The rapid growth of new technology is revolutionizing nearly every industry and organization on the planet. And industrial manufacturing is no exception.
The industrial manufacturing industry has been implementing new technology and strategies to reach customers faster while simultaneously limiting waste and creating more durable products. And many of the more interesting innovations in the industry have been rightly fueled by the Internet of Things (IoT) and nanotechnology.
Here’s a quick look at what these technologies are and how they’re making a mark on the manufacturing industry.
It might be worth starting with a quick definition. What is IoT? IoT is the concept that all devices, from cell phones to refrigerators, can connect to the internet. This establishes an ecosystem of interconnected things that can “talk” to each other.
This concept has taken the world by storm. But how does this interconnectivity of devices in IoT change manufacturing?
One of the biggest upsides to this technology lies in its efficiency. Because whether it’s the machines that are capturing raw materials, the machines that are transforming raw materials into a product, or the machines that are delivering products to the end-user, the success of manufacturing depends on machines. And such a reliance on machines for production and delivery requires that they function at their best all the time.
IoT connectivity enables tracking the overall health and performance of a machine and its individual components. Technicians can be alerted when a machine is going to need maintenance before a malfunction occurs. IoT can even enable machines to preemptively order parts as needed so they are available with less downtime.
A real-time view of the production process in everything from refining to packaging allows for making quick adjustments that can improve operational costs. It also allows manufacturers to identify and remedy production lags so they can decrease waste.
Another huge advantage of IoT is its ability to better monitor production lines and improve inventory management. IoT allows manufacturers to track and trace inventory on a line-item level. Any time there is a deviation in the supply chain, users are quickly notified. All in all, this provides more accurate estimates into when materials will be available and more accurate product arrival times.
A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. Or, for perspective, one million times smaller than an ant. Nanotechnology takes technological progress to an atomic level.
This technology is shaking up life and industries as we've known them. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers said that nanotech “will leave virtually no aspect of life untouched.” The National Academy of Agricultural Sciences described it as “modern history’s sixth revolutionary technology.”
But how can something so small influence big changes in manufacturing?
It's simple (in a manner of speaking). Nanotechnology can control and manipulate individual atoms and molecules to create stronger products with fewer imperfections. Nanoparticles are used to create nanoengineered polymers that are stronger and more resistant to changes in temperature and corrosion. It can improve lubricant coatings to offer greater wear resistance.
The possibilities are endless, and we're already seeing nanotechnology improve both mundane and sophisticated products alike. Nanocomposites can make better car parts, nanotubes can make longer-lasting televisions, and nanostructured tools can cut with diamond-like precision.
It’s an exciting time to be involved in the manufacturing industry. If you’re looking for a career that will place you on the cutting-edge of technological innovation, manufacturing may be just the fit you’re looking for.