Manufacturing has been changing at a rapid pace over the past decade, especially since the introduction of digital technologies. This pace shows no signs of slowing in 2018, with more manufacturers around the world embracing brand new technologies and ways of operating. Here are 3 game-changing predictions for the manufacturing industry this year.

By the end of 2018, more than 50% of manufacturers will be building IoT (Internet of Things) into the design phase of their products 

According to Global Market Insights, IoT in the manufacturing industry was valued at more than 20 billion (USD) in 2016 and it is estimated that it will grow by more than 20% from 2017 to 2024. An increase in demand for enhancing the operational efficiency coupled with cost optimisation is expected to drive the IoT in manufacturing market growth over the next 6 years.

Currently there are three major IoT initiatives taking place that are unique to the manufacturing environment:

  • Smart manufacturing
  • Connected products to impact product performance
  • Connected supply chains to increase visibility and coordination in the supply chain

This year we will see IoT being included in the design process in all three of these initiatives. Manufacturers are noticing that by engineering IoT technology into products and equipment during the design process, it makes it possible to be able to monitor not only the equipment’s performance to predict when it needs repair, but also how and when it is being used. In turn, providing game-changing competitive advantages.

By 2020 most manufacturers will earn over half of their revenue from services

With the manufacturing industry becoming more and more competitive, it is vital that you differentiate yourself in order to survive and continue being profitable. We are starting to see a high number of manufacturers shifting to a more service-centric business model. The buzzword in the industry is servitisation. This is a way for manufacturers to add extra capabilities to enhance their overall offering, which is in addition to the product itself.

Servitisation is made up on three services with the more advanced the service, the more value offered to the customer.

  • Base Services: Product provision
  • Intermediate Services: Product repair, condition monitoring, field service and customer help desk
  • Advanced Services: Pay per use, fleet management, availability contract and integrated solution

There are a number of pioneering companies that excel in servitisation including Rolls Royce, Xerox and the London Underground. These organisations follow a common competitive strategy with a greater emphasis on customer intimacy. This strategy has three key areas:

  • Customer Intimacy: Combining detailed customer knowledge with operational flexibility, to create the best total solution for the customer.
  • Operational Excellence: Controlling processes to effectively deliver best total cost to the customer.
  • Product Leadership: Selling the best product on the market.

Research conducted by Raconteur states that 68 per cent of manufacturing companies claim that servitisation is either ‘well-established and is already paying dividends’ or ‘in progress and is receiving appropriate executive attention and support.’ In order to be successful in their response to customer needs and increasing demands, manufacturers need to look to new business models to reduce time to market and taking an idea through from design to a saleable item as quickly as possible.

By 2019 the benefits of 3D printing will be booming

3D printing has been in a sort of trial period since its introduction in the market. Not too long ago, the printing speed and limited output of 3D printers made them suitable only for rapid prototyping. However, soon 3D printers will be at the heart of full-scale production capabilities in several industries, from aerospace to automotive to health care to fashion. Manufacturing as we know it will never be the same.

Now that recent advancements in speed, printing technology and material capabilities are aligned, together they will push the entire industry forward. Along with growing competition and investment in the 3D printing industry, these new capabilities will reshape custom manufacturing.

A new generation of 3D printing companies is moving into manufacturing with new, faster, better connected automated systems that have the ability to reduce some of the time consuming pre and post processing that has been a previous obstacle to wide-scale uptake.

Stratasys has collaborated on a new printer, called the Demonstrator, that combines three printers in one stack system with each printer able to communicate to its neighbours in real time. The new printer is highly scalable, meaning it can significantly increase production capacity, printing between 1,500 to 2,000 components a day.

Today the aviation industry is paving the way in 3D printing technology, which the manufacturing industry can learn from. A recent success in the new GE turboprop ATP Engine which was 35 per cent printed in 3D. This took it down from 855 components to 12 which contributed to the engine being lighter, more compact and able to deliver 15 per cent lower fuel burn as well as 10 per cent higher cruise power.

The future of 3D printing is certainly shaping up to be a game-changer for the manufacturing industry. With the technology creating endless possibilities, the future looks exciting.

About Gamma Solutions.

Gamma Solutions Pty Ltd is an Australian owned company, based in Melbourne, with offices in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Founded in 1992, the company provides all the components of mobile computing, RFID and data collection systems such as portable terminals, barcode scanners, barcode printers and wireless networks; as well as professional services including systems analysis, design and implementation, middleware software and training.

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