For those outside the industry, it often seems like not much ever changes with manufacturing. Raw goods go in, and finished goods come out. But, for those of us involved in the day-to-day aspects of the industry, we see how new technologies are having an impact on today’s processes.
With the coming of the new year, there is always anticipation and excitement about what changes may take place in the next 12 months. Surveys are completed regarding industry trends and how manufacturers will be working over the coming year. A new report by Citrix examined technology trends in manufacturing and found that most manufacturers are embracing some new technologies but the tried and true methods are still the mainstays of their business.
In 2016, the industry is predicted to embrace next generation materials for 3D printing and utilizing this process to design and manufacture more personalized products. Aluminum costs are dropping and the material is finding new applications in many industries (the Ford F-150, for example). Robots and high-tech manufacturing are also hot topics as connectivity and technology join forces with traditional methods.
Although the experts often point out the newest technologies as coming trends, we see the trends in combining the traditional manufacturing processes with the technology to improve their function. For instance, computer and software driven water jet cutting equipment handle both metal and non-metal materials and eliminates the secondary operations to obtain smooth, finished edges while improving on accuracy and efficiency.
While predicting the future is commonplace at this time of year, many of those predictions are not yet viable in today’s manufacturing environments to improve upon the processes currently in use. The technologies that do make it are the ones that allow us to improve processes and reduce costs for our customers. At Red River, those are the trends we will be embracing.