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Artificial Neutral Networks, Sensor Computing Speeds Up Machine Vision

One of the greatest challenges in terms of biological engineering is creating accurate and reliable artificial machine vision.

Sight is an important sense for living creatures. Our eyes give us seemingly infinite information about the world around us. One of the greatest challenges in terms of biological engineering is creating truly accurate and reliable artificial machine vision. This technology is rapidly developing, but human vision is still more efficient when all is said and done.

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How 5G is Transforming Manufacturing

The advent of 5G technology is a highly anticipated tech innovation, particularly in the manufacturing sector, which is poised to benefit greatly from this development. With promising benefits such as super-fast connection, low latency, ultra-reliability, more bandwidth than Wi-Fi and 4G LTE, and support for thousands of devices in one location, no wonder everyone is excited about 5G technology.

With 5G, you can browse the Internet ten times faster, download a full-length movie in less than a minute and stream crisp, clear 4K video. However, the full potential of 5G technology can only be realised when the extent to which it can fundamentally change the manufacturing sector is established.

To understand how 5G technology can revolutionise manufacturing, we’ll talk about how 5G is set to transform the industry.

1. Improve performance

Barclays research in 2019 reveals that with a 5G mobile telecommunications network, UK business revenues could increase by as much as £15.7 billion by 2025. This tremendous growth in productivity will stem from the sophisticated 5G digital infrastructure that’s guaranteed to streamline operations and increase output.

With 5G technology, remote expert and predictive maintenance will make it easier for manufacturing firms to implement efficient asset management strategies. This way, equipment failure, breakdowns, and downtime are significantly reduced or eliminated, which, in turn, minimises the risk of losing customer confidence and concerns on low output.

Also, since 5G technology supports real-time supply and demand data collection and transmission, it becomes easier for manufacturers to monitor shortfalls and prevent overproduction. This enables them to efficiently serve the needs of customers, as well as minimise wastage and production costs. The effects of this on the bottom line will be no less than impressive as you will essentially be producing quantities based only on what is required, or at least, something very close to it.

2. Serve as the precursor of smart factories

The availability of 5G technology indicates that Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution cannot be far behind. As manufacturing becomes “smarter,” the capacity of businesses to address demand and improve factory conditions in real-time is a definite possibility.

Smart factories have the unique ability to implement intelligent and dynamic strategies designed to improve production processes through automation and self-optimisation. And aside from enabling manufacturers to keep track of the production of goods, 5G technology will help streamline all aspects of production, including planning, supply chain logistics, inventory management and product development.

The 5G setup will also enable smart factories to efficiently predict and function in accordance with customer demand forecasts. Doing so will ensure high-level product quality, lower production costs and production capacities that are responsive to what data is generated.k

3. Transform the workforce

With the changing technological capabilities required in the manufacturing sector, we will see a distinct trend whereby a highly specialised skill set becomes in demand. The required set of new skills would be reflective of the changes and advances in technology.

Instead of the traditional factory worker role, future manufacturing professionals need to be able to operate, manage and maintain certain manufacturing processes. It would entail extensive mechanical machinery knowledge, as well as a profound understanding and appreciation for the complex technical requirements of running a smart factory.

4. Diminish job insecurity

One of the stumbling blocks to the quick adoption of new manufacturing technologies is the fear of people losing their jobs to machines or robots. However, digitisation is merely change the manufacturing landscape, as well as the labour market.

The skills gap only needs to be recognised, studied and filled. In short, there won’t be a shortage of jobs for people. However, the UK government, businesses and academic institutions must be able to identify strategies that will enable manufacturing workers to acquire the digital skills needed for them to thrive in smart factory setups.

The role of humans in the production process remains crucial, even as most processes are automated. As robots and AI take over specific functions, human co-workers can oversee operations and engage in higher-level roles. Management teams also need to work on reassessing talent and realigning it to support changes in operations.

Businesses also need to be willing and ready to invest in their employees for skills acquisition and development. This way, they can ensure that they will remain competitive and effectively future-proofed – prepared to compete in a dynamic, rapidly changing market.

5. Lead to a promising tomorrow

5G technology is expected to be a major game-changing factor in the industry that will revolutionise manufacturing as we know it. And although the availability of 5G networks is yet to be realised, industries need to prepare themselves to ensure that they can take full advantage of what 5G offers as and when it happens.

Testing and experimentation, research, product development and legislation are among the key elements that need to be tapped to ensure that, once 5G technology becomes mainstream, the workforce and infrastructure required to maximise its functionality are already in place. In doing so, the benefits anticipated from 5G technology can be exploited to ensure a productive future for various industries and the economy as a whole.

Maintaining a competitive edge

To remain efficient and profitable, manufacturers must take a proactive stance in terms of preparing for the widespread adoption and application of 5G technology.

Businesses need to have a programme, plan or strategy in place designed to help them seamlessly transition to 5G. This will require a review of both their physical and human assets. Buildings, machines and labour need to be re-evaluated, and flaws, loopholes and weaknesses in the system need to be identified and addressed.

Instead of waiting for technology to shake up the way you run your business, you need to prepare your company to ensure a smooth integration into a 5G-run system. You need to identify obsolete machinery or equipment, as well as prepare for the investments you’ll need to make to ensure your equipment is future proof.

You also need to identify skills gaps among your employees and be willing to help them in acquiring essential training and certifications. Doing so will equip them with the level of readiness and capabilities needed to perform future functions under the 5G umbrella.

The end result of all these preparations would be the provision of the required technology and infrastructure, and a productive workforce that will give you the edge you need to remain competitive.

The future is 5G

The inevitability of 5G technology becoming mainstream makes it paramount for manufacturers to prepare for its arrival. Of course, no one can really force businesses to adopt 5G technology, but the fact of the matter is that 5G networks are set to overtake 4G and LTE.

For example, in the automotive industry, the 5G mobile network is set to transform the process of car body construction as wirelessly connected production robots will only work using 5G. Even the speed at which vehicles are serviced and issues are addressed would be influenced by 5G as garages and repair shops depend on secure software updates for complex telematics. Also, the degree to which you’ll enjoy video streaming as a passenger will depend on your 5G connection.

Simply put, 5G technology is something you need to prepare for and embrace to remain established, stay relevant and be competitive in the world of manufacturing.

 

Read Radwell's Industry 4.0 and Predictive Maintenance e-Magazine Issue 03 Read More

The Future of Global Cybersecurity in the Manufacturing Industry

In 2018, the global cybersecurity market was already estimated to be worth an impressive £91.21 billion, with projections for the year 2024 pegged at £205.59 billion. The application of the Internet of Things (IoT), bring your own device (BYOD), machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) in business has brought a whole new level of hyperconnectivity between industries, their employees and customers. This high degree of connectivity, however convenient and useful to both manufacturers and customers, comes at a great cost as it opens up systems to outside tampering. Coupled with increasingly sophisticated cyber threats and attacks, these innovations will continue to fuel the importance of cybersecurity in all business domains, including manufacturing, and this cannot be ignored. 

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The Future of Manufacturing Technologies

Technology and the manufacturing industry have always worked hand in hand. Recently, however, rapid technological innovation and the Internet have fuelled the ongoing industrial revolution in 2020 where robotic automation is expected to expand its role and impact in various manufacturing settings.

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5 Steps to Implement Al on the Factory Floor

Companies should be looking to benefit from the potential of technologies such as artificial intelligence and edge computing for business success and competitive advantage.

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Combining Vision Technology and Collaborative Robots for Safer Work Environments

Safety is paramount with collaborative robots and they can be made safer with machine vision and artificial intelligence technology.

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Is the Pulp and Paper Industry Ready for Machine Learning?

Few industries have seen more transformation over the past decade than that of the pulp and paper industry. Gone forever is the ability of the business to rely heavily on staples such as newsprint and glossy magazine paper. Use of electronic devices and media have reduced considerably even the need for paper in the office environment.

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The Internet of Things in Manufacturing: What are the Key Applications?

Across the UK and around the world, both technology experts and the media have focused a great deal of attention on the Internet of Things (IoT). Some marvel at its ability to make the lives of consumers easier. Others worry that an increasingly digitally automised world will no longer need as many jobs in manufacturing and other sectors. 

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Robotics and Al in the Manufacturing Environment

Smart Manufacturing: The Autonomous Future of Industry

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Three Technologies Redefining Services in Manufacturing

Manufacturing is in transition. Given the current geopolitical events surrounding the UK economy – it’s an uncertain time, not least within the UK manufacturing sector which is under immense pressure, having recently fallen in the global ranks when it comes to total output.

Beyond the need to adapt to the changing economic climate, there is also a growing demand to keep pace with the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) which is transforming the sector, as well as adapting to ever changing customer demands. Within this changing landscape, manufacturers are up against it to meet and exceed these expectations.

To succeed, manufacturers are increasingly focused on enabling their service teams to drive increased productivity and capabilities to deliver a differentiated customer experience. Our research found that manufacturing firms are pulling on the three technological areas of Mobile, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) to maximise their service offering:

Mobile: the manufacturing ‘app economy’

The app economy has been talked about since applications were initially launched in 2008. Now the industry is worth upwards of £8.8bn in the UK. While the concept is by no means new, it has become an integral part of our day-to-day lives, both working and social. Hence why manufacturers must ensure they have adapted their business cultures to embrace a mobile-first approach that industries such as retail and entertainment have adopted for several years now.

This shift underpins a change in the times. Mobile apps in the workplace are no longer a luxury, they are a necessity. Employees need access to comprehensive data, that is up-to-date and easily visible. It is essential that service teams have access to high quality mobile customer service apps that provide the insight they need, in real-time. The use of applications ultimately makes it easier and quicker for technicians to retrieve their work schedules, log activity or product information in real time, which can make a big difference to the quality of service offered. Today, it’s not acceptable for a technician to turn up on site without access to the relevant data or product information, especially when face-to-face with customers.

AI: proactive, predictive service

AI is one of the most talked about and transformational technologies disrupting multiple industries. From case classification and intelligent routing to forecasting resolution time and service capacity, it can bring game-changing opportunities for the manufacturing sector and its service models.

More than 53% of companies are using predictive analytics. By pulling on AI, manufacturers are able to offer a proactive, not reactive, service. The technology can anticipate faults before they even happen, flag issues to customer service teams or agents and resolve the issue before it evolves. For example, Salesforce’s Einstein AI layer can analyse an impending technical fault and compares it with previous work orders. The insight is used to recommend tools, parts and techniques to solve the problem based on past experiences.

These steps are being replicated across the industry. Once a customer experiences this level of predictive service, they will no longer accept anything less, emphasising the importance of keeping pace.

IoT: helping manufacturers address issues before they arise

In the UK, 68% of manufacturers expect companies to start providing internet-connected products and services by 2020, according to our State of Service report. The expectation is there, but manufacturers are moving with caution. Understandably so given the current macro-environment.

Yet, McKinsey predicts the IoT market to be worth upwards of $517bn by 2020, with industries such as manufacturing, transportation and utilities set to spend $40bn on IoT platforms in that period. This is a clear indication of the steady, but growing, influence IoT is having on manufacturers and their service offering.

IoT brings operational efficiency. For example, imagine your washing machine breaks down, connected sensors can determine where the issue is occurring and trigger a request to an engineer. In a similar fashion to AI, it can initiate a request to an engineer on their mobile device to respond to the repair or assign someone else to the job. It's about taking a preventative maintenance approach instead of putting the manufacturer or the customer at an expense to deal with unexpected repairs or replacements.

Modern technologies, like AI and IoT, are introducing new services to customers with ease and speed that wasn’t possible before. There is a direct correlation between the adoption of these technologies and customer expectations, and customers will no longer accept anything less.

Time is now

Connected technologies bring the service offering together. With pressure mounting and digital disruption a constant challenge (and opportunity) manufacturers must invest in their service offering to bring a personalised experience to meet customer expectations.

It's certainly a time of significant pressure and economic challenges. Industry boundaries are being redefined. For those who fail to adopt such models risk falling behind, and ultimately being disrupted. However, manufacturers who recognise these opportunities and adapt accordingly to change, will thrive in this new era.

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