Businesses all over the world are always on the lookout for technologies that will fine tune their manufacturing processes. This is especially true whenever a global hurdle impedes manufacturing. In the previous year, the coronavirus pandemic decreased manufacturing around the world by 6 percent. Companies both large and small are eager for any advancement that could be able to bring their manufacturing numbers back up to pre-pandemic levels.
Thankfully, researchers and like-minded people are providing manufacturers and companies with the scientific advancements they need to restore the economy. Below are 4 cutting-edge technologies that could represent the next level for manufacturing processes worldwide.
The mechanization of industries and the integration of robotics into manufacturing isn’t as sudden as you may think. Different forms of robots have been increasingly used in assembly lines and factories over the bast three decades. The first robots used in manufacturing where simple machines that just mechanized certain processes, like robot arms or automated devices. Over time, factories and companies realized they needed machines that didn’t just work hard but work smart as well.
For years, there has been much debate on whether robotics will cause unemployment. However, new robots are designed not to replace human labor but to supplement it and make the lives of workers much easier. Today, sophisticated programming and advanced mechanics have allowed factories to create collaborative robots. These machines are designed to harmoniously work with human operators and employees. This union of man and machine can allow manufacturers to increase their outputs without jeopardizing human jobs or safety.
- 3D Manufacturing
Despite the advances in manufacturing, companies and factories still have a hard time directly replicating detailed or finely made objects. Mass manufacturing processes are geared for making countless parts with low details. But with more and more products becoming sophisticated, companies need ways to produce these parts on demand without sacrificing their small details. This is where 3D printing comes in.
3D printers are prized by technicians and engineers all over the world for their ability to create custom-made designs in a variety of high-quality plastic polymers. These machines receive designs which are carefully created on computers. Thanks to their programming and mechanisms, 3D printers can seamlessly replicate these designs down to their minute details. The quality of these printouts can be exquisite and some of them can be made with incredibly resistant materials. Some people have made 3D printed crescent wrenches to small fine parts for delicate machinery.
As products begin to become increasingly more sophisticated, manufacturers have found that they all need to make them more durable. Not to mention that some of these components, especially those used in computers and similar electronic devices, are particularly tiny. Some electronic components are even approaching microscopic sizes. Hence, the need to integrate nanotechnology with large-scale manufacturing processes.
Nanotechnology is the scientific discipline concerned with creating objects at a microscopic level. Some products created by nanotechnology may revolutionize medicine, computing and manufacturing. One of the best achievements in this field is carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes are carbon molecules arranged into single layer sheets of atoms. This creates a substance that is surprisingly strong while remaining light and versatile. A sheet of carbon nanotubes has a tensile strength 400 times better than that of stainless steel. It can also be six times lighter than steel, despite being the stronger substance. Because it’s made of graphite, carbon nanotubes are highly resistant to corrosion. These properties make them ideal for any number of manufacturing options.
Over the years, more and more manufacturing processes have integrated advanced computer systems into their mechanics. Some of these computers are in charge of keeping products moving, checking the quality of the product or ensuring the machinery isn’t overheating. Some have more complex roles, from keeping chemicals level to even organizing the acquisition of all components necessary for the product they’re manufacturing. Because of this high level of computerization and digital technology involved in manufacturing, cybersecurity is no longer an option for many manufacturers.
Without adequate cybersecurity measures, hackers and other digital hoodlums can access classified schematics. Some can even hijack the control over vital machinery or sabotage the products in the assembly line. Firewalls and similar digital protections ensure that a factory or company won’t have to worry that their machinery or computers won’t fall victim to such interference.
Manufacturers are always moving forward, aiming to generate more profit and provide customers with the products they want. These technological advancements can change everything about the consumer process and cause ripples throughout history.