The age of manufacturing is moving past the dusty, oversized, broken-down warehouse located on the edge of town and into industrial 4.0. This new technological revolution is changing the way manufacturing operates within the digital sphere. Nowadays, manufacturers can track production status, machine functionality and operational flow with sensors, automation and wireless IIoT solutions. That’s why this week’s top news is dedicated to manufacturing of today and tomorrow, realizing this industry is evolving with the digital revolution.

This is an exciting time for manufacturing, with more innovation integration happening across the board than in the last twenty years. As the IIoT starts to take center stage in many shop floors, new digital upgrades will require a new plan of action to deploy wireless pilot projects for automation and control.

Now with the rise of smart machines in manufacturing, this industry has to shift from a product oriented world to a services market.  Sensors that tell you why it is not working or machines ordering products independently when supplies run low are all examples of this new industry 4.0 revolution in action. Naturally this technological movement began in Germany back in 2011, where twenty-two percent of their GDP comes from manufacturing, this compared to only twelve percent of the GDP in the US.

Although, a recent report by Cisco finds that the majority of manufacturers are not capitalizing on this digital push. It is true most manufacturers do see the importance of the digital transformation on their shop floors, but the problem comes with the implementation of those new technologies without disrupting the current production process. As manufacturers digitize, it is vital to first find the correct infrastructure to implement the IIoT, and then to adapt a new model to incorporate the technology to the main business plan.

So what does the future hold for manufacturing? As some companies adapt to this digital age, it is true manufacturing can now create digital prototypes, use 3D printers and operate remotely with sensors and wireless monitoring. Being able to collect data in real-time utilizing cloud-based IIoT solutions will be the key to succeeding in manufacturing going forward.

Yet, according to Information Age 2016 top predictions, “Manufacturers will have to start thinking and acting more like software companies, leveraging the software applications they build into their products as a driver to reduce manufacturing costs, increase product innovation, and capture new revenue streams.”

Furthermore, IoT, data analytics, cloud, and other wireless technologies have the potential to drastically improve manufacturing. The trick, as we march to the beat of this new technological revolution, will be to look at examples of how early adaptors have grasped the IIoT. It’s understandable with everyone shouting about the IIoT, it is easy to get overwhelmed. So stop thinking about all things connected and focus on what infrastructure will support your growing digital needs on the shop floor, and then your plan of action will seem a bit more manageable.

Hope you enjoy this week’s reading. As always, tell us what we missed!

Enabling Manufacturing Transformation with the IIoT (PTC)

This push for IIoT is transforming the way manufacturing operates and functions as a whole. PTC suggests that, “As these innovations and pilot projects begin to emerge as broadly deployed best practices, the industry will start to see the emergence of business model transformation and the visions of Industries 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing will start to become a reality.”

Factory-worker in hard-hat looking at factory floor

Machine Learning (The Economist)

As manufacturing becomes digitized, the industry has to adjust from being a product focused world to a services market, with smart machines installed on the shop floor. The Economist believes that, “For many manufacturers—in Germany and beyond—the principal sticking-point in making this digital leap is often cultural.”

Survey: Manufacturers’ Digital, Service Capabilities Lagging (Manufacturing.net)

Manufacturers see the need for adding more digital components to the shop floor, but recent CISCO report finds that many manufacturers are still not capitalizing fully on the IIoT. “One challenge is on the technology side, making sure that the right infrastructure is provided,” said Dirk Slama of Bosch Software Innovations. “The second challenge I would see is more on the organizational level, to make sure that you somehow help your organization move towards these new business models.”

The Factory Future (Manufacturing Today)

The future of manufacturing will depend on the industries abilities to incorporate real-time results with their wireless IIoT solutions. Manufacturing Today has stated that, “More manufacturing will need to be able to harness all that data via the cloud to meet demands from customers and potentially legislators to fully track the entire lifecycle of their products—from creation to disposal of ideally recycling.”

Manufacturing’s Digital Future (Industry Week)

The digital future of manufacturing will incorporate the data analytics, cloud and many other wireless IoT solutions. Industry Week believes that, “Many companies are leveraging interconnectivity to improve their own factory productivity, the factory-floor blocking and tackling of reducing downtime, cutting costs, reducing cycle time, improving OEE, etc.

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