Smart Manufacturing: Definition & Technologies
Smart manufacturing has been the buzzword in many industries. And it is no coincidence! Decision makers have always looked for ways to optimize their processes and get the most throughput with minimal investment. Smart manufacturing has proven to be the way to achieve that. In this blog, we are going to explore how.
What is smart manufacturing?
The National Institute of Standards & Technology provides a definition of smart manufacturing as “fully-integrated, collaborative manufacturing systems that respond in real time to meet changing demands and conditions in the factory, in the supply network, and in customer needs”.
In simpler terms, smart manufacturing merges artificial intelligence and IIoT with real-time data to accommodate the ever-changing needs of businesses. It combines human creativity, machine intelligence, and AI-powered analytics.
The goal of smart manufacturing is to enhance existing manufacturing processes by integrating innovative tools and solutions to achieve manufacturing goals faster and more efficiently.
What are some of the smart manufacturing technologies?
Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
AI and machine learning technologies are leveraged to optimize manufacturing processes, improve product quality and enhance overall efficiency of the manufacturing plant. Manufacturers use AI technology to process and analyze big data sets and then feed that data into machine learning algorithms to process it and output insights that can be used to make better decisions.
Manufacturing data is often complex and diverse. Paired with a custom operations management system, AI has the capability to process and analyze big data sets and generate insights and predictions, which can be used to optimize various aspects of the production process.
5G connectivity is the next generation of wireless network technology. Paired with custom software solutions, 5G holds enormous opportunities for businesses by offering better faster speed internet capable of supporting the advanced requirements of modern manufacturing.
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, offers a range of possibilities for design, prototyping, and production. It allows manufacturers to create prototypes quickly and cost-effectively. It is capable of producing complex geometries while keeping manufacturing waste levels at minimum.
Robotic technology is not new to manufacturing. Robots were first deployed in manufacturing back in 1962 in the USA. In the context of smart manufacturing, robots are used to perform repetitive tasks, to collaborate with humans (cobots), collect and analyze data, as well as to conduct quality control.
Smart manufacturing technologies have revolutionized the way plants and factories operate. They make the production process more cost-effective, optimized and streamlined, resulting in better quality products, increased customer satisfaction and reduced resource utilization.