Technology has touched and changed almost every industry. Technological advances have made significant changes and will continue to revolutionize the manufacturing industry. Some advances in technology that are impacting manufacturing include the following:
Automation & Robotics
Automation has made a significant impact on manufacturing and it has become more efficient to use robots to do some jobs that used to be done by people. Although companies are enjoying a higher production rate, this can and has reduced the number of manufacturing jobs. Resources need to be reallocated within manufacturing companies so they maintain a healthy workforce but can still enjoy the benefits of robotics and automation.
Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT is a system of computing devices that are interrelated. These smart devices have unique identifiers and can transfer data over a network. This transfer does not require any human involvement. Some of these relationships help with the actual manufacturing process and others help maintain the physical factories. For instance, IoT technology can be found in wireless IP cameras that are used to monitor the manufacturing property.
Similar to IoT technology, cloud computing allows computers to talk to each other. However, the main difference is that cloud computing takes this functionality to a global stage. It allows computers at multiple manufacturing plants to talk to each other and optimize the manufacturing process.
Maquiladoras in Mexico are partly responsible for the expansion of electronic offshore manufacturing for large manufacturing companies. Some of the necessary components of cloud computing, such as computer CPU and memory chips, network switches and routers to name a few, are either assembled or manufactured in Mexico.
3D printing technology might be relatively new, but it is the up-and-coming technology and can revolutionize many industries, including manufacturing. This technology gives companies the ability to design and create anything and have it quickly printed into a 3D model. This kind of process affects multiple facets of product development, production times, and lead times. It has the ability to make certain aspects of manufacturing more cost effective and more efficient.
Technology is changing the processes and procedures in a significant amount of companies. There will always be companies that deal with as little technology as possible. However, if a business wants to be competitive, especially on a global level, they must embrace technology and make changes to their processes.
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