2020 has been a rollercoaster year for businesses but it has also given a much-needed push for innovation. Industry 4.0 is making a strong case for itself, and in 2021, the nature of manufacturing innovations will take centre stage. In that regard, let’s look at five key factors set to impact the manufacturing industry in 2021 and beyond.
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Smarter AI and RPA
Artificial intelligence (AI) has come out of its infancy in the last few years, and 2021 is set to bring it to the mainstream. This year, AI will become affordable, accessible, and more powerful than ever. The pandemic has been a catalyst in this regard since predictive models have grown in demand.
Robotic process automation (RPA) is another technology that will see innovation at a breakneck speed. Part of the reason is the resource gap in supply chain management. RPA automates tedious and repetitive tasks like procurement, onboarding, and inventory management without human error.
The industrial internet of things (IIoT) is going to be a major player in revolutionizing manufacturing this year. IIoT leverages the interconnected chain of machines and sensors on the floor to create a uniform ecosystem to expedite manufacturing and cut down on human intervention.
IIoT is one of the crucial factors behind the success of Industry 4.0, and it will be upgraded to handle tasks beyond asset tracking, plant monitoring, and predictive maintenance. However, the challenge lies in securing the ecosystem containing a wide range of sensors and devices. The streamlining of patch management and 5G should open up advanced applications of IIoT.
More resilient workplace
As the last year has shown, industries that thought ahead of the curve not only survived the disruptions but found ways to further their progress. For instance, a resilient supply chain made a difference in the e-commerce and the oil and gas industries.
Considering the increased demand and new operations, resiliency must be shown in workplace machines as well. Embedded systems with small footprints that can handle high temperatures and intense workloads will be in high demands and you can check them here: https://www.adl-usa.com/systems/
A fresh focus on sustainability
The manufacturing industry is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases and pollutants. Last year, people took notice of the industries that followed a green blueprint and used ethically sourced materials. If pharmaceuticals and other manufacturing companies plan to continue to cater to consumers, they have to implement sustainable workflows and environment recovery programs.
It can be done by finding areas that contribute to industrial waste and plug them with localized and smaller plants and recycling processes. Because the green building materials market will be valued at $425 billion by 2027, now’s a good time to lead the movement.
A safer workplace
Employee safety has never been such a hotly debated topic before last year. We’re going to continue to see a shift in perspective, including what constitutes a safe environment and the ways it can be realized in every sector. Manufacturing doesn’t have a rich history of safe workplaces, hence the need to automate tasks, provide adequate safety equipment, and maintain regular checkups will be at the forefront this year.
The manufacturing industry is at the cusp of a new industrial revolution, and 2021 will be all about leading and implementing innovations.