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The Most Influential IT Trends in Manufacturing Industry Shaping 2021
The manufacturing sector has often been the forerunner in adopting new technology and innovation. And the pandemic, though it brought in a severe shutdown of manufacturing units worldwide, has only paved the way for manufacturing technology to get smarter and focus on digital connectivity even more.
Let us highlight some of the top IT trends the manufacturing industry will use as it reels back from the previous year’s learnings.
Internet of Things (IoT)
While IoT has grown to be almost mainstream technology in various sectors, it is still in its early stages and has more room for adaptability and innovation. This is why the manufacturing industry will continue to focus on IoT-based tech developments to collect real-time data, better inform their decisions and achieve most of their operational goals like improved safety, product innovation, efficiency, cost reduction, and more.
A study by the MPI Group states that around 34% of manufacturers consider using IoT tech in their production processes, and about 32% plan to include IoT capabilities in their products.
With an acute shortage of labor and manual intervention during the pandemic, it has become all the more necessary to rely on predictive maintenance to make sure productivity does not fall. An hour of downtime can cause as much as $100,000 in losses. And companies are right to invest in predictive analytics and predictive maintenance technology to ensure low downtimes.
Predictive analytics often use IoT-based real-time data collection and advanced AI-based analysis to schedule maintenance tasks and predict when machines are more likely to fail.
Enterprise resource planning, or ERP, systems may not be the newest kid on the block, but ERP systems are set to take a new direction as more manufacturers start taking a data-driven approach to EPR upgrades. This approach has let manufacturers easily consolidate data from multiple data platforms. Manufacturers are also keen on adding additional functionalities to existing ERP by adding a new layer of agile applications on top of existing ERP to get a faster time to value.
These new apps serve various purposes, enabling remote working, employee safety, and temporary solutions that help adapt to the COVID-19 situation.
With IoT enabling manufacturers to collect vast amounts of real-time data, big data has emerged to be a bigger trend that helps manufacturers analyze data efficiently. It is used as a tool to construct business strategies and planning models. Paired with AI for analysis, big data can be used to forecast material requirements and production volumes.
VR and AR
Both Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality allow manufacturers to enable touchless service options and remote assistance. Most of the basic troubleshooting and repairs could now be achieved with the help of AR and VR-enabled devices and remote communication.
3D Printing has been around for longer than you would probably imagine. But now that this revolutionary technology is gaining traction, it helps in rapid and affordable prototyping and customization. 3D printing is widely employed to produce on-demand products as they are quicker and cheaper than usual manufacturing and warehousing methods.
3D printing has substantially reduced the time required to create detailed molds, jigs, and fixtures needed in mass production units. It has also reduced the dependency on foreign and expensive tooling companies to get started with the mass production of heavy equipment.
As is evident, the manufacturing industry, similar to other sectors, is getting influenced by technology. Small- and medium-sized manufacturers who embrace technology early will get ahead of the competition. Contact 3nom today to outline your first steps!