Like all industries, the manufacturing industry is in the midst of technological disruption.
It’s a time when no manufacturer wants to look at the previous year in hindsight and lament about what they could have done differently. The first step towards getting all of the significant transformations besetting the manufacturing industry in the coming decade is familiarizing yourself with all the major technologies at play.
Here are the three coolest and most game-changing things that are happening to the manufacturing industry in 2020:
Industrial wearables are revolutionizing the workplace
Wearables in manufacturing environments continue to see high levels of interest and market momentum. Although industrial wearables account for a very small portion of the overall market, their share is projected to grow in the next few years. According to a MarketWatch report, the industrial wearable segment is expected to exceed $2.6 billion by 2023.
A wide variety of manufacturers are conducting trials with a diverse set of wearable devices across multiple use cases. Some of the wearable devices for manufacturing applications include smart glasses, smartwatches, wearable cameras, smart helmets, smart caps, GPS-enabled bracelets, fitness trackers, body sensors, and smart clothing, etc. The following are the notable benefits that should motivate you to invest in industrial wearables for your workforce:
- Increased workplace productivity: Insights obtained from the devices can help operators make decisions that can minimize manufacturing lifecycles and maximize production.
- Improved workplace safety: Wearables can warn operators of potential risk factors, such as the presence of hazardous substances, extreme temperatures, or excessive noise levels, etc. They can also provide emergency alerts to workers when a dangerous situation is imminent, preventing them from getting injured.
- Improved wellbeing: Fitness trackers and smartwatches can help to track and provide evidence of the wellbeing of the workers. Also, the use of smart clothes can help to notify operators when they are at risk of an injury due to poor posture, improper lifting, etc.
Industrial exoskeletons are easing manual labor tasks
Industrial exoskeletons are projected to be the “next big thing” to take over the manufacturing industry. These wearable robots are designed for supporting manual labor tasks in manufacturing environments. They include:
- Full body exoskeletons – These are the most powerful types of exoskeletons. They support the entire body, making it easy for operators to perform repetitive motions with ease.
- Upper extremity exoskeletons – They provide support to the upper body, including the shoulders, arms, and upper torso.
- Lower extremity exoskeletons – They provide support to the lower part of the body, including the hips and legs.
The main benefit of using exoskeletons is that they reduce ergonomics issues, which are some of the major causes of musculoskeletal injuries in industrial workplaces.
Augmented reality is expediting operations
Another technology that is already creating a buzz in the manufacturing industry is Augmented Reality (AR). When it comes to using AR in manufacturing, the possibilities are endless. The following are some of the ways augmented reality is making an impact in the manufacturing industry:
- It helps operators access data easily from the company’s back-end enterprise resource planning system, enabling them to carry out tasks quickly and accurately
- It helps operators to identify flaws quickly, enabling them to prevent production downtime from occurring.
- It results in efficient operations by minimizing production downtime by identifying issues quickly and keeping all the processes going.
As technology continues to grow and evolve, manufacturers should keep on re-evaluating whether they should or should not invest in the latest industrial trends and offerings. Since mistakes are bound to be made along the way, the best course of action would be to think big, but start small. Also, we are here to help if you need help with any of these changes.