The manufacturing industry is multifaceted and robust in nature, and with every new year comes a different set of trends. 2016 held many advances and challenges including the use of robots, advanced analytics, and an increase in e-commerce. Researchers have gone back to the drawing board to figure out what trends are going to affect manufacturers the most in 2017.
Trend 1: Cobotics
We saw the robotic trend grow in 2016, however the threat of a complete robotic take-over might not actually be as big of a concern as the industry initially thought. It is no secret that the use of robotics and automation has increased in factories around the world, however not every robot was designed to replace a human being. Instead robotic machines were designed to complement the work of humans. Analysts say that the use of cobotics ( robots working alongside humans) can be expected to increase in the aerospace and automotive industries in 2017.
Trend 2: Green Manufacturing
Green Manufacturing is not a new concept for the manufacturing industry, however its importance has become more relevant as pollution levels continue to escalate.Recent technological advances in the past couple of years have made green manufacturing more attainable and affordable. Green manufacturing is closely tied to lean manufacturing practices. Lean manufacturing reduces waste by using renewable energy sources and recycled materials. Over the past several years, lean manufacturing has proven to have the added benefit of significantly reducing manufacturing costs. Additionally, market research shows that customers are increasingly interested in purchasing products made with recyclable or renewable resources, thus improving their reputation and potentially increasing their bottom line.
Trend 3: Reshoring, Newshoring and Nearshoring
“Reshoring” is the term used to describe the return of jobs and production back to the United States. Offshoring became a major concern when large corporations began to move production overseas to curb the dramatic financial effects of the Great Recession. Trends show that jobs have been steadily returning to the United States since 2011.
“Nearshoring” or “newshoring” takes the reshoring trend one step further. Manufacturers have discovered that there are major benefits to having production hubs close to their consumers and market base. Doing so reduces lead times and improves production speed. Nearshoring encourages the use of technology to constantly monitor machine production equipment and to notify the shop before malfunctions or a breakdown occur. A system warns the controller when your machinery requires maintenance or is operating poorly. This alert system helps prevent costly production stops and breakdowns. Nearshoring is most noticeably affecting manufacturers that are starting new production in prototyping and small batch production.
Trend 4: 3D Printing
Talk of 3D printing exploded in 2016. As 2017 begins to unfold it is evident that 3D printing is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry. 3D printing is opening new doors by fostering faster prototyping, design advances, and small batch production. Throughout 2016 the amount of research and development within 3D printing greatly improved. While 3D printing might not be in full swing by 2017 its seemingly limitless possibilities makes it an important trend to watch and invest in for 2017.
There are many noticeable trends to be on the lookout for in 2017. SigmaNEST looks forward to helping you keep up with the upcoming trends that affect your shop. Most noticeably our SigmaFusion dashboard can help you tackle the newshoring trend. SigmaFusion provides live updates of your machine floor, allowing you to have a complete overview of all tasks by tracking machine data from all workstations on the shop floor such as error messages, downtime, breaks, scheduled maintenance, and current running job.
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