7 Advances in Manufacturing Technology


Advacements in the digital world have not left the manufacturing industry untouched. From automation to cyber security, your manufacturing business needs upgrade on a lot of levels. Know the top 7 advancements that have touched the manufacturing industry in the last 2 decades and know how it does and can impact your business.

While the machinery and systems used in manufacturing often stay in use for many years, that does not mean the technology has not come a long way. Quite the contrary: advances in manufacturing technology have been diverse, forward reaching, and innovative, making machinery eco-friendly, developing safer online systems, and improving the ability of robotics.

To understand where the following seven advances in manufacturing technology have come from, it is first critical to have a general understanding of manufacturing as an industry, the birth of modern technology, and the benefits that have been brought with them.
Manufacturing shop

History of Manufacturing


The art of making something has been just that for as long as human history itself. While some of the "art" may be lost in mass manufacturing, the basic principles remain the same. Humans with a skill or trade use tools to create an object out of raw materials. This skill is passed on to others, and the resulting products are sold or used for other tasks.

This seems basic, but it is vital to understanding manufacturing advances. For before the Industrial Revolution, much of manufacturing was done by hand. After the 18th century development of factory production in Britain, the world was set for a whole host of technological innovations.

Information Age

The Information Age, sometimes referred to as the Computer Age, Digital Age, or New Media Age, is what allows manufacturing advances to take place. The development of computers, artificial intelligence, and a better understanding of the Earth's environmental needs have permitted manufacturing to function on a larger and more productive scale. In contrast, the advancement of green processes and the use of green and renewable energy has reduced its detrimental effects on the planet.

Benefits of Advancements


From robotics to supply chains, manufacturing has come a long way. With an understanding of how the industry has developed from ancient crafters to enormous production plants, these seven advancements can be better comprehended.

1. Robotics


In this day and age, robotics can complete tasks such as welding, packing, and shipping. Due to advances in robotic technology, they save on time and are no longer overly expensive, completing many actions quicker than a human could and for less money. Many robotics are adaptable and scalable to different sizes of business and, although they can replace humans in some jobs, they also provide new trades such as designers, analysts, and engineers.

Not only has robotics changed the face of manufacturing up to now, but it continues to do so in remarkable fashion. Robots can perform more complex tasks at a quicker speed than in the past, and their numbers continue to rise. In North America, the number of robots puts to work increased by 7% from 2017 to 2018, with particular rises in consumer goods and life sciences.

2. Cyber Security


With the Information Age and increased use of computers, along with it came the risk of cyber-attack. Along with stolen intellectual property, manufacturers are also at risk of having their entire factory shut down or begin producing faulty products against their knowledge. This threat from highly skilled hackers has led to improved cybersecurity, which continues to evolve and combat anonymous assaults. Better encryption, intrusion detection, and agility of protection have developed down the years to give plant managers peace of mind.

3. Computer software


The complexity and improved ability of computer software have allowed the designing and engineering of better manufacturing products. As an example, 3D CAD software will enable conveyors – essential for most production or processing plants – such as those at fluentconveyors.com, to be engineered with precision and to an incredibly high standard.

4. Automation


One of the most important advances in manufacturing technology is the perfection of automated processes. Allowing machinery or computers to work away on pre-determined, automated cycles increases the speed of production, increases the chances of producing identical products, improves the overall quality, and makes workplaces much safer.

Though some members of staff at manufacturing companies may feel that automation is a threat to their job, there are often new job roles created, such as supervisors and programmers, by such systems.

5. Green processes


With previous manufacturing technologies, there is no doubt that too many detrimental side effects were ignored. So perhaps the most globally significant advancement in manufacturing technology is the use of green processes. Manufacturers now strive to reduce the amount of waste they produce, to increase the volume of matter they recycle, and to evaluate their emissions and energy sources.

Using renewable energy and incentivizing recycling are the essentials of green processes while finding a way to emit fewer greenhouse gasses remains a priority.

6. Better quality control


Quality control is a true positive outcome of advances in manufacturing technology. As mentioned under robotics, improving the quality of products has become much easier. This is also achieved through a higher rate of inspection and the development of job roles such as data analysts and quality control officers.

Quality control is essential to a business as it builds trust between it and its customers, as well as encouraging more stakeholders and partners to invest in it rather than a rival. Reducing the number of callbacks and complaints provides good PR, lowers costs, and limits the strain put on customer service staff.

7. Supply chain advancements


How supply chains are utilized has been of huge benefit to manufacturing technology. As a critical building block of a product or service's supply chain – the others being vendors, marketers, distributors, and the initial material acquisition – manufacturing relies on the links between each step being strong and reliable.

This has been achieved to a higher level down the years due to advancements in communication, logistics, and robotics.

Conclusion


In summary, much of the advancement in the manufacturing industry is thanks to the computers and automation brought by the Information Age. Aside from this, better attention to detail, an improved level of protection against cyber-attacks, and a focus on environmental friendliness have contributed to the new face of the industry.

In the future, green processes and greater health and safety are likely prioritized, no doubt aided by the undeniable usefulness of robotics.


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