As a manufacturer, it is important for you to understand and realize what innovation potential the industry still has.
While the terms 'innovation potential' and 'manufacturing industry' might not always sound like a good combination, all thoughts in your head right now can be summed up in two sentences:
Manufacturing is among those few industries that continue to grow throughout the various stages of the economic cycle of the market.
As per an article by Dave Prager on artificial intelligence (AI) and manufacturing, manufacturing accounts for approximately 15% of the global GDP and amounts to roughly $12 trillion in yearly revenues. And that is HUGE.
In Dave’s words,
“Manufacturing is so big, in fact, that it’s strategic at a national level. India wants to add 100M manufacturing jobs by 2025. China wants to increase the domestic content of core materials to 70% by 2025. The U.S. has a national plan to secure its manufacturing future. And Germany literally invented the phrase “Industry 4.0.”
That, right there, is reason enough why manufacturing accounts for 15% of the global GDP.
With the inclusion of complex, new tasks and procedures in manufacturing every single day, it is imperative that you are on your best in order to win the game.
As a complex, dynamic industry, manufacturing faces and poses a lot of problems. These problems could be of the machines or of the human resources employed.
There are 250K industrial robots added annually to the manufacturing industry around the world, that is, there are approximately 1.5 million of them in the industry at the present date. Economists from the National Bureau of Economic Research had estimated that one robot would displace around six jobs. But with 345 million people working globally in manufacturing, new robots are displacing less than 1% of the workforce a year.
Also, as manufacturing becomes more and more complex with every passing day, the chances for worries and their repercussions are on the rise too.
Drishti’s research with A.T. Kearney shows that humans still perform 72% of the tasks inside of a factory while creating 68% of the defects. All of these are reasons enough why the inclusion of AI in manufacturing is being considered.
Now, you might wonder, how does this combination of AI and manufacturing supplement the dream of India becoming a $5 trillion economy?
In the words of Indradev Babu, President, Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association (IMTMA),
“India to achieve $5 trillion economy and manufacturing sector contributing $1 trillion, we need to embrace automation and Industry 4.0 technologies.”
Now more than ever, with the ever-competing market, it is important that your services stand out. Similar service providers exist in huge numbers in the market, but not everyone can consume huge rewards for competitive edge in this technology-driven age.
With growing PLCs' and DCSs', factories produce a lot of data. Each resource equipped on a shop-floor is producing data of its own. They work with data and produce even more data. And that is what AI requires, making factories its best home. In addition to analyzing data, AI also helps to find outliers from your data that might hamper the process.
Employment of AI in manufacturing has revolutionized how mass-production takes place. Robotics Arms, Sensors, Pyrometers etc. have all made monotonous yet critical jobs much faster and reliable. AI provides the industry with automation solutions, eliminating human error and improved quality of your product(s).
As robots replace humans, there would no longer be any need for you to employ hundreds of workers in three different shifts for the same task that could be done by a smaller group of robots that can work 24×7.
Robots replacing humans to perform normal and risky activities would highly reduce the number of workplace accidents. In heavy industries, such as Iron and Steel, safety is always a prime concern. Modern day equipment's have diminished human exposure to critical areas and reduced accidents by half.
Critical decisions about production runs, inventory management etc. are all based on data analysis solved for by ERPs. With AI, these analysis will be more reliable, fast and would help you to make credible decisions, determined on the basis of the data.
As compared to the ROI, the capital invested to install AI and robots in your company would be a small amount. As automated machines become your new workforce, the operating costs would reduce considerably in the long run and enhance productivity.
As AI develops a strong foothold in the industry by managing both the manufacturing process as well as the inventories, all with reduced costs, it would be no surprise if it changes the whole industry drastically in the matter of a few years.
But, in order to maximize their ROI, the manufacturing sector must also be prepared.
They would need to be accepting and accommodating towards organized manufacturing plants where supply chain, design team, production line, and quality control are all coordinated into an intelligent engine that provides rapid and data-determined solutions.
In simpler terms, if Industry 4.0 technologies like automation are used to their maximum potential in manufacturing, the industry could easily amount to $1 trillion in the coming future. Which would, in turn, help the country achieve its goal of becoming $5 trillion economy sooner than anticipated.
Laeba Haider is an adept content developer with a history of working with various technology companies. She is also a digital marketing enthusiast and an avid technology buff.