By Wasana Nadeeshani Sellahewa
(Commonwealth) _ The finest technological advancement offers quick and fundamental change, completely new theories, hardware, and conceptual thinking that open up new avenues and pave the way for even quicker and fundamental change.
However, there aren’t many of those enormous jumps. Technology advances at a slow, gradual rate under normal circumstances. And that is a more accurate description of industrial technology in 2022. The growth of well-established technologies like additive manufacturing, the IIoT, and others was what we saw instead of any breakthrough inventions or paradigm-shifting business models.
Therefore, we polled our army of industry insiders to find out what they thought the year 2023 will bring for industrial technologies. Will there be any significant advancements or will we continue to see a modest but constant improvement in our understanding of how to employ current technologies?
The concept of a “smart” factory generally revolves around information gathering and analysis, with the most “intelligent” factories producing digital twins that enable a detailed understanding of the manufacturing process and the ability to run precise simulations and forecast the effects of changing conditions, such as delayed supply chains, or to predict maintenance cycles.
Data is a recurring theme in discussions of the Internet of Things, smart manufacturing, industry 4.0, and digital transformation. The difficulty nowadays is not so much having data accessible, whether it comes from models or sensors, but rather using it effectively and efficiently.
To represent the factory’s manufacturing and product systems and cut the time and costs involved with assembling, installing, and validating those systems, many businesses will start using or enhancing their use of digital twins. This will help them make timely decisions based on funds and consumer demand.
The most important manufacturing employees in 2023 will be data scientists, engineers, and architects. These workers will be crucial in building the infrastructure needed to digitally convert the factory and connect it to other areas of the company, including the supply chain, so that managers can get useful information from the machines and make strategic business choices.
According to Matthias Thoma, robotics system manager at TI Industrial Systems, there may be further developments in connection technologies that enable robots and machine vision systems to link and interact securely on the factory floor.
Paul Rogers, president and chief executive officer of Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, a branch of Hexagon AB, states that the narrative for 2023 will be the energised adoption of new smart manufacturing technology. “In the past, a supplier customer would wait until they could confirm that their OEM client was also a user before seriously considering a new software platform or metrology solution. As a result of the new paradigm, traditional suppliers are increasingly taking the lead to be the first business to use and integrate advancements in automation, simulation, and metrology. When competing with start-ups that are more agile, data-driven solution integrations provide you an advantage.
Even if little advancements and progressively rising acceptance rates characterized manufacturing technology in 2022, this does not mean that fans should be discouraged. Arguably, it makes more sense to make gradual advancements than to take chances with extreme jumps.
Businesses that succeed in 2023 won’t create technology for technology’s sake. They will analyze their target market(s) to ascertain the motivations behind the technology, run low-fidelity, lean experiments to verify their theories, and eventually identify where the value is. While we are interested in new technologies, innovation is the act of doing something in a novel way that adds value. Utilizing something that has been around for a long rather than something that is brand new might be even more inventive.