Every year, the manufacturing community looks forward to the annual International Manufacturing Technology Show. In 2018, the event takes place from September 10th through 15th at McCormick Place in Chicago. Manufacturing businesses can succeed and fail based on their knowledge of current trends, and using IMTS 2018 for trend predictions is often a great strategy. What new trends could you see hinted at during IMTS 2018, and what can we learn from them? Here are a few:
1. Additive Manufacturing
One of the hottest new ideas in manufacturing today is in the area of additive manufacturing. This manufacturing method primarily refers to the use of 3D printing and 3D modeling software — Computer Aided Design, known commonly as CAD.
The process allows easy manufacturing of a wide variety of objects by simply layering on a material, such as plastic or metal, according to the software’s guided instruction. It’s easy to see how such a process is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry.
CAD and 3D printing have primarily been introduced into the manufacturing world through the ability to create rapid prototypes. However, you can see a trend developing where 3D printing and additive manufacturing could be used to generate complete end-use products for a range of industries.
2. Digital Thread
The digital thread is a new concept that can be thought of as the entire history of a product’s manufacturing process throughout its manufacturing lifestyle. It is an integrated view of everything we know about that product through that lifestyle. More and more manufacturing companies are taking a digital thread approach to strategy to enhance communication about products, increase productivity and improve product quality while lowering costs at the at the same time.
Digital thread data can help manufacturers shorten the manufacturing cycle, reduce production scrap and defective units and minimize downtime. It is sure to be used increasingly in manufacturing in the coming years.
3. Robotics and Automation
No exploration of new international manufacturing technologies could be complete without a discussion of robotics and automation. Automation, having long ago revolutionized the manufacturing industry, is doing so again in a big way, with CNC machines, collaborative robots, artificial intelligence and other aspects of robotics.
Far from discovering that AI and robots are taking away human manufacturing jobs, companies are finding that these technologies are actually enhancing those jobs, increasing the productivity of human workers and freeing them up to do more interesting, beneficial and creative things for their company during their available work hours.
Naturally, to learn the most about where these and similar trends are taking us, you will want to attend the International Manufacturing Technology Show or one of the many conferences like it that take place throughout the year.
Whether you own your own manufacturing business, manage a manufacturing plant, or simply work for a manufacturing company and want to know more about the future of the business you are in, exploring and learning about the innovations above and related technological trends will be of great benefit.
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