Many technologies that we take for granted today were originally "invented" in science fiction. These include mobile phones, smart watches, tablet computers, holograms, electric submarines, antidepressants, radio, television, nuclear weapons, lasers, video conferencing, credit cards, wireless headphones, self-driving cars, unmanned aerial vehicles, escalators, radar, automatic doors, Tasers, virtual reality, space travel, individually targeted advertising, and even insect-derived foods.
A decade or so from now, you may find yourself traveling along an interstate in a caravan. Your automobile is separated by just a few inches from the vehicle in front of you and the one behind as you speed along at 150 miles per hour.
The fourth industrial revolution has begun and with it, comes changes to the way manufacturing work is done. New technology, such as collaborative robots, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and machine learning, aims to make manufacturing safer, more efficient and faster than ever before.
This article is not as good as it could be.
I spent many days researching the topic, finding sources, conducting interviews, and finally writing and organizing what I learned. I could have included extra information or contacted additional sources. I could have polished one section or an-other. But, at some point, the article needed to be done.
Factories of the future will feature advanced technology, such as additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, data analytics and digital twins. While many manufacturers are still ramping up their Industry 4.0 initiatives, several assembly plants are already at the forefront. They are embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution and reaping the benefits.
With wearable devices increasingly being used on the assembly line, it's definitely time to update the old expression that 'What you wear says a lot about you.' A more appropriate thing for manufacturers to now say about their assembly line workers is, 'What you wear tells us a lot about your productivity.'
For many years, pet food manufacturers have used machine vision software to verify the presence of unique characters, codes, colors and graphic shapes on packaging for dog and cat food. Today, however, these companies can complement this process by also verifying the presence of a dog or cat image on the packaging using deep learning vision software.
By now, we've all heard the hype: The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will fundamentally change manufacturing and offer a cornucopia of benefits, including increased efficiency, higher quality and more responsive supply chains.
Data analytics, augmented reality, generative design, artificial intelligence, cobots, additive manufacturing and other technologies are already helping manufacturers increase efficiency, reduce downtime, lower prices, differentiate themselves in the marketplace, and improve service, delivery and quality.