Over the past two years since the pandemic, we’ve witnessed significant shifts in the manufacturing industry. Chief among them are the seismic digital shifts within the industry to cope with remote work regulations, supply chain disruptions, and increased customer demands.
Several of manufacturing’s digital initiatives have already taken root, given the length of time factories had to familiarise themselves with such new processes. The rise in digital has resulted in a sudden influx of data, which holds immense potential for the future of factories.
Here are 3 manufacturing trends we’re looking forward to seeing in 2022.
The rising demand for IIoT devices
With sensors, applications, monitoring tools, automation solutions and the like taking over factory operations, it gives us the ability to track everything in the factory! Data is essential for business decision making, and while it was difficult to get data on specific aspects of production in the past, it will no longer be a problem for many factories moving forward!
Think of hazardous environments that make it hard for employees to enter. Instead, a sensor can be placed to continuously and automatically to monitor the system. Data will become a key driver in optimising factory performance, and factories with the most visibility on their operations will likely go further in the post-pandemic world.
Armed with data, factory operators can now identify the exact pain points that are slowing down performance and fix it with targeted solutions. They can also better identify their goals and create an ecosystem of solutions that best fit their needs.
No two IIoT-enabled factories will look the same. IIoT solutions could unleash an exciting design phase for many factories to further optimise and transform their operations.
Data driving artificial intelligence (AI) in factories
With data tracking turning into a routine practice for factories, artificial intelligence (AI) is quickly becoming a reality in the future of factories.
Data is at the foundation of all AI solutions. An AI programme can learn about a machine’s processes through the data that it receives. It then generates an algorithm to reach an outcome specified by the user. To do so, AI solutions need not just data, but big data – extremely large data sets that can reveal patterns, trends, and associations.
AI solutions can synthesise huge data sets to identify inconsistencies in the production process, predict or pre-empt an unplanned downtime event, and provide forecasts on market demand and supply. These insights into the future will enable factories to reduce waste, and improve processes that they previously had no visibility over.
Continued growth of automated factories
Covid-19 has accelerated the adoption of automation solutions across factories globally. Not only do factories have to adopt automation solutions to cope with remote working regulations, but they also had to respond to the changes in supply chain management, increased consumer demands, the massive shifts in digitalising B2B operations among others.
Automation solutions will only continue to grow in 2022. To support this, factories may also have to invest in upskilling and reskilling programs to train their employees to be able to run automation programs and take on other tasks within the factory.