The Growing Use of Technology in Manufacturing

Advancements in technology are quickly changing the landscape of virtually every industry, especially that of manufacturing. We now have technology like additive manufacturing, computerized maintenance systems, digital twins, Programmable Logic Controller devices, automation integration, and artificial intelligence, all making the manufacturing process easier if used correctly. It can also help current manufacturing processes become more effective by having industrial equipment like hooked up to certain tech systems so they can run smoothly — those interested in this can learn more by conducting an online search. Anyway, coming back to the topic, we will discuss some of the most important technological tools and solutions that can come in handy in the manufacturing industry. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) are computerized devices that hold the utmost significance in the manufacturing industry. There are several essential plc components that work together in order to control and automate processes. The main components of a typical PLC system include a CPU and memory, power supply, Input/Output (I/O) modules, and a communication interface. Programmable Logic Controllers offer an efficient and reliable means of controlling and automating various manufacturing processes. They can be used in a wide range of manufacturing applications, including production machinery, assembly lines, quality control, and packaging systems. Here we have illustrated the use of PLCs in controlling and coordinating the operation of multiple machines and equipment on a production line. These devices can ensure synchronization, timing, and proper sequencing of processes, thereby optimizing efficiency and reducing errors. Aside from this, PLCs can also be utilized for process control in manufacturing. They can help regulate variables such as flow rates, temperature, and pressure in industrial processes. This results in improved product quality and consistency of the manufactured products.

Through software integration, businesses across the world have been able to consolidate data under one roof, thereby reducing the need to maintain paper records to access data, assign tasks, conduct maintenance checks, and streamline other operations. Management software has also improved aggregate planning by enabling managers to derive accurate demand-forecast fluctuations.

Similarly, by allotting a Computerized Maintenance Management System, or a CMMS software into the workflow, businesses are able to produce accurate analytical reports. This contributes to the smoothening out of manufacturing processes, proper accountability, and quality validation of inspection processes. There is also an increase in efficiency of work, improved asset and work order visibility, better inventory control, and an improvement in workplace health and safety.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is another area that is having a tremendous impact on manufacturers. With IoT technology, devices and machinery can “talk” to each other in real-time. For example, if a problem arises with a piece of equipment, other devices on the network are informed so that any necessary adjustments can be made immediately.

IIoT goes hand-in-hand with artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence, or AI, is being used in a variety of ways, including detecting whether employees are wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as for predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance is a proactive approach. It takes a more real-time, data-driven approach to identifying the potential for issues very early on. Predictive maintenance with the help of AI, takes measurements from machine operations as they are occurring and uses this data to raise red flags when indications of a problem are noted. Unplanned downtime and reactive maintenance are productivity destroyers for your facility, yet almost all maintenance is, by necessity, reactive. Predictive maintenance practices, however, can change that situation, making it even easier for you to be proactive and to make more informed decisions about what inventory to keep on hand. Data sensors and monitors can help you understand which equipment is more likely to need maintenance or replacement parts in the nearer future, making ordering decisions less of a guessing game and more of a data-backed methodology.

The accompanying resource describes some of the innovative ways that the manufacturing industry is relying on these advances.