Increasing demand for smart devices and embedded intelligence is driving manufacturers in a variety of industries to invest in new production tools and technologies. Additive manufacturing, advanced sensors, augmented reality, cloud-based computing, collaborative robots and digital twins are just a few of the many trends transforming factory floors today.
The era of digital manufacturing, Industry 4.0 and smart factories is here. It promises to improve productivity, drive operating efficiencies and transform the way many types of products are mass-produced. Benefits include optimized efficiency and reduced assembly line errors.
Manufacturing today is leaner and greener than ever. Many engineers are focusing on lightweight materials and sustainable production initiatives. In addition, additive manufacturing is transforming how a wide variety of products are designed and assembled.
Manufacturers are pursuing a wide variety of “green” initiatives, such as energy-efficient lighting, landfill gas, recycling, solar panels and wind turbines. In fact, more than one-half of our 2014 State of the Profession respondents claim their plant has implemented green-related programs during the past 12 months. That’s a 3 percentage point increase over 2013 and 8 percentage points higher than 2012.
According to the 2014 ASSEMBLY State of the Profession study, a majority of assembly professionals are happy with their jobs today. Manufacturing engineers are slightly happier than design engineers and the happiest assemblers work in the transportation equipment sector. However, location, company size and other factors can also influence happiness.
"Happy Days Are Here Again” was a popular song back in the 1930s. Assemblers in many industries have been singing an updated version of the tune lately, because the new golden age of American manufacturing has begun.
In The Great Gatsby, the central character is captivated by a green navigational beacon off in the distance that gives him eternal hope. Although Jay Gatsby wasn’t thinking about assembly lines, manufacturing has a similar green light and assemblers are equally optimistic these days.
Green manufacturing activity has remained steady over the past 12 months, buoyed by the rebounding economy. Manufacturers are engaged in a wide variety of sustainable initiatives, such as recycling, landfill gas and solar panels.