The current discussion around technology and its impact on the manufacturing sector can be largely attributed to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This refers to how advancements in digital technology such as robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and 3-D printing, bioengineering and quantum computing are changing societies, businesses and individuals’ lives. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers predicts that the revolution will include the coming together of technologies driven by hyper-connectivity and rapid advancements in cyber, cloud and IT.
The manufacturing sector is one that is experiencing a high degree of transformation driven by technological change and this metamorphosis has already begun to show signs of impacting workers employed in the industry to move into more tech-driven, rather than production focused, roles. Technology has also opened up possibilities in manufacturing processes that range from additive manufacturing, which is allowing for the creation of highly complex structures in metal (see our case study with Less Common Metals), to robotics-assisted technology in car production. This has also opened up opportunities in green energy and renewable technology in the agriculture industry via satellite imagery and drones.
Technology has significantly changed business models and supply chains including how products are manufactured. Broadening the impact beyond manufacturing, Industry 4.0 has led to an explosion of innovation with a myriad of applications across different sectors. Apps are now not only becoming the norm but a prerequisite for business survival.
Tech has boosted efficiency and productivity within manufacturing, changed the customer experience, and created an increasingly connected economy. With smart technology advancing business practices, creating new markets and driving economic growth, now is the time to update your systems.