The Top Five Industrial Manufacturing Trends

The Top Five Industrial Manufacturing Trends

A recent survey shows that industrial manufacturing trends are continuing to evolve in 2021, and this means there’s never been a better time to get involved in the field. More and more companies are beginning to adopt new strategies to keep up with their competitors, which means there are plenty of opportunities for ambitious and industrious individuals looking to enter the field. This article takes an in-depth look at the top five industrial manufacturing trends you should know about today.

1) Big Data

As industries grow more complex, collecting and analyzing more data becomes paramount to success. Finding ways to effectively use data—how it’s collected, stored, shared and utilized—will be crucial for many manufacturers in 2019. And as organizations work to capitalize on their Big Data opportunities, one thing will become clear: First comes collection; then comes analysis; then you find value. The art of using Big Data goes beyond analytics—it’s about maximizing your return on all available information. As we move into 2019, don’t forget that there is still great value in basic data collection: knowing what you have now (and what you may need) is just as important as understanding how much potential a dataset has. There are any global sourcing companies using big data for optimizing existing products.

2) Automation

By far, automation was the top trend in industrial manufacturing. It’s true that industrial robots have been around for decades, but innovations in automation technology are making it more affordable and available to manufacturers of all sizes. The ability to programmatically control every step of a production process can help any business streamline costs, speed up time-to-market and improve efficiency. However, increased demand for industrial robots hasn’t come without challenges for manufacturers; research from McKinsey notes that only 20 percent of manufacturing tasks are suitable for automation and there aren’t enough skilled workers to make automation more widespread. As such, companies hoping to implement new robotic systems should keep these challenges in mind as they plan their investments.

3) Augmented Reality

Augmented reality—the ability to overlay digital information on top of a physical environment—holds a ton of promise for industrial manufacturing. With AR, you could perform complex maintenance tasks with just a glance, or use virtual overlays to visually represent the operation of machines and systems. While plenty of companies are jumping on board with AR for their products, few have implemented it as an industry-wide tool. Still, we predict that 2019 will be a big year for it across all industries. By 2022, businesses in nearly every industry will likely be using AR in some capacity to help improve production processes or help technicians and engineers better understand operational information at remote locations.

4) Artificial Intelligence

Whether you’re into gaming, education, or training—virtual reality (VR) is changing everything. VR has been around for quite some time but 2019 marked a major shift in how companies are using it to solve complex business challenges. The manufacturing industry is no exception: one recent trend we’ve seen is large manufacturers and supply chains using VR to visualize their processes like never before. The most innovative companies are also experimenting with placing employees inside simulations of their factories so they can learn new skills as if they were actually working on a factory floor. If you haven’t experimented with VR for your business yet, now might be a good time to start!

5) Virtual Reality

(VR) is a technology that provides an immersive and interactive experience, almost exclusively through head-mounted displays. The ability to see virtual objects and events as if they were really there can be incredibly useful in many applications from entertainment, to medical care, to designing new products. It’s also expected to grow rapidly over the next few years—by 2022, analysts are predicting $5 billion worth of sales for VR headsets alone. Because it’s such a fast-growing market (expected CAGR=23%), investors are eager to cash in on these investments—so if you’re trying to jump into VR manufacturing, now might be a good time.

6) Blockchain

A blockchain is a public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions. It is constantly growing as ‘completed’ blocks (the most recent transactions) are recorded and added to it in chronological order; i.e., they have not been altered since, and contain data from a fixed starting point. The blocks are added to a blockchain in regular intervals, which makes it decentralized as no single institution controls it and no information can be deleted or altered. Therefore, anyone can check any transaction on blockchain’s history at any given time.

7) Technology Enhancements to Equipment

Advanced software technology is making industrial equipment easier to operate and more capable. Take automation, for example. It’s become easier than ever to install, operate and maintain automated systems and move them around within an industrial space as needs change. And with the Internet of Things (IoT) technology finding its way into the industry, it’s getting even easier to monitor equipment from afar. 

What used to require a human presence now has remote capabilities thanks to various sensor technologies. Industrial facilities are also turning toward advanced computer-based control systems that use the information on demand—as well as historical data—to make decisions for themselves rather than relying on operators all of the time. The end result is a more productive system with fewer errors and downtime. If you are new to these trends, you can take help from procurement consulting firms and they will help you in finding the right suppliers who implement these technologies in their manufacturing process.

Bonnie Baldwin