The Future of Manufacturing -- What are the New Core Technologies?

This month, Philip J. Gisi published his third book with Productivity Press entitled The Dark Factory and the Future of Manufacturing: A Guide to Operational Efficiency and Competitiveness. His new book provides a view into the future and direction on how to navigate the journey to a more automated, smarter, and continuously learning factory. This book consolidates the major elements of the fourth industrial revolution and describes them in clear terms within the context of integrated manufacturing. It creates awareness and a fundamental understanding of the advanced technologies that are coming together to facilitate highly automated, smarter, agile, and sustainable operations.

When I spoke with Phil this past week, I asked him: "What are some of the newer core technologies in manufacturing and how are they being used?” Here is his complete answer:

Manufacturing is undergoing a significant transformation with the adoption of several newer core technologies such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR) / Virtual Reality (VR), and Digital Twins. IIoT involves connecting machinery, sensors, and other devices to collect and exchange data. This data can be used for real-time monitoring, predictive maintenance, and improving overall efficiency.  AI is being used in manufacturing for process optimization, quality control, predictive maintenance, and even autonomous decision-making. Machine learning algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data to identify patterns and make predictions to avoid unplanned equipment downtime.  

AR and VR technologies are being used in manufacturing for training, design visualization, and maintenance. These technologies can help improve efficiency, reduce errors, and enhance collaboration while the application of a digital twin, serving as a virtual model of a physical manufacturing asset, process, or system, can enable real-time monitoring, simulation, and optimization, leading to improved performance and reduced downtime. As I stated in my latest book, “Manufacturers must be aware of, understand, and embrace these changes to stay competitive and meet the evolving demands of customers in the modern era. This book enhances the awareness and understanding of these core technologies by explaining what they are and how they are being used in manufacturing."  Clearly, these technologies are reshaping the future of manufacturing and will continue to do so as they evolve within the scope of the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0 for short.

What do you think of Philip's perspective? Are these core technologies now part of your business? If so, have they delivered the expected results?