The top manufacturing tech trends in 2020

manufacturing tech trends

As we’ve now entered 2020, many experts look in their crystal balls to muse us, and themselves, with predictions on technology trends. Here are some interesting thoughts on manufacturing tech trends in 2020 from the American magazine Industry Week.

3D Printing is moving in to mass production

The next frontier of 3D printing will be a move in to end-use applications and mass production. The current low hanging fruits of prototypes, jigs and fixtures will still be a major part of the outcome, but volume production is picking up rapidly. Some of these volumes will compete with traditional manufacturing, because 3D printers and materials have now matured to a level that they are a viable economic alternative.

Freedom of product design

Without the need of tooling in 3D printing, we can be more creative in terms of product design, and more efficient in terms of product manufacturing. With intelligent software, we get help in calculating the best shape based on the physical requirements on the part. It’s math-driven design that help us optimize parts, and at the same time reducing weight and material usage.

Technology makes it possible to deliver products-as-a-service

With fully optimized core service operations, e.g. service parts inventory and price management, companies will be able to deliver products-as-a-service. The enabler is flexible and scalable technology. When customers start subscribing to a product, they expect previously unseen services that companies need to start thinking about. But with new technologies such as AI, machine learning and IoT, companies can use predictive and prescriptive maintenance to optimize their customer’s uptime and productivity.

Digital warehousing, local manufacturing

3D printing has the potential to not only open doors to new applications, but also to new business opportunities. Take part sourcing, for example. It’s difficult, expensive and requires long lead times. With 3D printing, companies can produce on demand and synchronize production with order levels. And parts can be tailor made.

The connected enterprise

What technologies really matter to an organization and which of these that improve operations are two questions that need to be answered by tech-intensive organizations. If you are able to do so, you run a better chance of becoming a successfully connected enterprise. Being able to know if your organization has the competence to make meaningful decisions with the technologies you implement is also key to determine if the technologies will work in your favour.

Boosting supply chain with AI

Artificial intelligence will help modernize supply chain operations, which has been traditionally slow to pick up on digitization. Processes such as redirects, supplier onboarding and order cancellations will become much easier using AI based software.

IoT and AI to fuel growth of servitization

Studies show that companies that implement more services in their business, alongside products, add 5-10% in growth rates, as well as a 25-30% cost reduction. The ability to sell these service-focused solutions is dependent on AI and IoT integration in their business. The two technologies can help in monitoring performance of the sold equipment.

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