Top Trends 2022 – Manufacturing Technology
Manufacturing has been a significant contributor to global trade, technological innovation and economic growth more than anything else. Or did you forget about the Industrial Revolution? Duh! Since then, the manufacturing industry has been ever-evolving to meet the market demands and limitations of the supply chain by keeping up with technological advancements. Not to state the obvious, technology has come in handy to ensure that the manufacturing sector is not left behind as times progress.
So, if your business is even remotely involved in the manufacturing industry or you are simply intrigued by it, check out these top Manufacturing Technology trends of 2022 to know how the world of manufacturing will evolve this year!
Most of the evolution in the manufacturing sector can be credited to someone like Joey in the Milk Master 2000 commercial in our all-time favorite show, F.R.I.E.N.D.S.
Every now and then, a random Kevin next door would exclaim, "There's got to be a better way" and soon enough, a geek would come up with a solution and say, “And there is, Kevin!”
Here's the iconic scene for your pleasure!
Manufacturing Technology has always contributed more to the way things are produced and less to what is actually being produced. Even today, you could still be producing the Milk Master 2000, with the only change being that it would be done in a more automated and efficient manner.
When we talk about Manufacturing Technology trends, that's what we would be covering as well. How would technology aid the manufacturing sector to produce better, faster and more efficiently? Last year, the key drivers in the arena were Robotic Exoskeletons, 3D printing, the Internet of Things (IoT) and a few more. While some of these continue to revolutionize Manufacturing Technology in 2022 as well, we are also witnessing other emerging trends this year.
So, cutting the preamble short, let's look at the top Manufacturing Technology trends of 2022.
Trend 1: Sustainability Will Make All The Difference
What we have realized so far is that environment and economy are two sides of the same coin and there is a need to sustain the environment as the economy grows. Fortunately, in 2022, manufacturers will care more about sustainability too. The cost and demand for resources are on the rise, which is why more industries are already evolving towards more economical and sustainable business processes. This year, we would witness businesses leveraging sustainable manufacturing technologies and materials. After all, the woke customers of today, too, prefer buying from more environmental-friendly brands!
In fact, about 94% of international leaders in the manufacturing sector will go for sustainability over their parental benchmark. Trust us, we are not exaggerating at all! As a matter of fact, over 21% of the 2000 largest global public companies have already made the decision to switch to sustainable manufacturing technologies and techniques.
TechDogs' Opinion: We are living in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and undoubtedly, no company has a free pass to use the available resources at the cost of the environment. It is pretty obvious that manufacturing companies will have to shift towards utilizing resources smartly. Sustainable materials, renewable energy and green processes will help businesses take the initial steps to minimize their environmental impact and adopt smart manufacturing. Therefore, in 2022, most manufacturers will shift their focus on green technologies as an important manufacturing trend. Furthermore, this technology will produce green products that offer better longevity and lower emissions.
Trend 2: IIoT Will Stay On The Top
Industry 4.0 is here! It's time to make the best out of smart machinery and real-time data analysis. That's why IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) will be a big buzz this year (much more than it was last year!). Clearly, IIoT as a Manufacturing Technology trend is going nowhere and is all set to make life easier for manufacturers. It will enable them to easily adapt, innovate and predict using Business Intelligence and Data Analytics tools on IoT device data. Besides, this trend will contribute to increasing the uptime of machines, improving operational efficiency, reducing costs through automation and giving manufacturers insights through predictive analytics.
Robert Smith, a journalist at BRIT School student who believes that accepting Industrial IoT will be a big turning point in the coming times says "IIoT, even though it has become more widespread in the industry field, is still at the top of the list for upcoming trends in 2022." Most of the labor-intensive and time-consuming techniques manufacturers employ will become more sophisticated, automated and vibrant with this technological integration.
TechDogs' Opinion: We believe that Industrial IoT technology will be more than just another trend. It will transform the manufacturing plants and assemblies by connecting top management to shop floor workers with a unified view of the process, helping everyone in faster decision-making. Needless to say, it will be a great technological improvement for streamlining manufacturing operations as it will reduce costs of manufacturing.
Also, with the adoption of Digital Twin technology in the manufacturing sector, IIoT will make it easier to simulate real-time changes and accurately predict the time and resources needed for any manufacturing tasks. Businesses that expect an increase in demand or wish to ramp up production in the near future will benefit highly from IIoT integrations, as it will enable faster innovation, more accurate forecasting and create end-to-end operational visibility of the process. This will however also depend largely on the existing data analytics and predictive analytics capabilities deployed by manufacturers as IIoT data needs massive computing power to provide real-time insights.
Trend 3: 5G Will Be The Star Of The Show
To be honest, we have all been waiting for this - 2G, 3G, 4G and now 5G. As the connecting devices are increasing in number, the demand for data connections is constantly on the rise too. We all want a high-speed network with better security and reliability and so does the manufacturing industry. So, welcome 5G, the latest emerging network technology that will provide a massive improvement in the current standards of connectivity in the manufacturing sphere.
5G will outperform the traditional networks, helping manufacturing processes become quicker through faster transfer of information. This will especially be a boon for manufacturing companies that have deployed digital twins, cloud computing, smart manufacturing or distributed manufacturing approaches, as they all require super-fast data transfer to operate at peak efficiency.
China has developed the world's largest 5G network, with more than 100 5G-enabled manufacturing plants. Each one of them is more automated and operationally efficient, as data can be processed 20 times faster than traditional 4G networks used in most manufacturing applications. Soon, this 5G-enabled network will be the way we manufacture things as it will be a more service-oriented, intelligent and flexible way of manufacturing.
TechDogs' Opinion: 5G is more about wireless flexibility, intense capabilities and low latencies than anything else. This technology will definitely shape up the smart factory and its working environment as they will be more inclined towards sensor technology, which requires a robust network. Moreover, when more production process data is collected through these sensors, management will be able to use advanced applied sciences to analyze the data. This will allow manufacturing organizations to make data-backed decisions and help guide the workforce to improve wherever required.
Another arena where manufacturing businesses will benefit from 5G integrations is using computer vision for precision engineering products. AI-enabled cameras can be placed along the assembly line to inspect various factors such as rate of production, quality, defects etc. and send real-time insights to a dashboard. A high-speed wireless 5G connection will enable floor managers to track the entire manufacturing process in real-time to improve the efficiency of production.
Trend 4: Wearable Technology Will Make Workplaces Better
Gone are the days when the workers used to come together as a union and fight for a safer working environment. Workplace safety has always been a big concern in the manufacturing industry. So, clearly, technology had to come to the rescue!
This year, we will witness the popularity of wearable devices for the workers wherein they would wear smartwatches, smart bands, headsets and more to ensure their health and safety is monitored at all times. These wearables will surely make monitoring of shop floor movement much easier and will contribute a lot to collecting data for further improvement of layout designs. Certain machinery can also be programmed to cease operations if a worker gets too close, thanks to the signals given off by the wearable device.
Given the fact that the wearable market stands for $24 billion at present and by 2025, it will see roughly three times the growth, nearing $70 billion, it is safe to assume that wearables will become increasingly common in the manufacturing sector in 2022.
TechDogs' Opinion: We believe that wearables will be one of the defining trends in manufacturing this year, focused around productivity and improved health measure. Wearable technology innovations will enable workers to raise a safety-incident alarm whenever needed, which will allow for timely action. For workers who have chronic health problems, tracking of health data can be done using wearables, allowing them to be monitored carefully at the workplace. We believe that wearables will also translate to higher awareness of surroundings and ongoing processes, helping workers align better for higher efficiency.
Moreover, a few organizations are trying to integrate well-being features within wearables, rewarding workers for tasks completed or the number of steps walked, which helps in providing better mental health and safety standards. Another use of wearables will be to allow better connectivity, where workers will be able to use these devices to send messages/reminders within seconds or give real-time updates on ongoing tasks. This will allow workers to reduce errors made due to incorrect or untimely communication of information in large workplaces.
Trend 5: AR and VR Will Change The Manufacturing Game
Talking about Augmented Reality (AR) and its relation to fixing problems, this immersive technology will transform boring manufacturing workplace calculations and jargon-filled manuals into interesting and engaging digital content. This content will show up on machines and help the operator understand problems better and fix them in much less time. Moreover, when AR will be integrated together with Virtual Reality (VR) - a concept called Mixed Reality (MR) where digital graphics are overlaid on real-world surroundings - it will be a much bigger support for manufacturers, especially for processes requiring visualization such as product prototyping, training demos and simulation exercises.
Advanced technologies are the need of the hour because of the rising demand for speedy and quality product manufacturing. This is why VR and AR will help handle everything within the industrial sphere – from streamlining manufacturing processes to product designing. Additionally, according to research done by IDC, the manufacturing sector is expected to invest roughly $5.9 billion in VR and AR technologies by 2024, while process manufacturing will make up $5.1 billion of it.
TechDogs' Opinion: As visual technologies are entering the manufacturing industry, the time is not far when we will render 3D visuals in actual proportions or have digitally augmented overlays on devices. Once this happens, it will become easier for technicians to understand step-by-step methods needed to repair or maintain a machine. Moreover, even if there is a skill gap between the workers and technology, it wouldn't be a big problem since immersive technology will help skilled experts handle issues remotely. Another advantage that businesses will have is the ability to overlay computer-generated visualizations created from real data on physical surroundings to plan with more reliability and consequently reduce the time to market.
However, it will be inevitable for businesses to work on reducing the skill gap by training more in-house employees to work with VR/AR tools. We will also see the rise of manufacturing institutes where upskilling will be offered for those interested in learning such technologies. We expect to see remote installations and troubleshooting being standard services in the future and as such businesses need to focus on upskilling their technical workforce.
Imagine if automation, the latest 5G network and visually immersive technologies were being used by Flintstone-type Stone Age people. How far we would have come by now? Well, even thinking about that is scary, fascinating and interesting at the same time. We don't know how that would work out but the Manufacturing Technology trends will definitely continue to change the way goods are produced and overall, this year looks extremely exciting for this industry. From adopting sustainable practices and using wearables to deploying 5G networks and Industrial IoT, the factory floor will see some real transformation in 2022!
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