The manufacturing industry always remained a key adopter of the latest technologies and innovations. The manufacturing sector has evolved over the centuries, from manual and human-controlled methods to machine-based assembly lines to highly automated factories. A number of ongoing trends are combining to transform the manufacturing sector and can be referred to as Industry 4.0. RationalStat has explored the 8 biggest manufacturing trends that are supporting Industry 4.0
1. Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT):
Internet of things in industries, where interconnected devices are used in industrial settings and manufacturing establishments to collect data that can then be used to enhance the manufacturing process. Examples of these interconnected IIoT devices include sensors, devices, machinery/equipment, and the software that powers them. In 2021, the global Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market is estimated at nearly US$ 200 billion. Some of the best IIoT providers include ABB, Cisco, Huawei, Intel, among others.
2. Predictive Maintenance
With the advent of industry 4.0, Predictive maintenance (PdM) aims to empower companies to maximize the useful life of machine and equipment parts while minimizing planned downtime and avoiding unplanned downtime. Predictive maintenance utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) and sensor data to detect failure patterns in components and machinery. According to the study by RationalStat, notable predictive maintenance providers include ABB, SKF, Siemens, IBM, Microsoft, GE, Amazon, among others. Importantly, in 2020, e-commerce giant Amazon announced predictive maintenance offerings to foray into the lucrative market.
3. Digital Twins
Technologies enabling the adoption of digital twins are cloud computing, the internet of things (IoT), APIs and open standards, digital reality technologies, and artificial intelligence. A digital twin is a computer program that uses real-world data to create simulations that can predict how a process or product will perform.
Using digital twins, aircraft manufacturing giant - Boeing has been able to achieve a 40% improvement rate in the quality of parts.
“By 2022, nearly 70% of manufacturers are expected to use digital twins to conduct evaluations and simulations”
4. Automation and Dark Factories
The term dark factory describes a manufacturing site or industrial plant that is fully automated, where production takes place without any human intervention. Dark factories, where the lights are off, can work in all shifts with automated robots, which will increase productivity with zero error. Automation and dark factories can eliminate almost 90% of the human workforce without compromising the production schedule.
5. 5G & Edge Computing
5G and edge computing are opening a world of new revenue opportunities across many sectors including manufacturing. Edge computing in telecom provides execution resources such as compute and storage for applications with networking close to the end-users. The main benefits edge computing solutions provide include high bandwidth, low latency, device processing, data offload as well as trusted computing and storage. Importantly, with COVID-19 the need for the manufacturing sector to be digital has never been greater, and 5G and edge computing will likely play a key role in the global economic recovery. With the utilization of 5G and edge computing, the industrial manufacturing market is set to grow 51% between 2019-2023.
6. 3D Printing
3D printing is a manufacturing process that produces objects, products, and structures in accordance with a 3D digital model. By using a 3D printer and adding material (plastics and metals) layer by layer. Complex designs can be produced through 3D printing both rapidly and at a low cost. Some of the industries that are extensively utilizing 3D printing are aerospace, automotive robotics, and education. For instance, Airbus has been using 3D printing technology for more than 15 years.
3D printing will drive a new era of personalization because individually personalized products can be made without worrying about economies of scale. In addition, 3D printing can help to drive innovation by allowing rapid prototyping.
Related report: Global 3D Printing Materials Market
7. Blockchain Technology
Blockchain technology is being increasingly used within the manufacturing industry. Industry 4.0 spans across a whole network of machines, parts, equipment, and value chain participants. Therefore, as factories around the world become increasingly interconnected, the influence of blockchain is becoming more prevalent. Importantly, blockchain technology will bring greater transparency and trust to the manufacturing sector.
Blockchain-powered solutions in the manufacturing sector can seamlessly aggregate all of the information to deliver significant value for manufacturing companies and help unlock the full potential of other advanced technologies, such as IoT, 3D printing, and augmented reality.
Related report: Blockchain in Healthcare Market
8. Robots and Cobots
One of the key enablers of automation and industry 4.0 is the use of robots in the manufacturing sector. On the other hand, Cobots (collaborative robots), just like traditional industrial robots, consisting of a mechanical arm that can be programmed to perform various tasks such as assembly, material handling, process tasks, packaging, and quality inspection. Robots and cobots can help manufacturers and production sites to achieve greater efficiencies. For instance, Nissan deployed Universal Robots’ robotic arms at its production facilities in Japan to help overcome problems around maintaining production times.
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Co-founder and Director at RationalStat
Divyanshu is an experienced market research consultant. He helps growth-driven organizations and entrepreneurs understand market entry prospects, industry assessment, and grow their revenue strategically.