As a society, we rely on manufacturing for nearly everything in our lives, from our homes and transportation to our food, clothing, and products. Yet ongoing challenges, including the increased demand for these products, skilled labor shortages, and environmental concerns have forced the field to reimagine what the factory floor and product outputs look like. These innovations and changes sparked the creation of the advanced manufacturing industry.
Advanced manufacturing helps businesses create and refine processes to keep them competitive in the market. With new and exciting technologies coming out each year, using advanced manufacturing has never been more achievable. Yet, doing so relies on key stakeholders staying up to date with the most cutting-edge innovations in the field. That’s exactly where an advanced manufacturing conference like Rally comes into play.
At Rally, experts and practitioners in the field of advanced manufacturing technology will share, network, and collaborate to keep this vital industry strong. In this article, we’ll explore why we need advanced manufacturing and the benefits it provides—just a brief primer of what you can expect at Rally.
What Is Meant by Advanced Manufacturing?
Advanced manufacturing is the use of creative and innovative methods, tools, and technologies to develop new products or improve upon existing ones. It encompasses every aspect of the value chain, including research and development, logistics, operations, services, and more.
This may sound like a vague definition, and that’s because it is. The fact is, advanced manufacturing is a broad field that includes myriad advanced manufacturing technologies, like:
- 3D Printing
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
- Augmented and Virtual Reality
- Automation and Robotics
- Big Data
- Cloud Computing
- Internet of Things (IoT)
- Simulation Software
Put simply, advanced manufacturing will look different for every company. But the impact of technology in the manufacturing industry will be seen by everyone.
Why Is Advanced Manufacturing Important?
Advanced manufacturing systems are critical in today’s day and age because they help companies create more efficient, cost effective, and scalable solutions. As the world population grows and industry challenges evolve, advanced manufacturing ensures that companies can still develop the products and goods we need.
Here are just five ways we can see the positive impacts of manufacturing technology on the industry.
- Decreased Costs: For manufacturers, this is perhaps one of the most compelling advantages of technology in production. We’ve seen the cost of raw materials like steel and aluminum rise over the past few years. Fortunately, the Producer Price Index does illustrate this may be slowing, but the costs are still steeper than they used to be. While subtractive manufacturing was the norm in manufacturing for decades, newer innovations like additive manufacturing require less materials—thus decreasing overall costs.
- Increased Productivity: With a rising global population and growing consumer demands, manufacturing must find a way to keep up. There are a number of ways advanced manufacturing processes help with this. For example, smart sensors applied to machines have the ability to gather data about equipment conditions and performance. This information can then be used to better manage performance and optimize processes—not to mention the potential for energy and cost savings.
- Improved Quality: Humans make errors from time to time—it’s part of human nature. But in manufacturing, these errors can be costly and time consuming. In fact, one 2017 Vanson Bourne study estimated that roughly 23% of all unplanned downtime in the industry is caused by human mistakes. With advanced manufacturing technologies like smart sensors, automation, and robotics, companies have the ability to all but eliminate the likelihood of these mistakes.
- Greater Sustainability: Sustainable manufacturing has become a hot topic in recent years—and for good reason. Not only does it lower costs, reduce waste, and minimize a company’s carbon footprint, it also builds long-term viability and increases public trust. These are truly win-wins for companies and consumers alike. What does it look like in action? Some companies are using AI and machine learning technology to understand the optimal parameters for production runs to minimize their energy consumption.
- Reduced Timelines: In today’s fast–paced world, manufacturing companies must develop ways to keep up with demand, and there are a number of technologies to help. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are two exciting examples of innovation in the industry. These technologies can be used to mimic real-world scenarios in the design process and train teams without the need for physical equipment. Both of these can significantly cut down the time it takes to ideate and produce new products.
It’s clear that the advanced manufacturing world is filled with advantages, exciting technologies, and the potential to truly change the way we operate. And what better way to keep up with all of these innovations than at a cross-sector, collaborative conference for global movers and shakers?
Rally: Experience Advanced Manufacturing Innovation
The truth is, we’re just barely scratching the surface of advanced manufacturing technology and the potential it has to transform the industry. At Rally, we’re bringing together thought leaders in hardtech, manufacturing, and Industry 4.0 to discuss what’s new, how we can collaborate with other key sectors, and how these innovations will help us solve some of the world’s more pressing challenges.
Ready to learn, talk, and discover? That’s what Rally is all about. Reserve your spot today!