Editor's note: There is a companion article for this podcast if you would prefer to read rather than listen. You can access it here: newequipment.com/21281505
The manufacturing industry is perpetually advancing and improving, thanks in no small part to new and evolving technologies. The adoption rate of such innovations varies from industry to industry and company to company, with factors like specific needs, regulatory environments, and economic conditions affecting investment decisions.
In this episode of Great Question: A Manufacturing Podcast, Laura Davis, the editor-in-chief of New Equipment Digest, takes a deep dive into the technology and equipment trends that are poised to change the industry in 2024.
Below is an excerpt from the podcast:
So to start, Gartner recently conducted a survey of manufacturers on what their plans were for 2024, specifically related to technology, and 54% of those surveyed said they plan on increasing their technology spending this year. Now, even though the economy isn't great at the moment, the thought behind this increased spending is that technology advancements will help manufacturers address staffing shortages, enhance productivity, and help unlock new revenue streams. And what would those technologies be? Well, here are six of the top trends we're expecting to see in 2024.
Artificial intelligence, otherwise known as AI, exploded in 2023. And it's only going to get stronger in 2024 as AI has become synonymous with innovation, efficiency, and competitiveness. As we go deeper into 2024, the role of AI, particularly generative AI, is evolving rapidly, reshaping how products are designed, optimized, and produced. While AI isn't anything new in the industry, it's been around a while, its rapid onset in the industry has made it a transformative force, offering a wide range of applications across various stages of the production life cycle. AI-powered algorithms analyze large amounts of data, identify patterns, and make autonomous decisions, enabling manufacturers to optimize processes, improve quality, and enhance productivity, whether it's predictive maintenance, quality control, or supply chain management.
What we're expecting to see in 2024 is the next frontier of AI, which is generative AI, which leverages advanced machine learning techniques to create new designs, solutions, and optimizations. Unlike traditional AI, which relies on predefined rules and data inputs, generated AI can generate new ideas and solutions autonomously based on very high-level objectives and constraints provided by the user. And it will empower manufacturers to explore more possibilities, uncovering new solutions and optimizing designs in ways that were previously unimaginable. Generating thousands of design iterations based on specified parameters and objectives, Generative AI creates diverse design possibilities and optimizes performance, cost, and sustainability to create innovative, high-quality products that meet customer needs and market demands. Processes can also be optimized by analyzing data from sensors, equipment, and production systems to identify inefficiencies and opportunities for improvement.
It also has a place in supply chain management by analyzing historical data, market trends, and external factors to generate predictive models and analyze scenarios to correctly align inventory levels, minimize lead times, and mitigate supply chain risks. Through all of these optimized and streamlined processes, operational efficiency will be enhanced, waste reduced, and throughput maximized, driving down costs and improving competitiveness.
Laura Davis is the editor-in-chief of New Equipment Digest (NED), a brand part of the Manufacturing Group at Endeavor Business Media. NED covers all products, equipment, solutions, and technology related to the broad scope of manufacturing, from mops and buckets to robots and automation. Laura has been a manufacturing product writer for seven years, knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the industry along with what readers are looking for when wanting to learn about the latest products on the market.