The future we’ve all waited for and saw in movies is moving close. Getting consistent new technological accomplishments and breakthroughs, ranging from new machines that make manufacturing simpler, and new 3D printers that can collaborate with various materials to complex robotics systems, it appears as that sci-fi future has arrived.

Since “Lights out manufacturing” don’t need human supervision, they don’t need lighting and can comprise a few machines functioning in the dark.

While this may seem like science fiction, these sorts of factories have been a reality for over 15 years.

As industrial technology grows progressively inescapable, this wave of digitization and automation is being known as “Industry 4.0,” in the fourth industrial revolution.

Be that as it may, would you be able to imagine how these futuristic factories and manufacturing will look only a couple of years from now? 

Let’s discuss the technologies that will greatly affect factories and offer an open-minded perspective on what they will resemble in the near future.

The implementation of collaborative robots
Despite the fact that robots aren’t actually a new sight in factories, there are continually new and innovative ways in which they are utilized. In the first place, robots were intended to deal with a single part of the process and do repetitive tasks yet now, with cutting-edge programming software and safety mechanisms, robots are cooperating with humans on production lines.

These collaborative robots, which are at times known as cobots, are machines designed to work with and assist human workers. They cannot just handle repetitive jobs to increase productivity, improve consistency, and minimize error, however, can assist humans to be more productive too. Simultaneously, factory employees have more opportunity to work on creative tasks and get progressively associated with the process.

Fully automated manufacturing
The entire manufacturing industry has improved different times with regards to adopting and perfecting different technologies, including automation. Repeatable procedures are showing signs of improvement and better and are being utilized in different aspects of work. Notwithstanding, automation is far from great and there is still a chance for improvement.

Simultaneously, more factories are automating their procedures, as there are many despite everything falling behind on executing these technologies. By 2020, the number of industrial robots will reach 3 million, which is practically double than the existing number.

The growth trends are obvious and all factories require automating their processes if they need to compete. This is the reason we can project completely automated factories should turn into a standard in the near future.

AI and robots
The breakthrough of artificial intelligence has permitted us to enhance factory robots and give them increasingly complex capabilities. AI has given factory robots environmental awareness and cutting-edge cognitive programmability, permitting them to adapt comparably to employees, reenact human behaviour, and investigate it.

Each of these improvements has led to increased productivity and manufacturing proficiency, as robots don’t need assistance to deal with all the mundane, repetitive, and technical tasks. Robots have a superior understanding of their tasks and how to deal with them properly without “getting confused”. Simultaneously, human employees are allowed to work on sophisticated parts of production.

Robotic automation can be utilized across industries by numerous types and sizes of manufacturing businesses. Here’s the reason:

  • Robotics Are Scalable
    • Robots are utilized in high production, high volume environments and can likewise scale down to be utilized in growing organizations. Modern robots can be utilized in low- to medium-volume manufacturing environments. Thanks to recent advancements, they can be customized and set up for new tasks rapidly. Mobile bases permit them to be utilized in numerous areas of manufacturing facilities.

 

  • Robots Are Easy to Program
    • One no longer needs to learn complex programming languages to educate robots. Modern robots can be educated by two simple methods. The primary method, offline programming, lets a user model a work area, or complete cell, and build up the sequence of moves for a task.
    • The second way robots can be instructed is with a teach pendant. An engineer or programmer basically guides the robot through a sequence of steps. With some fine-tuning, the instructions are put away. The robot goes through the program gradually to check for collisions with humans or objects. After various successful test runs, the robot can operate at full speed.

 

  • Robotics Save Money & Time
    • Robots were initially being utilized in the industry in the mid-1960s. Since then they’ve made considerable progress. Robots would now be able to be installed in less time and for less expense than in previous decades. Increased sales have seen prices come down drastically. Built-in best in class facilities, robots include quality enhancements and regulated safety benchmarks that translate to savings on unscheduled downtime and labour costs. Robots can likewise work 24/7, expanding production minimizing downtime.

 

  • Robotics Create More Jobs
    • Numerous manufacturers have needed to send jobs offshore since they couldn’t compete with low-cost foreign labour. Robotic automation currently lets manufacturing compete by making more jobs in robotics and related fields.
    • Programming, engineering, end-effector design, data analysts, robot manufacturing, operators, and systems integration are totally required. Humans are expected to help service the machines. Robots permit manufacturers to bring down costs and bring jobs back to the United States, bringing about more jobs for U.S. workers. Robots likewise protect workers from doing mundane, repetitive, and risky tasks that could negatively affect their ability to work.
    • Robotic automation offers manufacturers growing chances to save on costs, improve production, and stay competitive. The ROI can equal growth that not only double profits as well as creates jobs for community and investment funds for customers.

 

What does the future of factories hold?
To answer this, we brought a deep dive into 8 unique steps of the manufacturing process, to see how they are beginning to change:

 

Product R&D
A gander at how platforms are democratizing R&D ability, the manner in which AI is helping materials science, and how the drafting board of tomorrow could be a VR or AR headset.

Organizations are exploring 3D printing, robotics, and artificial intelligence as roads to improve the R&D procedure and decrease uncertainty when going into production. Be that as it may, the process of hypothesis testing has the opportunity to get better improvement, and fixing iteration time will translate to quicker and better discoveries.

3D printing and Robotics improves product development across many verticals.

Accelerating product development is the #1 priority for organizations utilizing 3D printing, as per the recent industry survey.

In addition, most 3D printing use is aimed at prototyping new technology.

3D printing is as of now a staple in any design studio. Before ordering a large number of physical parts, designers can use 3D printing to see what a future item looks like.

Essentially, robotics is automating the physical procedure of experimentation over a wide array of verticals.

Utilizing automatic pipette systems and robotics arms, liquid handling robots allow high-throughput experimentation to show up at a winning combination quicker and with a less human mistake.

Resource Planning & Sourcing
On-demand decentralized manufacturing and blockchain ventures are taking a shot on the complexities of integrating suppliers.

Assembly lines today are so lean they’re incorporating an almost real-time inflow of parts and collecting them as quickly as they arrive. Honda’s UK-based assembly factory, for instance, just keeps one hour’s worth of parts all set. After Brexit, the organization reported longer hold ups for incoming parts at the border and said that every 15-minute delay means £850,000 every year.

Blockchain for resource tracking
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software tracks resource allocation from raw material acquirement right through customer relationship management (CRM).

However, a manufacturing business can have such a huge number of different ERP systems and siloed data that, unexpectedly, the ERP “stack” would itself be able to turn into a tangled mess of cobbled-together software.

In fact, a 2017 PwC report found that numerous large industrial manufacturers have around 100 diverse ERP systems.

Distributed ledger technologies (DLT) and Blockchain projects intend to unite data from an organization’s different processes and stakeholders into a universal data structure. Many corporate pioneers are piloting blockchain projects, frequently explicitly meaning to reduce the unpredictability and disparities of their siloed databases.

Operations Technology Monitoring & Machine Data
A gander at the IT stack and platforms fueling future factories. In the first place, factories will get essential digitization, and further along, we’ll see more prominent predictive power.

As per lean manufacturing metrics (estimated by overall equipment adequacy, or OEE), world-class manufacturing sites are working at 85% of their hypothetical limit. However, the average factory is just at about 60%, which means there’s a huge opportunity to get better improvement regarding how activities are streamlined.

For manufacturers, the OT stack ordinarily incorporates:

  • Connected manufacturing equipment (frequently with retrofitted industrial IoT sensors)
  • Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems and human-machine interfaces (HMI), which give modern monitoring for operations analysts
  • Programmable logic controllers (PLCs), the ruggedized computers that snatch information on factory machines
  • 3D printers and computer numerical control (CNC) machines for subtractive manufacturing 
  • In a way, OT and IT are different sides to a similar tech stack token, and as manufacturing improves digitized, the boundaries will keep on blurring.

 

Labor Augmentation & Management

Wearables, AR, and exoskeletons are enlarging human capabilities on the factory floor.

Notwithstanding being a hands-free “browser” that can impart factory performance indicators and appoint work, AR can break down complicated machine environments and utilize computer vision to outline a machine’s parts, similar to a real-time visual manual. This makes profoundly skilled labour like field service a “downloadable” skill.

 

Machining, Production & Assembly

Custom machines and modular equipment such as 3D printers are empowering manufacturers to deal with more prominent demand for variety.

Visions for Industry 4.0 include a totally intelligent factory where networked machines and products communicate through IoT technology, and not just prototype and assemble a particular series of products, yet additionally, repeat on those products based on customer feedback and predictive data.

Presently, mass-production is as of now refashioning itself to deal with consumer demand for noteworthy customization and variety. Nearly 90% of automakers in a 2016 

BCG study said they expect a modular line setup will be applicable in the final gathering by 2030. Modular equipment will permit more models to fall off similar lines.

Quality Assurance (QA)
A gander at how computer vision will discover imperfections, and how blockchain tech and the software will more rapidly have the option to identify issues.

 

Warehousing:
New warehouse demand could bring “lights-out” warehouses significantly quicker than an unmanned factory, with the assistance of visual tracking and robotics.

Transport & Supply Chain Management:
IoT, Telematics, and autonomous vehicles will bring more noteworthy proficiency and granularity for manufacturers delivering their products.

Conclusion
Manufacturing is becoming increasingly effective, customized, modular, and automated. Yet, factories remain in transition. Manufacturers are called slow adopters of technology, and many may oppose making new ventures. In any case, as digitization turns into the new standard in the industry, competitive pressures will heighten the inventive to evolve.

The most remarkable levers manufacturers can pull will come if they apply AI, robotics, and basic IoT digitization. More extravagant data and smart robotics will expand a factory’s output while limiting expense and defects. At the unmanned factory in Dongguan, utilizing robotics dropped the deformity rate from 25% to under 5%.

A majority of US manufacturers, in a study led by BCG, said that lower automation costs have made the US progressively competitive.

Manufacturing is profoundly changing with new technology, and almost every manufacturing vertical — from electronics to cars, to pharmaceuticals — is implicated. The technologies and timelines will differ by sector, yet most steps in nearly each vertical will see improvement.

 

According to Henry Ford: “If you always do what you generally did, you’ll always get what you always got.” To reach its maximum capacity, the manufacturing industry should continue grasping new technology.