17 Feb 2021 - 1 min read

The Manufacturing Technology You Need to Know About

Scroll Down

From automation and 3D printing, to the ‘Factory of the Future’ and Internet of Things (IoT), manufacturing technology is transforming the face of the industry for the better. 

Covid-19 has forced practically every industry to rethink their ways of working, with technology at the helm of many successful transformations. (In fact, 3D printing was used extensively in 2020 to manufacture protective equipment for use in hospitals amid the pandemic!) Whether a shift towards remote working, increased use of digital comms – or using automation to reduce the number of people on-site – smart, objective-driven technology has allowed businesses all over the world to retain some control during these unprecedented times.

Technology has offered a much-needed lifeline to many sectors and has also opened up a world of new opportunities; from new revenue streams to transforming business operations – and manufacturing is no exception. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unclear post-Brexit landscape, UK manufacturing businesses are not only surviving, but thriving. Is yours ready to do the same?

The core objectives of manufacturing remain the same; managing costs, maintaining quality and maximising productivity. But manufacturing technology is drastically changing how they’re achieved as the sector invests heavily in Research & Development to find smarter, more efficient ways to work. In fact, manufacturers are driving innovation more than any other sector, with R&D in industrial manufacturing reaching $364 billion globally in 2020.

So what tech solutions are offering the biggest opportunities to manufacturers?

3D printing offers a smarter alternative to pricey prototypes…

The concept of 3D printing is nothing new. In fact, it has been a staple process in manufacturing for almost 40 years. But never before has it been so affordable or advanced.

Prototyping with 3D printing offers a cost-effective solution for manufacturers, allowing them to test and troubleshoot new products without a significant investment in time and money.

Prototyping in this way also offers stakeholders the opportunity to physically see, test and feel the product, often making buy-in easier and preventing significant product changes further down the line. What’s more, since 3D printed prototypes can be produced in a matter of hours instead of weeks, businesses can devote more time to testing and evaluating the product, which, in turn, allows them to more easily adjust and optimise the design, as required. It also gives you a low-cost visual of the product concept before large sums of money are invested in its production.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is your key to big data…

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a network of physical objects that are embedded with various technologies, which allow data to be exchanged with other devices and systems via the Internet. Think of the smart devices in our homes; from Amazon’s Alexa to Hive’s smart home suite of technologies; each work by communicating with one another via the internet to share information quickly about Amazon deliveries or enable you to manage aspects of your home remotely.

For manufacturers, the IoT offers a game-changing opportunity. With this tech…

  • Machinery on factory floors becomes instantly connected, consistently monitored and data can be aggregated in real-time. The result is quicker response times, the ability to analyse performance and make necessary changes, reduction in human error and significantly increased productivity, meaning manufacturers can get their products to consumers faster.
  • Customer service within manufacturing can also be significantly improved with IoT. The ability to review how a product is being used by an end-user allows for better, more data-driven remote support to be offered to customers, which contributes to a more efficient and effective overall service.

Maximise productivity with AI and machine-learning… 

By 2022, more than half of manufacturers will have invested in AI technology and improved productivity by over 10%. But what exactly is it? AI (or Artificial Intelligence) uses smart technology to learn how a series of tasks or processes are currently being performed manually within a business, then using that same technology to physically carry out those tasks going forward. The result is reduced human error, improved efficiency, greater consistency and higher productivity.

AI manufacturing technology can be used for quality checks, predictive maintenance, big data insight and much more. This allows manufacturers to entirely streamline their production and development processes, as well as their business and operational ways of working.

Back to Insights

Keep up-to-date with key industry trends and
receive first-hand invitations to our events.

Newsletter Signup