Over the last decade, the rapid pace of technological development has been felt in every industry from healthcare to agriculture. The 20-teens have seen the digital age arrive in the manufacturing industry--a shift experts are calling the fourth industrial revolution. Exciting new opportunities are in store at every level of the manufacturing process.
Six significant innovations that will lead the manufacturing industry by 2020
1. Internet of things (IoT)
The Internet of Things is revolutionising almost every sector. Gartner predicts that 20.4 billion connected devices will be in use worldwide by 2020, while Business Insider Intelligence expects the IoT market to top $3 trillion by 2026.
In the manufacturing industry, IoT will transform processes, and enable the evolution of materials and the production chain to keep pace with the digitalisation of business.
2. AI and task automation
2020 will see advances in manufacturing processes powered by AI and machine learning. These technologies will boost three main factors: speed, scale, and convenience. Speed and scale will be increased by automating more tasks, which could save years of time spent training humans to do the tasks manually.
With the breakneck pace of development of automation systems, we can expect a whole new generation of manufacturing capabilities in 2020 and beyond. Many companies are already accepting AI as their regular registration updater, and more are expected to join them.
3. 5G and smart manufacturing
5G is one of 2020’s most eagerly anticipated trends. Mobile networks have been saturated for years, with 4G in the west and 3G in the global south. 5G promises massive increases in bandwidth, connection capacity, minimum latency, and more.
This will give manufacturing companies the faster connections they need as they begin to move to more cloud-based and smart manufacturing.
4. Predictive maintenance technology
In 2020, if it ain’t broke, we’ll fix it before it breaks. AI and IoT technology will bring breakthroughs in monitoring the performance of equipment in 2020. This will give manufacturers a better understanding of how their systems and processes work, and when to carry out predictive maintenance to avoid breakdowns and save on downtime.
5. 3D printing technology
More companies will be 3D printing their prototypes in 2020, enabling cheaper testing and troubleshooting, as well as on-demand production (which offers big savings in manufacturing and warehouse costs.)
Automotive and aerospace manufacturing are already on board with 3D printing - we’ll see which sectors join them in the coming year.
6. Energy efficiency
New systems in the manufacturing industry will help in the process of energy optimization, which is vital not only for the environment but also for the sustainability of the industry itself.