The manufacturing industry faced a number of challenges in 2022, yet many businesses managed to survive and adapt to the ‘new normal’ despite the pandemic, recession fears, supply issues, a tight labor market, and economic instability.
Industry 4.0 technologies have been instrumental in helping electronics manufacturers overcome some of these challengers and make the transition into the digital age with smarter automation tools and better options for connecting with customers. As we start the new year, it’s time to take a look at what some technology trends we can expect to see in 2023.
1. IoT (Internet of Things)
Until recently, computers were the only devices able to connect to the internet. But now, smart TVs, alarm systems, cameras, and other smart appliances are all connected in our homes. It is estimated that by the end of this year there will be over 43 billion internet-connected devices. The manufacturing industry is already taking advantage of this trend —enabling manufacturers to use real-time data for more informed decisions and increased safety, efficiency in production processes, and cost savings. Recent research shows that 31% of manufacturers are already using smart devices and 34% more are likely to start integrating IoT into their operations. Moreover, due to the pandemic, remote connectivity has seen an upturn in popularity because of IoT.
2. 3D Printing
Additive manufacturing may seem modern, but it’s actually been around for 40 years! 3D Printing is a revolutionary technology for the manufacturing industry, as it reduces prototype costs and creates products on-demand – no need for expensive and lengthy tooling processes. Before 3D printing, fabricators took months to create spare parts for large machinery. Now, thanks to 3D printing, those same parts can be produced in a matter of days!
3. Predictive Maintenance
Mismanagement of production plans and equipment breakdowns cause considerable damage to many manufacturing organizations. Gartner estimates that, on average, machine downtime costs $5,600 per minute. Subsequently, manufacturers must strive to make sure their machines and tools are in the best condition possible. Predictive maintenance has been employed by numerous companies with the goal of cutting down on downtime; it is expected this trend will carry on past 2023. Predictive maintenance is a well-established approach used to prolong the life of machinery, avert breakdowns, lower unplanned downtime and sidestep other production-cycle disruptions. By keeping track of exact performance metrics, it enables manufacturers to monitor their equipment’s efficiency thereby saving time and resources as well as money.
4. Private 5G Networks
5G technology is expected to bring significant advancements in the electronics manufacturing industry in the future. 5G networks will provide faster and more reliable connectivity, which will enable the implementation of more advanced automation and robotics, thus increasing productivity and efficiency. Additionally, 5G’s low latency and high bandwidth capabilities will support the use of technologies like virtual and augmented reality, which can be used for training and remote collaboration among engineers, technologists, and operators. Furthermore, the ability of 5G to handle large numbers of connected devices will support the widespread adoption of IoT technology in the manufacturing industry, enabling real-time monitoring and control of production processes, and providing new opportunities for data analytics and predictive maintenance.