From the Internet of Things (IoT) boom to the successful pro-American manufacturing campaign of Donald Trump, 2016 has been huge for manufacturers in the US and abroad. But with the year ending, what could be next in 2017?
Tom Roche, managing director of the manufacturing, utilities and services sector (MUS) for Fujitsu UK & Ireland, recently speculated on what the coming year might mean for the MUS sector.
According to Roche, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and 3D printing will be the biggest MUS gamechangers in 2017.
Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
We’re already seeing the beginning of the robotic revolution in the MUS sector. For example, collaborative robots (cobots) are making their way into the mainstream and Chinese auto manufacturers already use one robot per thirty humans and hope to shrink that gap.
It may not came as a surprise that AI made its way onto Roche’s list, manufacturers alike continue to favor and invest in “smart” technology and advanced robotics. “The biggest impact AI will have in 2017 is in administrative tasks, call centres and corporate functions like HR,” Roche said.
Roche explains that by 2035, the mass adoption of AI and robotics in the MUS sector will “double economic growth rates and boost productivity by up to 40 percent.”
Internet of Things
Next on the list, the Industrial IoT (IIoT) will connect machines to operators and admin offices. A lot of data will be processed in data-gathering software for analysis and ultimately predictive maintenance.
With the continuing rise of IIoT in 2017, Roche sees with it a “rise in the adoption of servicisation… For instance, Rolls Royce now sells ‘power by the hour’, rather than the engine itself.” So it seems in Roche’s view, we can expect to see more and more subscription services over the coming year.
Roche also touches on the security concerns of the IoT, which are becoming readily apparent. He predicts that “[d]ue to the increasing need for more security, the industry will move away from ‘home made’ solutions where organisations have built their own systems for managing the remote working of IoT devices… Instead, businesses will start to adopt commercial platforms.”
The last gamechanger on Roche’s list, 3D printing, has already made significant progress since the inception of additive manufacturing in the 1980s.
Roche believes that we’re finally reaching the point where 3D printing will significantly impact the cost of parts in the MUS sector, specifically towards the cost of IoT adoption. Calling 3D printing “the IoT enabler,” Roche predicts that “[m]anufacturers will be using 3D printing to print electronic devices, changing the cost of producing IoT custom and low-volume sensors, which will increase the variety of solutions available.”
Roche also suggests that 3D printing will allow for cost-effective custom products. In 2017, “manufacturers will be able to adapt to the specifications of each order by printing the unique components that are required for each job and do that at mass scale, making the business more viable.”
For another potential gamechanger that Roche didn’t cover, read How Augmented Reality can Improve Manual Automotive Assembly.
Source from : www.engineering.com