers manufacturers a huge amount of flexibility, and with advancements set to be made in prototyping, firms are genuinely encouraged by the potential ability to better visualise future products ahead of mass manufacturing.
3D printing has become something of a staple with many manufacturing companies around the UK, and with steps forward being taken with automated assembly integrating seamlessly with 3D printed metal and plastic parts, we could see 3D printing as part of the assembly line in a matter of years.
There’s also hope that advancements in software and data management will have a profound effect on 3D printing moving forward. With improved system management and part quality expected from these changes, the expectation is that manufacturers will be able to deliver more individualised, purpose-built products for customers, at significantly lower price points.
Wearable technologies have been incorporated into manufacturing over the last few years, and there’s good reason to believe this type of tech will continue to be used throughout the sector for years to come. It’s important to remember that wearable technologies go far beyond eye-based units, with the likes of smartwatches quickly becoming a key part of employee welfare in manufacturing settings.
Wearable tech has two main uses, VR and AR are mainly used for training purposes, as the wearer can safely get to grips with how to work key components in the supply chain. A VR or AR headset allows the user to enter a fully augmented space where they can carry out tasks exactly as they would in real life.
Smartwatches are mainly used for ensuring the welfare of all employees, as they can be used to detect fatigue, high heart rates and other abnormalities. This information can be relayed back to a duty manager who can then check in on employees if any potential issues are flagged.
With multiple benefits already being seen from wearable tech within the industry, their use is only expected to become more commonplace over the coming years. The technology used in wearables has come on in leaps and bounds in such a small amount of time, so it’s only a matter of time until the next big wearables hit the market.
Embracing 5G & Investment in IoT
It doesn’t feel like that long ago that the industry was excited about 4G and all of the benefits it would bring to the sector, but now we are already looking ahead to how we can harness 5G to its full extent. 5G is roughly 100 times faster than 4G, with speeds of up to 100 gigabits per second ready to be harnessed.
With the IoT taking up an ever-increasing amount of bandwidth and demands for data creation constantly on the rise, 5G comfortably satisfies the growing need for reliable, high-speed connectivity. It’s extremely important that businesses take steps to futureproof their current processes with 5G in mind, and that inevitably means investment in IoT technologies.
IoT tech has been a staple within the industry for a number of years now, and its influence over the manufacturing sector doesn’t look set to diminish any time soon. With automation and robotics within smart factories relying heavily on this technology, now is the time to invest and embrace IoT, along with 5G. Doing so will enable your business to work faster, create more high-quality products and reduce bottlenecks in the supply chain.
As a whole, the industry seems ready to invest in IoT technologies, as many within the sector have first-hand experience of just how much of an impact it can have on workflows and automation within the workplace.
At European Springs & Pressings Ireland, we are constantly looking for the next big technology in the manufacturing industry. By continually investing in our existing processes and technology, we are able to maintain our position as one of the top spring manufacturers in the UK.
Be sure to keep an eye on our blog page for the very latest information coming out of the manufacturing industry, as well as expert sector insights!