FUTURE OF MANUFACTURING

The Factory of the Future

BRIAN WALLACE | December 2, 2021

The world of manufacturing is continuously evolving in the 21st century, and companies have to combat competition, altering consumer demands, and unexpected events to be able to deliver in today’s experience.  Global connectivity, innovation, and disruption are all reshaping the manufacturing industry, but a world-class business platform can help companies transform operations digitally to keep up with an evermore digitized world.   The factory of the future will allow manufacturers to enhance production through the convergence of information technology with factory operations, combining the effectiveness of the virtual world with the materiality of the physical world to lower costs, increase flexibility, and better meet customer expectations. 
 

The factory of the future functions on four dimensions: resource planning, manufacturing planning, planning and optimization, and manufacturing operations.  Resource planning involves defining and simpulating the plant layout, flow, assets, and resources needed to efficiently develop products in a safe environment.  Normal production change requests can be quickly validated by using 3D virtual experience twin technology.  This technology could also quickly pivot operations to alternative products in the case of disruptive events.  Manufacturing planning enriches the resource and product definition by defining and validating a process plan and creating work instructions that meet production goals.
 

Digital visualization of resource and process changes can also help speed up time-to-production in any scenario no matter the location by leveraging the cloud.  Planning and optimization of supply chains across planning horizons will help manufacturers gain visibility with planning and scheduling by  having the ability to model, simulate, and optimize alternative supply and production plans to reduce disruptions.  Lastly, manufacturing operations management can transform global production operations to attain and maintain operational excellence.  Manufacturers can create, manage, and govern operational processes on a global scale while maintaining operational integrity to meet altering demands. 
 

For the factory of the future to come about successfully, there needs to be connected technology and shared data.  Technology has to be adaptable with robotics and equipment that can be reconstructed to house changes and new products.  An AI-powered product demand simulation is necessary to maintain agility and boost productivity.  A versatile, cross-functional workforce with the ability to explicate data and function well in AR environments is also required along with smart factory technology such as wearable sensors and virtual prototypes.  Through all this, the factory of the future can connect technologies across the product life cycle while optimizing the workforce and increasing sustainability. 
 

Although achieving the factory of the future has several benefits, creating a feasible factory of the future plan can be challenging.  In 2018, only 12% of companies had a mature factory of the future plan.  One of the main challenges that companies face is a lack of internal skills to devise digital solutions.  However, this can be combated by carefully considering how you can utilize digital technologies to deliver improved performance, resiliency, and flexibility.  It is easier to begin with small steps and to collaborate with a partner who could support your efforts to build toward your desired transformation goal.  It is important to always be prepared by evaluating your next steps, industry trends, and progress metrics.  It is also crucial to focus on the people, process, and technology you’re using to have a successful transformation journey.
 
 

Manufacturing with the factory of the future can provide savings in a wide range of categories.  For example, it can reduce virtual vehicles build time by 80%, increase on-time performance of industrial equipment by 45%, and reduce modular construction time of construction, cities, and territories by 70%.  Leading the transformation of the manufacturing space towards the direction of the factory of the future will allow manufacturers to work smart and better meet the needs of the end consumers.

 
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Spotlight

Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc. (IMI)

As one of the leading global providers of electronics manufacturing services (EMS) and power semiconductor assembly and test services (SATS), we at IMI innovate solutions for diversified markets that include those in the automotive, industrial, medical, telecommunications infrastructure, computing and storage devices, renewable energy, and power semiconductors.

Spotlight

Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc. (IMI)

As one of the leading global providers of electronics manufacturing services (EMS) and power semiconductor assembly and test services (SATS), we at IMI innovate solutions for diversified markets that include those in the automotive, industrial, medical, telecommunications infrastructure, computing and storage devices, renewable energy, and power semiconductors.

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