Steve Shebuski, VP of Digital Strategy
Guiding businesses through their digital transformation journey
With the advancement of technology, manufacturers are changing the way they design and build products. AI, digital twins, automation and so much more are driving innovation throughout the entire manufacturing industry. Microsoft dives into current and upcoming industry changes in 2019 Manufacturing Trends.
The Rise of Digital Twins
Digital twins are quickly becoming a popular way to test manufacturing equipment. They combine data with AI, machine learning, and software analytics to predict how complex machinery will react to different scenarios. It's essentially a "twin" simulation used to test the efficiency, durability, safety and other qualities of machinery.
By using a digital twin instead of the real equipment, you test a machine's functionality safely, quickly, and at a lower cost. This shows you if you the machinery can handle certain temperatures, predict when it will need maintenance, or even show you the best way to optimize the machine's full potential.
A New Type of Manufacturing
Subtractive manufacturing has been around for a long time. It's the process of cutting away material from a solid block in order to create your product. It's efficient for making certain types of products but is a slow process with a lot of wasted material.
Additive manufacturing came about when manufacturers started using 3D printing to create parts using a predefined shape. This replaced traditional methods, such as subtractive manufacturing, and opens the door to create custom products at much lower costs.
Combining additive and subtractive manufacturing is a newer concept known as hybrid manufacturing. This strategy allows you to waste less materials and create products more efficiently by using additive manufacturing but uses subtractive manufacturing for the accuracy needed for some of the product details, such as cutting holes.
Some companies have harnessed the benefits of using hybrid manufacturing and developed machines designed to utilize both subtractive and additive manufacturing. Microsoft said that they expect to see more innovation around hybrid manufacturing in the coming years.
Artificial intelligence has lead to new autonomous devices that improve workflows, operations, and overall supply chain processes. These devices operate with little to no human interaction and are changing the manufacturing industry.
Using robots is becoming more popular as they are able to performing some of the more dangerous tasks to improve human safety. Some robots are even designed to collaborate and work along side of humans instead of replacing them.
Though autonomous devices save time, money and improve accuracy, the manufacturing industry is slow to adopt this technology. Microsoft found that only 9% have semi-automated or fully automated equipment and most say this is due to the cost.
Cost won't be an issue much longer. As technology advances, the price of autonomous devices will drop. Many manufacturers will soon be able to afford to implement this technology.
Technology will continue to be a growing part of the manufacturing industry. Though it has been slow to implement in the past, the falling costs are going to have a big effect.
Leveraging this technology will be what sets you apart from your competitors. Products like Microsoft D365 F&O provides you with insight and data to make the most informed decisions for your business.
D365 also helps you drive innovation. The platform is flexible and scalable to any size of business. It helps you react quickly to change and gives you the data you need to innovate in your industry.
Want to know more about how to leverage technology in your business? Contact us.