Trends / Disruptions in Manufacturing, Part 1
Three emerging and disruptive trends that are affecting manufacturing in the US today include industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things, additive manufacturing, and smart robotics. These points are discussed below.
Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
- Industry 4.0 is the digitization of the workplace, and one way in which manufacturers are doing this is through the Industrial Internet of Things.
- This innovation improves operational efficiency, sparks transformative organizational change, increases workplace safety, and encourages smarter and more innovative products.
- PwC surveyed manufacturing companies and 72% of them say that they were increasing the level of digitization to become digitally advanced by the end of 2020.
- Companies committed to increasing digitization of their equipment are committing $907 billion per year or 5% of their revenues.
- Currently, 62% of manufacturing enterprises are already carrying out digital transformation pilots and programs and 86% have already adopted IIoT solutions. IIoT in manufacturing is growing so fast that it is expected to generate $1.2 to $3.7 trillion of economic value annually by 2025.
- Even though industry 4.0 is looked at as a good thing, there are many barriers including a lack of research and standardization. This makes companies fear taking the jump.
- 3D printing is transforming business models in the manufacturing industry because it is less wasteful and more efficient.
- Whereas in traditional manufacturing where the creation of molds, jigs, and fixtures can take months to complete and cost upwards of six figures, 3D printing creates these objects in a matter of days at a fraction of the cost.
- Because it is more efficient, it reduces the need for product runs and warehousing while changing how maintenance and plant designs are done.
- Year-over-year growth for the additive manufacturing market continues to surpass 20% and by 2027 it is predicted to be worth $55.8 billion.
- Additive manufacturing is viewed favorably in the industry as a possible innovator and job creator. Manufacturers are very excited about the number of opportunities that additive manufacturing will bring. However, there is still some hesitation among companies in accepting this new technology.
- Robots have been used in manufacturing for decades, however, they have always been very simple, single-application machines.
- Because of artificial intelligence, robots are starting to learn, improve, and think in humanlike ways.
- Thirty-six percent of US companies increased the use of AI and robotics over the last 12 months.
- Now, robots are being built that can read emotions and talk, which makes it easier to communicate with humans. Collaborative robots will replace bulkier and less safe traditional industrial robots.
- To solve the problem of a shortage of qualified skilled workers, companies today are filling the skills gap with the use of mobile robotics.
- Even though job loss has long been a fear in the use of robotics, the industry is a lot more optimistic. Seventy percent of manufacturing businesses plan to hire more and keep up with expected growth.
We searched for trends by looking through respected and popular publications and websites related to manufacturing, which included the Association of Equipment Manufacturing, Automation World, and EnergyWatch. We also used information from publications connected to well-known and respected businesses and news organizations such as Deloitte and Industry Week. To define a trend, we found the most common themes among these sources and looked for any quantitative or qualitative data that we could use to back up our assertions. We also made sure that each trend was defined as 'disruptive' in each source, but we also defined 'disruptive' as anything that causes a large change in an industry.