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Five Manufacturing Tech Trends to Watch

Category: Manufacturing Technology By: Benjamin Moses, Director of Manufacturing Technology - AMT The Association For Manufacturing Technology Sep 17, 2021

Whether you’re an early adopter (take off your exoskeleton for a minute) or a reluctant participant in the ongoing technological revolution (the cloud will not evaporate, we promise), there are some manufacturing tech trends that simply can’t be — and really shouldn’t be — avoided.

Ready or not… we’ve rounded up some great tech to keep your eye on. And some cool examples to go with them.

  1. Automation - Yes, we know automation is far from new, but it has improved dramatically. We’re no longer just talking about robotic arms that pick parts. Modern day automation includes fully automated factories, moving platforms with robotic arms attached, sensors, data utilization, and machines that can make decisions on the fly. Oh my!
    Check out what industrial computer provider IEI Integration Corp. is doing with autonomous mobile robots (AMR). These robots aren’t just moving from point A to point B; they are figuring out the best way to get there. They are also equipped with onboard cobots or robots. In the world of automated guided vehicles (AGV), Elephant Robotics and Huawei teamed up to create a small but powerful machine they call myAVG, which can be paired with myCobot to make — you guessed it — an AMR. If you really want to see something out of this world, read about COSM’S development of an autonomous metal 3D printer that will work in outer space.
  2. Metrology - No one ever said metrology was cool. Not true. We did. We’re saying that ALL. THE. TIME.
    And it just got cooler. Advanced metrology includes both non-contact and in-process metrology. Using cameras, digital measuring tools, and lasers, new metrology techniques can perform inspections in process, so production doesn’t have to stop. This also helps enhance quality and consistency because parts can be inspected multiple times without disrupting the process. Parts that are right the first time will always be cool.
    Meet someone who may love metrology more than us in our profile of Jeff Moore and his metrology road show. It’s like the circus, except with precise measurements and no acrobats. Discover how KTM Motorsports deploys metrology to defend their motorbike championship.
  3. Data Management - With the proliferation of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), everyone has data — loads of it. But data is only useful if you use it. Increasingly, data management tools are helping companies collect targeted data to answer real business questions. For instance, it’s interesting to know how many chips Machine A makes compared to fancy new Machine B, but it’s more important to know how many different types of products Machine B can make and how quickly it can change applications. That’s information that could extend your product line and enhance your bottom line. It’s time to let business needs drive data acquisition.
    Learn more about the MTConnect standard, which offers a semantic vocabulary for manufacturing equipment to provide structured, contextualized data with no proprietary format. Get the details you need to get started from one of AMT’s recent webinars on MTConnect.
  4. Simulation - What if you could see every step in your production process before even turning on the first machine? You can. We know! Simulation technologies are now available for both additive and traditional manufacturing processes. You can simulate your manufacturing floor and every process on it using modern digital tools. Trust us, seeing is believing — and empowering.
    Read about how Simreka is helping manufacturers reach that eureka moment by deploying simulation software to allow customers to explore alternative production methods and products.
  5. Materials in Additive Manufacturing - This is the trend that keeps on trending. While using different materials in additive manufacturing isn’t new, it is worth watching.
    Material standards for additive manufacturing are starting to be more widely adopted. This will help new and established players determine what materials to use for specific applications.
    New materials are receiving government approval for use in 3d printing applications. Other additive materials are being evaluated for end use in the aerospace and defense industries.

Check out our Tech Trends podcast for up-to-date information on the technologies that will transform the manufacturing industry.

About the Author

Benjamin Moses is Director of Manufacturing Technology at AMT-The Association For Manufacturing Technology. He worked in design and manufacturing world for aerospace components for 16 years, developing new products and implementing new and lean processes for legacy products. Benjamin now works with AMT’s Manufacturing Technology team to gather information about the latest technology research, concepts, and trends. This includes academic research and adoption of new technologies in manufacturing facilities. Through strong relationships with AMT’s membership, universities, and other industrial partners, AMT is able to gather a broad view on the state of manufacturing technology.

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