2018 saw plenty of new trends in manufacturing, from additive manufacturing and automation to creative training techniques to bridge the skills gap. What sort of trends might we see in manufacturing in 2019? Below are a few possibilities.
- More Artificial Intelligence
This likely won’t come through an increase in the number of robots on assembly lines, but in an increase in the number of AI computer systems that streamline and improve processes while gathering massive amounts of data. 2018 was the year of IoT adoption. 2019 will likely focus on what to do with all that data that’s been collected.
- 5G Networks
Analysts have been talking about how lightning fast things could be with 5th generation networks to utilize. The new year is likely when that talk turns into action and we begin seeing some of the groundwork laid for a faster, more connected environment. This could mean more real-time control over production, faster response times by companies when the data changes and faster connectivity between partnering firms.
- A Narrowing Skills Gap
2018 was the year businesses started getting creative in filling their positions. We saw companies partner with state and local institutes of higher learning to develop training programs, and more businesses began tapping into the worker pool at a younger age to educate them on manufacturing and pique their interest. As more young workers enter the market to replace retirees, expect that knowledge and skills gap to get smaller.
- Adaptable Products for a Personal Touch
Customization took a major step forward in the B2C market in 2018, with an array of features and accessories for customers to choose from to truly make their product one-of-a-kind. 2019 will continue to see that trend grow, which means manufacturers will continue to invest in machinery that can adjust to small batch, custom orders.
- Cyber Security, First and Foremost
With 5G networks, automation and the Internet of Things becoming more and more prominent, increases in spending on cyber security will dominate the services landscape. There’s just too much data moving around to leave things to chance, so we can expect 2019 to be a year full of renewed pushes for secure operations and an agile response to security concerns.
- Augmented Reality in Product Design
AR has seen most of its popularity in the consumer market, but businesses are beginning to think about how it can help them build products before ever physically touching materials. Employees can be trained via AR systems before they handle dangerous machinery, products can be conceptualized to reduce waste and optimize moving parts and augmented reality could help spot problem areas in machinery before things break down.
2019 will be an interesting year in manufacturing as it’s likely to expand the digitization push and bring more businesses and industries into the connected digital world we work in. What are some manufacturing trends you think will take off in 2019? Share with us in the comments section below.