How is Artificial Intelligence Transforming the Manufacturing Industry Today and Beyond?

Artificial Intelligence is capable of enhancing human potential, and it also helps organizations to become more efficient and successful.

AI and Machine Learning are now becoming mainstream technologies, and many industries including manufacturing are using it to scale their growth.

As the competition is continuously increasing in the marketplace, local manufacturers need to match the global standard because the customers have a lot of options to choose from. To solve this problem, AI can be used to improve the quality of the product through automation and other processes.

According to a report, more than 92 percent of the manufacturing professionals believe that artificial intelligence and other technologies help to increase the efficiency of the workers and the overall productivity levels.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence with the help of automation reduces the human workload and the chances of errors.

Let us now understand how artificial intelligence is transforming the manufacturing industry in 2019 and beyond:

1. The Rise of Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing Industry

In most of the manufacturing industries, the profit margins are low as compared to the invested capital. Therefore, a lot of manufacturing companies are setting up their production units in low-wage countries and areas where the cost of human-resource is low.

Now more countries are realizing the potential of artificial intelligence and trying to implement it in their industries. For example, recently China made huge investments in artificial intelligence for the manufacturing and e-commerce industries.

The increasing use of AI and automation has led to the loss of jobs, but it is also said that more new jobs will be created for high-skilled workers.

AI is not just used for automation in manufacturing; it is also helpful in creating customized products for individual consumer based on their requirements.

2. Artificial Intelligence makes Workplace Safer

Artificial Intelligence along with machine learning algorithms makes the factory robots more capable of taking instructions from humans.

Machine vision is one of the popular applications of AI which helps equipment to make sense of images. For example, the company with the help of machine-vision tools detects any manufacturing defects which are not possible using human vision.

To avoid any damage and disruption in the workplace AI is used to train factors robots in the workplace such as forklifts, conveyors, and others so that they know what is going on around.

Robots are stationary but to avoid any crash into people moving in the workspace; motion sensors are used so that they will stop in there is any obstruction.

AI enables machines to take commands from humans which is not present in their original programming.

3. Supply Chain in Manufacturing

Artificial Intelligence makes robots and machines capable and more accessible to collaborate with. It also affects the areas which are not related to robotics.

In the supply chain, the AI and machine learning algorithms study the pattern of demand across different geographical areas, time, economic conditions, political environment, and even weather conditions.

It helps in determining the output of the product according to the market demand and drives human staffing, energy consumption, financial decisions, and others.

AI is also helpful in the predictive maintenance of the machinery equipment and devices. With the help of tracking sensors, it monitors the performance of a tool, and notifies if there is a chance of breakdown or malfunction, and takes the required preemptive actions.

The sensors are embedded in the equipment not only at the factory but also at the supplier’s facilities which track inventories and monitors the product at retail outlets.

Artificial Intelligence also predicts the demand for a product before creating them. With the help of sentiment analysis on social media, and other places it projects the need for a product.

4. Research and Development in Manufacturing

Research and Development is an integral part of the manufacturing industry. An organization which uses R&D effectively is bound to lead the industry or can even monopolize it.

Artificial Intelligence helps in improving the overall R&D efforts. AI when used in the R&D process to accelerates the product development process by:

  • Creating a proper mix of product materials for producing the final product.
  • Identifying the types of prototypes which are less like to fail.
  • Improves in making the product better through exploration.

According to the technology company Hitachi, combining artificial intelligence along with rule-based systems is the next evolutionary step in the field of manufacturing.

Due to this more organizations are investing in artificial intelligence to get the most out of the technology.

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5. Optimization of Products

Product optimization is one of the most critical areas in manufacturing for reducing the overall cost.

According to a survey conducted on American manufacturers, cost reduction is one of the top three challenges of the manufacturing marketplace. More than half in the top ten were related to the production cost.

This is where AI can help manufacturers. Product optimization is dependent on several applications and conditions including:

  • Maintenance
  • Error detection
  • Process automation
  • Human Resource

These are just some of the areas which directly affects the overall production cost of the manufacturing process.

6. Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance is an essential part of the manufacturing process which directly affects the success of a business.

If the quality of the product will be poor, it will impact the profits as well as the reputation of the manufacturers.

For example, in early 2017, more than 30 Samsung Note 7 mobile phones explosion were reported. To solve the problem, Samsung doubled the capacity of their batteries to prevent any similar situation in the future.

Visual inspection is also an important aspect of quality assurance, and in recent years, AI has made significant advancement in this field as well.

With the help of visual sensor data, machine learning algorithms recognize the faulty product in the quality inspection process and separate them from the good ones.

We are not talking about simple photos but the usage of high-quality infrared, X-rays, and other types of cameras in the inspection process.

According to McKinsey, quality inspection based on visual and image recognition can improve more than 50 percent of the overall productivity of the manufacturing process.

7. Facility Management

Maintaining the facilities such as warehouses, production buildings, stores requires electricity, workers, cooling systems and other staffs. If we can improve the safety and energy consumption of these places, the overall costs can be optimized significantly.

Recently, Google started using AI for increasing the efficiency of the cooling systems of their data centers. The artificial intelligence takes photographs of millions of sensors of the data center and examines the data to develop new ways to cool the environment effectively. It helps them to save millions of dollars every year.

For other departments, such as optimizing the equipment of the warehouse, based on the demand for work, artificial intelligence can predict the number of conveyors or forklift required in a day.

Final Thoughts

Artificial Intelligence has been able to revolutionize most of the modern industries including manufacturing through automation and its other benefits.

AI is going to play an important role in the 4th industrial revolution. It helps organizations to carry out the tasks in an efficient and fast way.

As artificial intelligence automates repetitive jobs, humans can now focus more on innovation and strategizing new operations.

However, there is no substitute for human intelligence and creativity; therefore we should not be completely dependent on AI, and use it effectively.