Manufacturing is contending with a raft of challenges – supply chain pressures, increasing consumer demands, a growing skills gap and the unprecedented pace of technology change, but despite these headwinds, the industry continues to grow globally.
Adopting and leveraging Industry 4.0 technologies provide the opportunity for companies to not just manage, but thrive in this world of uncertainty, and raise quality, super-charge productivity, innovate, close the skills gap and make manufacturing more sustainable.
The latest digital technology that continues to grow strongly in the engineering and manufacturing landscape is artificial intelligence (AI) – one of the buzzwords for 2023 – with the launch of ChatGPT chatbot a big reason.
AI is something that many industry observers believe could offer huge potential across industry, but it also sends a chill down the spines of many, due to the potential negative impact that it might have on industry, like taking on tasks that workers can do and so reducing workforces.
Technology experts say AI in manufacturing can contribute to growth of companies in different ways. It can help predict quality and output, predict maintenance requirements and schedules, human-robot interfaces, generate custom-made designs, market adaptation strategies and value addition in supply chains.
Machine learning (ML), a branch of AI, is at present, the mostly-widely used application in manufacturing, enabling companies to modulate the production process and enhance quality.
Over the last few months, there has been some interesting AI developments with new tools launched utilising AI and upgrages to other software with AI giving new functionalities. Whatever your opinion of AI, it looks set to be a fundamental part of the way components and parts are manufactured in machine shops in the years ahead.