Switching from manual to automated processes and making business decisions based on data insights is what digital transformation entails. After the industrial revolution, businesses all over the world are on the brink of the next big revolution.

Over 70% of businesses plan to launch a new digital technology platform, to digitize their products, or digitize their product management processes (Source: Institute for Digital Transformation).

Disruption is driving digital transformation in the manufacturing industry

The increasing competition in the manufacturing industry has forced organizations to improve their customer experience, reduce costs and maximize profitability. Organizations that have adapted to digital transformations are disrupting business models with their new value propositions. This has caused disruption in many organizations and also a chance for them to adopt

Digital Transformation Trends in Manufacturing Industry

Let’s take a look at some of the technologies that are transforming the manufacturing industry.

  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Robotics and mechanization have been used by manufacturers for decades to improve productivity and reduce production costs. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) seems to be the next major breakthrough in the manufacturing sector.

Artificial intelligence will assist production teams in analyzing data and applying insights to replace inventory, reduce operating costs, and provide seamless product quality in the manufacturing process.

  • Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

The internet of things (IoT) capabilities is increasingly being adopted in the industrial and manufacturing domains, providing plant owners with a way to improve efficiency and reduce process complexity.

For example, for seamless plant operations, frequent repair and maintenance are required. However, not all machinery and tools require maintenance at the same time. The IIoT enables plant managers to use equipment condition tracking and predictive maintenance.

  • 3-D Printing

3-D printing, also known as additive layer manufacturing, is expected to significantly affect high-end industries like aerospace, automobiles, mining machinery, firearms, service machinery and commercial and other industrial tools.

Unlike conventional manufacturing techniques, 3-D printers can produce complex shapes and designs at no extra cost, giving designers and engineers more creative freedom. With the help of 3-D printing, real objects can be printed using materials like rubber, nylon, plastic, glass, and metal.

  • Big Data Analytics

Big data analytics can help in improving sales revenue, streamline manufacturing processes, and promote product customization in multiple ways. According to a Honeywell survey, 68% of manufacturers have already invested in big data analytics.

Big data analytics allows manufacturers to make better decisions based on productivity and waste output data, reducing operational costs and increasing overall yield.

  • Virtual Reality

By reducing complicated models, virtual reality (VR) simplifies the product design process. Designers and engineers are using virtual reality to construct realistic product models, enabling them to see their designs in 3D and fix problems before going into production.

For example, automobile manufacturers are already using virtual reality to ensure that their models are tested early in the production stage, reducing the time and expense associated with changing designs, tolerances, and safety features.

New Challenges, Products and Solutions in a Digital World

Product designers in the manufacturing sector should take advantage of digital transformation to define their new products and change the way products are created, developed and released.

In the manufacturing sector, the product lifecycle should support the focus areas that span the entire lifecycle, from development and processing to reuse and recycling.

Manufacturing companies are adapting to digital transformation technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Virtual reality to drive growth and profitability. To ensure success, CIOs must take stock of the new technologies and develop future-ready strategies to manage change and capitalize on opportunities.

To conclude, using new digital methods for market analysis, product testing, and even product invention; and taking a systematic yet iterative approach to digital platform development is essential.

The use of digital technology will speed up the product development process. Companies who want to remain competitive in today’s market can’t afford to neglect the positive impact of any of these technologies.