Manufacturing Technology Trends 2024
In our modern age of 3D printing, companies such as Stratasys and HP pushing the boundaries by layering materials to craft intricate, customizable products. Don't forget the robots! Tech titans such as KUKA and ABB are leading the charge, automating tasks across industries and enhancing precision and speed via robotics. Then we come to the Internet of Things (IoT) which is revolutionizing production efficiency, with businesses like Siemens and GE leading the way. However, this is just a scratch on the surface!
The transition from manual craftsmanship to 3D printing and IoT-driven manufacturing has been exhilarating, leaving us eagerly anticipating the future. Yet have you ever wondered what's the secret sauce behind these manufacturing innovations?
The key is riding the wave of the latest trends, as these tech giants have done. Believe us, it's about identifying and leveraging the latest trends that make the magic happen!
So, without further ado let's delve into the article and find out the top 5 Manufacturing Trends of 2024 that are set to reshape the manufacturing industries this year and beyond!
Have you seen the 2016-released movie, The Founder? This documentary highlights the transformative power of manufacturing technology. The whole story revolves around the story of Ray Kroc's journey of turning a small fast-food restaurant into a McDonald's Corporation. This biographical drama vividly illustrates how advancements in manufacturing technology played a crucial role in revolutionizing the fast-food industry and establishing McDonald's as a global brand.
Kroc's vision was to create a consistent and efficient process for producing high-quality fast food. The heart of this transformation lay in the innovative "Speedee Service System," an assembly-line approach to food preparation. With a meticulous focus on precision, this manufacturing technology allowed for the rapid, reliable and scalable production of hamburgers, fries, milkshakes and whatnot. Through meticulous standardization and quality control, Kroc ensured that every McDonald's franchise around the world delivered the same familiar taste and experience to customers. You know that iconic McDonald’s taste, right?
The Founder served as a lesson for businesses and industrialists alike on how embracing manufacturing technology trends can transform a local enterprise into an iconic global brand. By efficiently harnessing technology to ensure product consistency, businesses can create a recognizable and reliable brand identity.
Last year, digital transformation, digital twinning, IoT, work safety and cobots were the top trends reshaping the manufacturing technology landscape. So, what new trends are waiting to revolutionize manufacturing technology this year?
Dive into the article and discover the top 5 Manufacturing Technology Trends of 2024!
Trend 1: Manufacturing Businesses Will Give Supply Chains A Tech-driven Boost
In an era of increasingly complex global supply chains, successful manufacturers are making substantial investments in digital supply chain capabilities. These investments will be pivotal in providing enhanced insights into the operations of every stakeholder along the supply chain, allowing for better decisions regarding material sourcing and customer demand. Why should companies embrace this transformation in 2024, you ask?
Well, in a survey conducted in 2021 by industrial sourcing marketplace Thomas, it was revealed that 83% of North American-based manufacturers were likely to "reshore" at least a portion of their operations. It marked a significant increase from the 54% reported just a year earlier. Reshoring, however, is just one element of a broader movement among manufacturers to diversify their supplier base. Many businesses and manufacturers alike are exploring options to onboard suppliers from different regions to mitigate supply chain risks.
For instance, Norfolk Southern witnessed its rail network well-positioned because of a whopping investment of $70 billion in the electric vehicle supply chain. In fact, according to Ed Elkins, the railroad’s Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Office, “Whether it’s the Infrastructure Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, the Chips Act — there are a lot of compelling reasons, along with geopolitical instability and affordable and reliable energy, to make the US a very compelling place to be.” However, it won’t just be the US, as manufacturers in Europe, APAC and other regions will also look to strengthen supply chains using technological integrations in 2024.
TechDogs’ Takeaway: To thrive in an era of global supply chain disruptions, manufacturers should proactively adopt automation and IoT technology. These innovations have the potential to enhance operational efficiency, reduce wastage and combat fraud in the supply chain. Besides, manufacturers must invest in technology solutions that provide end-to-end visibility and control of their supply chain, allowing them to swiftly adjust to disruptions. For this, manufacturers must harness the power of data-driven inventory management to identify previously undiscovered inefficiencies within their supply chain, enabling them to respond to the unpredictable supply chain landscape and reduce disruptions. Finally, manufacturers should seek innovative ways to introduce flexibility and reliability into their supply chain while preserving value.
Trend 2: Sustainability And Tech Will Go Hand In Hand As Clean Technology
In 2024, sustainability is no longer just a buzzword; it's a vital focus for businesses, particularly in the manufacturing sector. This trend of sustainability is driven by a combination of factors, including government, municipal and institutional contracts' sustainability requirements, as well as the increasing demand for environmental, social and governance (ESG) compliance from commercial customers.
A recent report from the 2023 US Environmental Protection Agency reveals that the manufacturing and raw materials sectors are accountable for a significant 23% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. A 2022 study by Climate Impact Partners underscored the significance of sustainability in business, reporting that 42% of Fortune Global 500 companies have either achieved substantial climate milestones or have pledged to do so by 2030. Moreover, 80% of consumers said it was a top priority for companies to take responsibility for climate action.
While strides have been made to reduce emissions in the manufacturing industry, considerable progress remains to be achieved. In fact, many brands and manufacturers are evaluating their entire supply chain to identify opportunities for waste reduction (Trends 1), ensure diverse and ethical practices, adoption of fuel-efficient or electric vehicles, etc. within their facilities. With consumers more demanding about sustainable practices, manufacturing businesses will focus on adopting clean tech and eco-friendly practices in 2024.
TechDogs’ Takeaway: Companies across all industries, including manufacturing, face the challenge of reducing their environmental impact and CO2 emissions. To address this, manufacturers must transition away from fossil fuels and embrace renewable energy sources to expedite their journey towards achieving net zero emissions. Moreover, the concept of traceability is gaining prominence, so manufacturers must showcase their ability to trace the origin of every component in their products. To fully leverage the traceability trend, manufacturers should invest in technology and data management systems that allow for real-time tracking and reporting. They should also collaborate with suppliers who share their commitment to transparency and ethical practices. Manufacturers heeding this trend will reshape the industry's future and guide it toward a more sustainable and socially responsible path.
Tool 3: Smart Factories Will Revolutionize Manufacturing Practices!
Let's face it dawn of the smart factory era is upon us and it's set to revolutionize the world of manufacturing. Imagine a factory where drones soar above production lines, relaying real-time data on inventory levels and machine health, reducing inaccuracies and human errors. In this not-so-distant future, the factory floor is a symphony of AI, machine learning, IoT and robotics, where analytical work precedes physical labor!
While automation in manufacturing is not new, the adoption of robots, cobots (collaborative robots), drones and autonomous vehicles is soaring. North American robot orders surged by 25% in the second quarter of 2022, according to the Association for Advancing Automation. The global industrial robot market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.5% from 2023 to 2030. Cobots, worth $475 million in 2020, are set to reach a staggering $8 billion by 2030.
Leading manufacturing companies such as Toyota, Ford, BMW, etc. have integrated robotic automation into their production lines to enhance efficiency and precision. For instance, robots from companies such as KUKA, ABB, or Fanuc will be a common sight on the assembly lines of car manufacturing plants. They can perform tasks such as welding, painting, assembly and quality control among others. The future is bright for manufacturers who embrace automation to create smart factories in 2024!
TechDogs’ Takeaway: The promise of Industry 4.0, or smart manufacturing, hinges on manufacturers' ability to simplify processes, gather real-time, precise financial and production information and slash costs. To do this, manufacturers should be driven to integrate smart technology to reap the benefits of enhanced efficiency and reduced operational costs. Manufacturers must also harness data for predictive maintenance, improved forecasting and identifying shortages or bottlenecks, to fully embrace the smart factory revolution. The cost of aftermarket sensors and smart factory software continues to decrease while the advantages become increasingly evident. Hence, manufacturers must leverage twins to simulate supply and demand fluctuations, assess product dimensions and make informed decisions in a smart factory setting this year.
Trend 4: Step Aside Predictive Maintenance, It’s An Era Of Predictive Resolution!
It's 2024 – a thrilling world of manufacturing where innovation knows no bounds! The buzzword on everyone's lips these days is "predictive resolution" and it's reshaping the way we approach maintenance in the coming year and beyond. Once upon a time, predictive maintenance (predictive resolution's predecessor) was about spotting equipment irregularities and understanding their causes. However, now, because of predictive resolution, it's not just about identifying issues; it's about empowering technicians with precise solutions to fix them. How, you ask?
Well, according to Next Move Strategy Consulting, it is predicted that the global predictive market is set to explode by 2030. Its humble beginning at a valuation of $4.5 billion in 2020 is all set to hit the mark of a whopping $64.3 billion by 2030. This signals a growing adoption of predictive analytics and similar technologies in the manufacturing space. Manufacturers have yearned for years for predictive resolution but data challenges have held them back.
Now, thanks to AI, machine learning and NLP, manufacturers can turn mountains of unstructured data – from Word files to PDFs – into actionable predictive insights. Brace yourself for a manufacturing revolution that boasts increased efficiency, reduced costs and a stellar predictive ability, thanks to predictive resolution!
TechDogs’ Takeaway: In the fast-paced manufacturing world, embracing predictive resolution is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Modern businesses should leverage it to address challenges, including the need to reduce downtime, extend equipment lifespans and ensure customer satisfaction. Manufacturers should integrate predictive resolution with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to predict before issues lead to costly disruptions. This would help them with smoother operations, reduced downtimes and enhanced customer satisfaction. Besides, manufacturers must also leverage the power of predictive resolution to improve data analytics and real-time monitoring to drive truly transformative change!
Trend 5: Product-as-a-Service Will Become The Norm!
Remember the days when customers bought a product from a manufacturer and that was pretty much the end of their interaction with them? Well, things have changed! Today, customers expect a constant connection with the brands they love. Instead of making one-off purchases, customers want to pay for what we need on an ongoing basis. This shift in customer expectations has given rise to a fascinating trend known as Product-as-a-Service. So, what is Product as a Service or PaaS?
This trend is all about manufacturers offering their products in a new way – for instance, on a fixed fee basis or as a usage-based subscription. Car manufacturers are getting in on the trends, by allowing consumers access to the latest car models for an upfront fee and a monthly subscription. However, it's not the usual car lease. They take care of things such as registration, insurance, maintenance and even letting customers switch to a different model whenever they like.
Think about cloud computing where software developers provide applications and infrastructure over the internet as a subscription. That's Product as a Service in action. Yet, the manufacturing world will be emulating this trend for other products soon. Companies such as ClearBlade, Inc., Sycor GmbH and Oracle Corporation are at the forefront of providing manufacturers with PaaS capabilities, allowing them to deliver products/services through long- or short-term subscription contracts. Keep an eye out for this trend in 2024 as it’s expected to reshape how consumer-manufacturer relationship!
TechDogs’ Takeaway: In the ever-evolving landscape, embracing change is vital and Product as a Service (PaaS) is the change that manufacturers have been waiting for. Manufacturers must adopt PaaS to shift from selling equipment as a one-time activity to an ongoing revenue-generating service. Manufacturers must also harness the power of the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), predictive analytics and other advancements to leverage the full potential of PaaS. Lastly, manufacturers must collect the usage data of PaaS, allowing them to understand their customer needs better, enhance existing offerings with personalization and even introduce new products.
Summing It Up!
In the year ahead, these five key trends will shape the manufacturing industry's future. As technology continues to advance, supply chains will become more agile, efficient and resilient. Sustainability will take center stage, driving not only environmental benefits but also cost savings and market competitiveness. The Factory of the Future, with its automation, AI and data analytics, will transform the shop floor into a smart, interconnected ecosystem. With predictive resolution, businesses will be stepping into a new era of machine reliability, reducing downtime and optimizing operations. Not to mention Product as a Service, which is helping businesses fine-tune their offerings to consumers.
These trends represent a profound transformation in manufacturing as we know it. Embracing these changes and being open to innovation will be the keys to success in 2024 and beyond!
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