Artificial Intelligence is currently fuelling massive change in the manufacturing industry. It continues to be the most significant driving force powering today: Everything from remotely monitoring machinery to spotting problems before they occur to reducing waste in the supply chain and ensuring they are ready for sale without delays...
According to McKinsey, 50% of companies that invest in AI over the next five to seven years will have the potential to double their cash flow; manufacturing is leading the way due to its heavy reliance on data.
We All Need Manufacturing to Thrive
Historians track human progress from the Stone Age through the Modern Age, measuring evolutionary development based on human mastery of the natural environment, materials, tools, and technologies. Humankind is currently in the Information Age, also known as the Silicon Age. In this electronics-based era, computers collectively enhance humans, leveraging unprecedented power over the natural world.
Manufacturing has always been on the cutting edge of technology. Today's new technologies like automation, wearables, 3D printing, drones, and the IoT continue to push the boundaries of what is possible.
When manufacturing investments are strong, a multiplier effect ripples across the economy, creating jobs and growth in other industries. In fact, manufacturing has the largest multiplier of any sector. The manufacturing industry plays a significant role in boosting a country's economy. Because of the manufacturing industry, a country like China has accumulated so much power and wealth over the past few years.
Now that we have answered why manufacturing matters, let's take a look at the history of the manufacturing industry;
The industrial process used to turn raw materials into products in high volumes emerged during the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. The development of steam engines and related technologies allowed companies to use machines in the manufacturing process. It reduced the number of workers required to produce goods while also increasing the volume of goods produced.
Mass production and assembly line manufacturing allowed companies to create parts that could be used interchangeably and allowed finished products to be made more readily. The Ford Motor Company popularized the use of mass-production techniques in manufacturing in the early 20th century.
The manufacturing industry has always been available to embrace innovative technologies. Technology has made manufacturing more efficient and employees more productive. Drones and industrial robots have been a part of the manufacturing industry since the 1960s.
With the implementation of AI, organizations have kept inventories lean and reduced costs. AI already helps manufacturers become more flexible in the production process and factories minimize their losses such as time, resources, material, and adopt a zero-waste mindset.
The Future of AI in Manufacturing
As computer technology progresses to be more capable of doing things humans have traditionally done for themselves, AI has been a natural development.
Aime Lachapelle, of Emerton Data, says that 85% of the surveyed companies aim to implement AI into their production processes.
Machinery failures are usual in the manufacturing industry, resulting in increased downtime, higher costs, and delayed time to market. Here lies the importance of Artificial Intelligence in the field of manufacturing.
Artificial Intelligence combines human intelligence with solid technologies to bring revolutionary changes in how manufacturing operations are conducted. For example, AI can identify even minor faults in machinery or product, giving designers the option to address the same before becoming a major fault.
By deploying the right combination of AI technologies, producers can boost efficiency, improve flexibility, accelerate processes, and even enable self-optimizing operations.
According to BCG analysis, using AI can reduce producers’ conversion costs by up to 20%, with up to 70% of the cost reduction resulting from higher workforce productivity.
Evolution, Not Revolution
The applications of AI in the field of manufacturing are widespread and revolutionary. It has radically changed how products are designed, offering actionable insights into each level of designing and manufacturing.
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