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How Technology Is Changing Manufacturing (For The Better) In the U.S.

4 minute read - Posted by Daniel Wagstaff on Feb 1, 2019 6:00:00 AM

Technological advances are one of the main reasons for changes, updates and improvements in companies throughout all industries, in all corners of the world. Swift and impressive developments are leaving their marks on anything from marketing to senior living, and all other industries in between. What does that mean for industries like manufacturing that are shaping our economy?

The manufacturing industry is currently one of the most powerful industries in the U.S. driving 11.6% of the economic output in 2018, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. With a large portion of the economy and a significant number of jobs dependent on manufacturing, it is of utmost importance to pay attention to how this industry develops during these times of great technological progress.

What Does Technology Look Like in the Manufacturing Industry?

Before better understanding the impact of technology in manufacturing and how it can significantly improve the overall activity of your business, you need to have a clear idea of what technology means in the industry. How do new developments manifest themselves beyond their theoretical stance? Are there more types of technologies a manufacturing plant can implement? Knowing the answers to these questions will provide you with the knowledge you need not only to further understand how technology is changing manufacturing for the better in the U.S., but also how to use technology for avoiding downtime and maintaining a culture of safety.

Major Technological Breakthroughs in the Industry

Manufacturing technology is providing the necessary tools for the drafting and production of all goods belonging to the manufacturing industry. Yet nowadays, technology does a lot more than facilitate the production of goods. Whether we are talking about the food/beverage sector, the production of drilling equipment, or medical devices, or any other sector of the manufacturing industry, we will not find an area that has not been impacted by modern technology. Going beyond what our idea of technology in manufacturing is – a machine generating a product – today we are seeing the fruitful outcomes of advanced tools and strategies that are improving the industry as a whole.

Technologies such as 3D printing, embedded metrology, cloud computing, robotics, augmented reality, the Internet of Things, or nanotechnology are changing the industry with rapidity and high effectiveness. But how?

How Technology Is Changing Manufacturing (For The Better) In the U.S.

A few years ago, we’ve started seeing examples of how modern technology can improve the overall activities of businesses from all industries, such as the company that developed a way of assisting farmers in monitoring and measuring their crops with the help of data and satellite imagery. The case is not singular, as manufacturing has been seeing the benefits of developments such as driverless trucks, smart lighting, wearable technology, automated packaging, production prototyping, and many others.

Being part of the changes taking place is both exiting and intriguing given the fact that there are still a lot of aspects of manufacturing that have not been perfectly updated to amend the use of modern technology. Understanding how technology works, what it can do for your company, and how to implement it will give you a competitive edge and help you establish a name in the industry.

Data, The Internet of Things and Augmented Reality

Amongst the most interesting technological developments that are currently impacting manufacturing, these three benefit from global attention as they represent a significantly spectacular part of modern technology. People are in awe of what can be done with technologies that until recently seemed to only belong in the world of IT and new media. But customer demand made it possible for technology to impact sectors in the manufacturing industry, such as computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) which helps manufacturers replace traditional methods that were slowing down their activities.

Big Data offers a wide range of possibilities when to comes to connecting various processes of the production system, and creating thoroughly records with important information. In the past, manufacturers had to rely on pen and paper when it came to tracking, feedback, or communicating between departments. With the help of technology, all those activities have been digitalized and even automated, when possible, thus considerably improving the effectiveness of the manufacturing process.

Augmented reality has been used with tremendous results in activities such as prototyping, identifying unsafe machinery and equipment, visualizing a product, improving safety training, and many others.

Technology in the Service of Better Communication Strategies

When it comes to communicating in the manufacturing industry, whether we are talking about internal communications or communications in the event of a crisis or emergency, technology has changed things for the better. Not only for the process as a whole, but for distinct branches of communication, such as in the case of training sessions, maintenance programs, and more. Communicating technologies and strategies can help your manufacturing plan maintain a culture of safety by improving its health and safety procedures, but also increase productivity by connecting employees.

Having a mass notification system in place will improve your overall activity, change the way employees communicate with each other, reduce downtime, assure business continuity, and most importantly, help you minimize the damages in care of an emergency.

Technology is here to stay, and that is a great thing, because its impact on the manufacturing industry has been tremendously positive, and will keep improving as more and more manufacturers understand its benefits. Embracing technology and implementing the necessary changes to accommodate it is one of the best business decisions you can take for your company at the moment. A decision that will not only improve the relationship with your employees, but it will also help you increase sales, and become an authority figure in the manufacturing industry.

On a final note, don’t forget to draft a plan on how you are going to be using new technologies based on what your manufacturing plant needs improving, and on what features need to be added for an increase in safety and productivity. Whether you are interested in augmented reality, automating your processes, improving your database, or upgrading your communications strategies, make sure that you are considering all aspects and choosing solutions that are full-featured and in compliance with industry regulators.