Market trends

Four elements in factories of the future

| Author / Editor: Ahlam Rais / Ahlam Rais

The factory of the future will witness machines, technologies and humans working alongside each other to optimise production processes.
The factory of the future will witness machines, technologies and humans working alongside each other to optimise production processes. (Source: Deposit Photos)

Robotics, Industrial Internet of Things, cloud computing and additive manufacturing are some of the most demanding technologies that are required for transforming the present factories.

Welcome to the new age smart factory, welcome to the factory of the future.

Here Robotics, Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), cloud computing, additive manufacturing and humans jointly work together on the shop floor to enhance the production processes. It also enables companies to come up with products that are of superior-quality, better efficiency and end-products that are accurately manufactured. Four key elements are included in the futuristic factory that revolves around Industry 4.0:

Robotics

The global market intelligence firm, International Data Corporation (IDC) has stated in a report that by 2020, nearly two-thirds of all work in factories will be completed by collaborative robots while robotics will have five times the capability at one-fifth the cost of what was available a few years back. In addition to this, the International Federation of Robotics predicts that about 1.7 million new robots will transform the world’s factories by 2020.

Currently, luxury brand automobile maker, BMW makes use of robotics in their production lines to increase production and deliver high-quality vehicles in a shorter period of time. Similarly, one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of two wheelers – Bajaj Auto in India makes use of cobots for pick and place applications in its assembly lines. Nowadays, robots are used across numerous sectors to automate production processes. By 2020, the number of robots on the shop floors is expected to grow exceptionally.

IIOT

The IIOT allows machines to connect with each other and exchange information in order to obtain real-time feedback of the production processes. This ensures that production is carried out smoothly and also helps to detect defects or problems so that through early maintenance the issue is solved. Reducing costs and down time are also added advantages of this solution.

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Given the importance of the technology, last year, some of the leading industrial and software companies in Germany including DMG MORI, Dürr Software, ZEISS as well as ASM PT established ADAMOS (ADAptive Manufacturing Open Solutions), a strategic alliance for future topics of Industry 4.0 and IIoT. The open IIoT platform brings together the most up-to-date IT technology and industry knowledge. It helps companies to offer solutions for digitally networked production to their customers. The platform also offers data autonomy and access to leading software solutions. More of such collaborations will ensure a smoother transition of the industry.

Cloud computing

Through cloud computing, accessing data is easy and convenient across sites and even countries. This technology is helping manufacturers innovate, reduce costs and also increase their competitiveness. Cloud computing transforms the processes in the manufacturing space and it is estimated that about 25 % of the inputs that go into manufacturing a product come from this technology.

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Additive manufacturing

Further, the factories of the future will incorporate additive manufacturing also known as 3D printing to produce customised along with complex and intricate solutions at the shop floor. Initially, this technology was used to create only prototypes but now it has gone a step ahead to produce fully operational parts too. Smart factories will also incorporate this technology as it is cost-effective and products made from additive manufacturing are light in weight. This is currently one of the big disruptive technologies which the global market is witnessing.

With the market already implementing all these elements in their factories to have an edge over their competitors, the smart factory of the future is happening right now! These technologies will take full charge of the shop floors across the globe.

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