Manufacturers are faced with new challenges in an ever moving and more connected world. There has never been a more important time for manufacturers to invest in the next generation of industrial automation solutions.

Cloud computing within manufacturing is being embraced to store and manage huge amounts of production data. Aside from the obvious increased storage space, the cloud helps to reduce costs, increase agility, optimise performance and drive profitability. It creates solutions that provide the opportunity to eliminate investment in rapidly depreciating IT capital equipment and free up more time for manufacturers to invest in new products.

The development of the cloud is supporting the drive of three areas: mobile technology, the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable devices. Alongside Industry 4.0, the future of manufacturing is set for big changes.

Industry 4.0

Manufacturers are looking for lower resource utilisation, faster manufacturing and lower production downtimes, which aren’t feasible with the traditional manufacturing set up. In order to survive and meet these parameters, a more sophisticated, smarter factory is required. To achieve this, it must leverage the cloud and use remote big-data analysis capabilities to optimise and adapt the manufacturing process flow, increasing the ability to track the product across its complete lifecycle. With technologies such as IoT, Industry 4.0 can make manufacturing smarter, to help companies revolutionise their manufacturing process, and the way they ship goods.

Harnessing Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Manufacturing was one of the first industries to harness AI. Factories used robots to assemble different products and package them, ready to be shipped around the world. Developments in AI and new robotics have already started to take this process to another level by assembling more complicated products, including electronics, cars, and homes. Although many AI production lines still need human support and supervision, there’s a push towards a largely robotic manufacturing industry.

Machine learning technology

The digital transformation of manufacturing and supply chains introduces the element that data from factories can be directly analysed by AI and developed with machine learning. It’s these changes that will lead to efficiency gains of up to 10pc. Companies can also expect to see manufacturing lead times cut in half. By embracing this technology, companies can stay competitive, improve their workplace and quality of work. Accepting new data and technologies allows social innovation to underpin everything being done to tackle the biggest issues faced today.

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