Manufacturing has always been known as industry on the cusp on technological innovation.
Operations professionals especially, from maintenance techs to managers to engineers, are skilled at finding faster and better ways to do things – which often involves new technology.
What type of trends and new technologies are influencing today’s metal and fabrication organizations?
Many metal and fabrication companies are changing locations, embracing nearshoring and reshoring. As opposed to a past of offshoring, manufacturers are now seeing value in bringing factories back to the US to increase productivity.
The demand for more custom products has also pushed manufacturers to build locations closer to home to fill production needs since offshore resources are usually for higher volume demands.
Most manufacturers today are searching for ways to automate processes and shave off precious time in their production lines. With that, robotics have been a popular trend in the industry, creating ways to work smarter without as much human interaction or risk.
Overall, automation is a must for manufacturers to stay viable in today’s landscape, and it plays another huge role in the reshoring mentioned above. In fact, without automation, it’s not possible to stay competitive.
It’s not just automating with robots either but also with also with digital automation such as technology that can help automate tasks like asset and maintenance management, compliance and capital planning can also be a great help. This may include tools that offer IoT (Internet of Things) solutions like modern CMMS software.
According to The Fabricator, “The power of interconnectivity provided by IoT resources and data generated an expenditure of $178 billion in 2016...and American manufacturing operations account for nearly 58 percent of that total.”
A digital system to track work, asset information and other details can be a great help to the efficiency and uptime of metal fabrication manufacturers.
We recently surveyed manufacturing operations professionals, and we asked about the type of exponential technologies they were exploring or using. These were the top four responses:
Advanced robotics — Robots enable the automation of routine tasks, which makes it possible to reshore and remain competitive in the United States. Robotics also require higher skilled labor.
Advanced analytics — This is represented as the autonomous or semi-autonomous examinations of data or content using sophisticated techniques and tools, typically beyond those of traditional business intelligence. In the future, this will make maintenance even more predictive.
Cybersecurity — Cybersecurity refers to a set of techniques that are used to protect networks, data and programs from attack or damage from unauthorized users. At Dude Solutions, we provide this for clients on our secure cloud network.
Additive manufacturing (3D printing) — This centers around 3D printing, which allows manufacturers to print the special parts they need to fulfill custom orders without waiting days or weeks to order and ship them. While this doesn’t only speed up production, it can also help manufacturers move to more of a just-in-time manufacturing, where they have the parts and inventory they need whenever they need them.
To ensure you’re keeping up with today’s trends in manufacturing, check out our new infographic.