It’s important to always be looking to the future within this industry, and looking for ways your business can develop to stay ahead of the curve. Technology is a major part of this, as it can improve efficiency in almost every area of your business.
Of course, it’s not possible or wise to invest in every new technological innovation before it has proved itself. However, there is a knack to catching new trends at the perfect time, when you can safely bet they’re going to go mainstream but the market isn’t saturated yet. Here are a few prime examples for 2017.
Although the process has actually been around for decades, the last five years or so have seen 3D printing finally become commercially viable across a range of industries. In certain manufacturing niches, creating complex parts with high accuracy has been made much easier and more cost effective thanks to this advancement.
The main difference we are currently seeing in the market is that small firms can now afford to adopt the same printing techniques as the bigger companies. This is going to create a wider gap between the most cutting-edge firms and their rivals who are slow to adapt.
Highly advanced manufacturing materials are constantly being developed in order to replace traditional alternatives. Gone are the days when factories would work with one of a few types of metal. Now, almost all niches make use of specially-developed materials which are fully optimised for the job they need to do.
This process is very much ongoing, so there is an always an incoming generation of newer and more efficient materials on the horizon. It’s rational, therefore, for manufacturers to keep looking for the next big thing and consider getting on board early.
There is an ongoing battle raging within IT services for manufacturing, as of the last two or three years. It has become evident that cloud computing (i.e. outsourcing data processing, storage and other applications to an external, online resource) is more efficient for businesses in the vast majority of cases. However, on the other side, high profile security incidents have been making manufacturers think twice about what aspects of their own security they want to entrust to a third party.
Despite the concerns about security, it’s extremely likely that cloud computing will increasingly take over almost every area of IT. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a related talking point, as everything from factory equipment to everyday appliances can be connected to an online system for added functionality. At its best, this technology allows highly complex production lines to instantly resolve their own problems and make adjustments for efficiency, which obviously offers massive potential benefits to all types of manufacturers.