Technology is rapidly changing the way every industry works, and the manufacturing industry is no different. We’re entering a new industrial revolution, where internet, computing, and scientific advances are making waves across manufacturing – transforming the way we produce goods.From advances in artificial intelligence, 3D printing and production materials, to changes in government expenditure and legislation, there’s never been a more exciting time to be in the manufacturing industry. As we move into 2018, we’ve taken a look at 7 industrial manufacturing trends that are set to shape the industry this year.
1. Robotics are on the rise.
Robotics are a hot topic for manufacturing. Global spending on robotics is expected to reach around $87 billion by 2025, and over a third of this investment is estimated to be in the industrial manufacturing sector.
With new technologies including voice and facial recognition, the increase of smart data, and advanced programming, robots are executing increasingly complex tasks with a low margin of error. Rather than compromising jobs, robots will provide opportunities to eliminate human involvement in high risk tasks, such as handling and transporting hazardous materials.
2. Automation will boost productivity and change the job landscape.
Automation is another hot topic for 2018, going hand in hand with new developments in robotics. Soon manufacturing processes will easily be entirely automated and machine learning will allow technology to be self correcting – making the entire manufacturing industry faster and more efficient.
Along with robotics, automation will change the job landscape, as humans won’t be required to do more basic tasks. Jobs will instead be concentrated around programming, maintaining, and monitoring these areas.
3. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will be more powerful than ever.
Investment in the IIoT is expected to reach an incredible $267 billion in the next 3 years, which means rapid developments and opportunities. With swathes of data sources out there, the IIoT will connect different devices and systems to help boost real-time decision making and improve manufacturing processes.
As sensor technology, cloud computing and robotics become more prevalent, the IIoT will allow manufacturers to gather statistics in real time – allowing for quick understanding and analysis of performance and quality control. In the end, the IIoT will help manufacturers reduce process inefficiencies, manage risks and identify any performance problems to correct.
4. 3D printing will save manufacturers time – and money.
3D printing is becoming more sophisticated, with worldwide revenue in the area expected to reach $28.9 billion by 2020. As the 3D printing sphere becomes more advanced, manufacturers can start to utilise this technology to quickly create prototypes on a budget – allowing for more flexibility and speed in the product development process.
5. Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and 360 technology will boost collaboration.
Virtual technologies allow manufacturers, suppliers, engineers, and investors to collaborate and communicate like never before. With VR goggles and 360 imaging, developers and investors can now virtually inspect a worksite without leaving the country – allowing for more up to date information, troubleshooting, and reporting on projects.
AR, on the other hand, can help manufacturers simulate and visualise designs without needing to actually build prototypes – reducing time during the development phase.
6. Sustainable manufacturing continues to gain momentum.
Sustainability continues to be a hot topic in manufacturing, from new production materials to new scientific discoveries. Fibre-based packaging, for example, is expected to be valued at over $385 billion by 2025, and sustainable textiles will continue to be an area of innovation for 2018 and beyond. Manufacturers are also looking at ways to refine recycling processes, to reduce waste in the industry.
7. Increased government investment.
In 2018 the Australian government is investing more in the manufacturing field. The 2017-18 budget has dedicated over $100 million to an Advanced Manufacturing Fund, to boost innovation, skills and employment. As more innovation happens globally in the manufacturing industry, this figure will most likely continue to rise in the future.
It's clear the manufacturing industry is undergoing some dramatic changes. 2018 will be filled with new and exciting developments changing the way manufacturers work, improving processes, and shifting the job landscape – and from here, there’s no telling what the future holds.
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