In the mid to late 1700s, we saw the industrial revolution completely change the manufacturing industry. New technological innovations allowed for mechanized production methods, leading to an unprecedented rise in population growth, average income, and living standards.
Today, we’re in the midst of another revolution—but this time, it’s digital. Modern digital developments allow us to streamline our manufacturing methods in ways we could never have imagined. This new era in manufacturing falls under different names depending on where you are in the world. Standard terms include the “Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), “Industry 4.0”, or only “smart manufacturing.”
This digital revolution is changing every aspect of manufacturing, from design and fabrication to internal operations and energy footprints. Read on to learn more about this exciting period of innovation.
- Machine learning and artificial intelligence
- Moving towards the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
- Sensors play a central role
Machine learning and artificial intelligence
Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) each play an essential role in digitizing the manufacturing industry. The implementation of AI in our factories has led to lower costs, increased sales growth, and higher profit margins.
One significant benefit of machine learning is real-time monitoring. Through this innovative measure, manufacturers can collect relevant data about factory operations, ensure customers receive deliveries on time, and quickly troubleshoot any bottlenecks or production inconsistencies.
By analyzing images in real-time, AI software allows manufacturers to complete quality inspections at unprecedented speeds. This is especially useful in consumer products and the automotive industry, where businesses must comply with strict regulations and requirements.
Moving towards the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
The Industrial Internet of Things, or IIoT, envisions a world in which billions of industrial devices connect to gather and share data. These devices can include factory machines, airplane engines, automotive components, and more.
Through IIoT projects, manufacturers can develop a clearer idea of how their production lines function, accurately predict downtime and servicing requirements, and cut down on staff costs.
Collecting data undermines every aspect of IIoT. By collecting digital data, we can program automated changes on production lines in response to environmental challenges, changing demand, and more. This may lead to a stage where real-time changes are managed entirely by machines.
Sensors play a central role
Sensors play an essential role in the IIoT and machine learning. Through sensors, machines receive continuous feedback across the supply chain. Some machines will communicate with each other to completely automate production processes.
In other cases, sensors will feed data back to a central dashboard, where managers can access real-time information about their factory. By analyzing sensor data, manufacturers can make informed decisions about their production processes.
Manufacturing businesses typically use ultrasonic sensors to automate production control. Applications may include high-speed counting, liquid level control, box sorting, robotic sensing, and detecting irregularities.
In the coming years, the manufacturing industry will continue to grow and change as the digital revolution takes over. Where we’re at now is only the beginning. As we continue to digitize production processes, we will move towards a fully automated manufacturing industry where machine learning, AI, and IIoT applications play a critical role.