The fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0, is here. It is revolutionizing manufacturing by offering manufacturers new opportunities. These include using information technology (IT) and advanced manufacturing capabilities through the lifecycle of a product.

This has helped manufacturers benefit in many ways. These benefits include increased visibility in operations, significant cost savings, improved production times, and the ability to provide superior customer support.

The most important trends in the digital manufacturing industry for 2020 are found here.

Customer-Centric Manufacturing

The theory of supply and demand is still true in manufacturing. However, OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) have been slow to adapt to changing customer demand.

Some manufacturing companies are stuck in the “age of the product.” They allow cost concerns to dictate production rather than customer experience. Most manufacturers are delivering products that are “engineering-led,” and that follow a “ship and forget” approach to customer interactions.

This is changing. Traditionally, manufacturing workflows treat customers as appendages. They are only considered at the final stage of a production process.

Today, smart factories are reworking this to include their customers earlier. This makes the manufacturing process customer-centric. Now, customer’s demands dictate what and when processes are scheduled.

The pattern is expected to gain more traction in 2020. An increase in the specificity of customer demand also means fragmentation of the production process. This will cause smaller runs that provide more specialty products being commonplace.

The Increase of the Digital Supply Network

A traditional supply chain follows a linear format. They follow the same pattern which includes:

  • Design
  • Plan
  • Source
  • Make
  • Deliver

All parts of the process are restricted regarding where information is sourced. This means data intelligence comes from only one or two links. This is what determines the next steps in the manufacturing pipeline.

The DSN – digital supply network – is one where data forms the digital core of the network. It informs all links on the supply chain in real-time. With the DSN more agile and smart, factories using data from all sources can drive production and replenishment.

The data from all the nodes are transparent. This enables intelligent decisions about the next steps that weren’t available in the past. The digital interdependencies will continue to evolve in 2020.

A Move to Machine Learning

AI will play a significant role in manufacturing. It will ensure that performance data is used to create intelligent models proactively. This will serve as predictive maintenance in asset management and inventory management.

For example, information and data about failure models are sent into neural networks. These can “learn” from previous behavior history to course-correct in real-time. Over time, they become more intelligent.

The Evolution of Digital Manufacturing

As digital manufacturing continues to evolve, it is essential that manufacturers keep up with the changes. For some, this can be challenging.

Do you need help adopting the latest trends? Or adapting your processes to the latest technology? If so, contact us. Our team can help with all aspects of digital manufacturing.

 

Randy Mingee, Vice President of Sales
Email: randy.mingee@r3d.com
Phone: (440) 889-9933