Digital manufacturing is an integrated, computer-based approach to manufacturing that spans the entire product life cycle. By using digital technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), manufacturers can connect disparate systems and create business value. Yet the exchange of information between digital design and physical manufacturing can also disrupt established ways of doing business.

In Three Intelligent Manufacturing IoT Trends, Colin Masson identifies several risks and rewards that manufacturers need to understand. Masson, the Director of Manufacturing Industry Solutions for the Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group, predicts that connected IoT infrastructures will boost productivity. He also sees changing roles for manufacturers and new business opportunities.

Connected IoT Infrastructures

Manufacturers who use connected  IoT infrastructure can gain greater control over product lifecycle management (PLM). “By gaining visibility into every step of their manufacturing process,” he says, companies can “fine-tune production cycles, anticipate customer needs, optimize energy distribution, and more.” Part of this “more” is the ability to identify and solve problems pre-emptively to avoid downtime.

Changing Manufacturer Roles

Predictive analytics can also help manufacturers to identify failures and errors before materials are wasted or production capacity is consumed. Through open and secure standards like OPC UA, manufacturers can stream real-time data directly to the cloud. Then, by including the customer in the production process, a manufacturer can add greater value as a project partner.

New Business Opportunities

Finally, Microsoft’s Masson predicts that digital manufacturing will create new business opportunities. For example, IoT data can provide insights that inform a customer’s plans for new products. IoT-enabled manufacturers that create digital solutions can also become software companies with an additional revenue stream.

Digital Manufacturing: Change and Continuity

Digital manufacturing and the Internet of Things (IoT) will play important roles in the factories of the future. Yet some of the benefits they promise to provide are available today. For example, by partnering with SHINE for custom cable assemblies, wire harnesses, or electro-mechanical assemblies, you can get design assistance. We also keep you informed about the status of your projects.

To learn more about our capabilities, contact SHINE on-line anytime.