It’s amazing to think how much the Internet has progressed in the last 30 years or so and how quickly the digital world and the real world are beginning to merge into one. The marriage between the two has become known as ‘the internet of things’ and its changing industry in a variety of ways – and the manufacturing sector is no different.
It’s not necessarily a new thing – I mean we’ve been using things for Uber and Lyft to get us from A to B. When we’re on our way anywhere we check out phones for traffic. We can even tell our phones to turn down the temperature of our homes if we want to. But what’s crazy is the best is yet to come.
In manufacturing, our world has been defined by things like tolerances, materials, finishes and actual physical constraints. That’s different from the digital world – which has what you’d call ‘soft constraints’ – things like coding, data, algorithms and the like. With the evolution of AI, sensors and more – we’re beginning to see our world run into theirs and the results have spectacular potential.
Heck, they’re already starting to show themselves. Just look at n-Join – a software platform that can help companies manufacture anything from nylon to pudding pops. N-Join can enter a factory – let’s just say its Coke – and help desktop computers listen and analyze all the data being fed to it from the plants machines – and we mean all of the machines.
From there, every engineer has something exciting available to them right at their fingertips – from total visibility across their entire production line, roost cause analysis to help identify problem spots and the ability to find places where they can get ahead of even preventative maintenance. The areas for improvement are literally everywhere.
And in terms of humans – we’ll stay important – but in more value-added projects instead of menial run-around. From making the workplace safer to saving time to everything related to future-based issues facing manufacturing that will need definite human attention – from environmental impacts, critical plant improvements and the like.
The future is bright as the artificial becomes more real and as always, we’ll stay right there keeping up on all of it.