Modern manufacturing is an increasingly tech-driven and automated industry. It depends on the application of progressive systems and technologies such as cloud computing, nanotechnology, the Internet of Things, and many others. These technologies have drastically changed the face of manufacturing in ways that would have been inconceivable just a decade ago.
New manufacturing technologies are always emerging. In addition to creating an array of innovations, they also increase efficiency, precision, customization, and speed across the entire manufacturing sector.
Before looking at how manufacturers can use the different technologies available to reduce risks, let’s first look at some of the biggest current tech trends in manufacturing:
Some of the most common software currently used within the manufacturing industry includes:
Having looked at the common technologies and software utilized in manufacturing, let’s now take a deeper look at how manufacturers can use technology to mitigate risks:
Both the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) and IoT (Internet of Things) represent a rising source of vulnerability, particularly for manufacturers.
The fact that the manufacturing sector will represent roughly 35 percent of overall IIoT usage by 2025 means that manufacturers must understand and remain acutely alert to the dangers they face.
So what kind of damage can a cyberattack cause to manufacturing facilities?
A cyberattack can lead to both non-physical and physical damage. A cyberattack on a facility can be strictly focused on data; for example, it might be tailored to steal intellectual property such as trade secrets or a unique manufacturing process.
Another way a cyberattack can cause harm to a manufacturing facility is by creating physical disruption to industrial control systems, thus causing machinery to grind to a halt or malfunction.
Both of these examples illustrate just how grave an attack on the structure and assets of a facility can be.
In addition to hiring experts in cybersecurity, manufacturers can use tech to reduce cyberattack risks.
For starters, you need to install manual overrides, especially for valuable machinery. Secondly, you need to create backups, which help you recover and get back to normal operations as fast and possible. Finally, it’s important to ensure that your systems and any other internet-connected devices are updated with the latest security patches.
#2: Costs and Time
Using conventional mass-manufacturing techniques is time-consuming and costly. The same is true when it comes to the production of tailored and bespoke parts. Through technologies such as 3D printing or additive manufacturing, manufacturers can realize big savings—both in terms of expenses and time. In terms of product development, this tech saves time through the instant realization of prototypes for testing as well as functional end-use parts for repairs.
The fact that replacement parts are produced almost as a finished product means that bespoke tooling isn’t required anymore.
Adopting additive manufacturing will help achieve improvements in performance, efficiency, and the quality of manufacturing operations. The technology is also handy at reducing waste and material consumption.
#3: Complex Supply Chain
Adding vendors, contractors, and extra third parties to a production process can increase the risk of miscommunication and error exponentially. One challenge occurs when production work takes place in different locations, handled by different teams. Complexity grows even more if each team is using different tracking software.
Accounting for all these moving parts—product cycles, supply chains, quality, people, teams, materials, etc.—can be tricky.
Historically, most manufacturing organizations have utilized tools driven by fixed end and start dates. The fact of the matter is that these systems are too rigid to handle the changes inherent in production and project work. Often, the schedule is overseen by a single person, meaning that most parties involved in the process do not have visibility into the overall picture of what is happening.
So how can technology help manufacturers solve the complex nature of the supply chain?
The best fix for this issue is using collaborative project management software that gives everyone visibility. By offering visibility for all, anyone can access the project schedule, observe the current status and overall progress, and then follow communication strings, which relay and track all important information.
If all project teams and vendors have access to one single project management tool, then it not only takes away the blinders, it also allows everyone insight into how different aspects of production are proceeding.
Because manufacturing projects have endless and complex challenges, it’s prudent for teams to work with a dynamic system with the ability to respond as fluidly as possible to unexpected occurrences and changes that constitute the manufacturing project life cycle.
Implementing innovative technologies in manufacturing sector brings countless benefits to the players in the sector. For instance, tech can help streamline relationships with customers and suppliers. The efficiency, flexibility, and speed of the entire production process can be increased. Most importantly, technology can help manufacturers reduce risks related to their operations.
JMARK has been helping manufacturers implement technology solutions for more than thirty years. We have teams dedicated to the manufacturing industry, with the insider knowledge and certifications to ensure that your I.T. will become a vital component of your business strategy as well as day-to-day operations.