1 April 2022
AI : The future of Manufacturing
As the buzzword, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is innervating all the spheres of the economy, the Manufacturing Industry remains no exception. AI in manufacturing involves the usage of technology for the automation of complex tasks and leveraging the data generated to improve the manufacturing supply chain. Moreover, manufacturers can utilize the power of AI to increase efficiency, improve quality, bring consistency, and overall scale up their manufacturing units.
AI offers numerous opportunities to improve the process of manufacturing.
- Intelligent Automation : The manufacturing/industrial robots are the self-optimizing machines. They are utilized for the automation of repetitive tasks. These will bring in consistency and reduce the risk of human errors. It will free up the human resource to focus on the other significant areas.
- Saves Capital Investment : There is no manufacturer who doesn’t aim at reducing the costs without compromising with the overall quality. AI comes to the rescue by becoming a one-time investment option. Thus, it can save the industry a lot of money, improving the overall efficiency.
- Quality Assurance : AI tools are intelligent enough to detect the defects and facilitate their rectification. Moreover, they can gauge the early signs of deteriorating performance of the equipment and machines. Moreover, they can track the well-being of the workers, thus tackling more than 3,000 major injuries and nine fatalities occurring each year. Overall, these tools reduce the overall risk of failure in the manufacturing process.
- Data Analytics : AI tools can be used for processing and interpreting humongous volumes of data generated. The algorithms and processes can draw patterns from the data analysis. This one can be used to understand customer behavior and detect faults in the supply chain. AI provides the manufacturers with the big picture by keeping an eye on the operations across different geographical locations in real time.
- Inventory Planning : Machine learning solutions can predict the raw material requirement, energy consumption etc. It can help to form dark factories which work without the need of any human labor. AI-powered tools improve productivity and provide quality yield. Armed with the data, manufacturing units can optimize the inventory control and take strategic decisions.
- Improves Decision Making : Manufacturing Industry is one of the highest risk-involving sectors. However, data-driven technologies allow manufacturers to reach insights sooner and make quick decisions. They help to unearth fresh ways which can intelligently forecast the unforeseen changes. This knowledge becomes crucial for industrial survival and ensures a thriving future.
The impact of AI in manufacturing is enormous. This can be understood by the example of a French food manufacturer called the Danone Group. It used AI to improve its accuracy by predictive management. As a result, following outcomes were observed :
- 20% decrease in forecasting errors
- 30% decrease in lost sales
- 50% reduction in planners’ workload
AI bestows a manufacturing company a massive advantage by formulating the predictions of market demands by identifying patterns that link parameters like the geographical location, macroeconomic elements etc.
The Flip Side :
While AI appears to be a game-changer, there are a bunch of hurdles in the implementation of AI. Initial cost of acquiring AI tools is quite high, especially for small units. It requires advanced skill sets, excellent scientists and e-infrastructure readiness. The continuously evolving AI tools require sophisticated programming. AI is highly vulnerable to cyberattacks, even a small data breach can disrupt the whole production line. Moreover, the long standing reliance on experience makes it difficult to replace highly skilled operators.
However, AI is here to stay. It is destined to take over the manufacturing ecosystem by unfolding the novel workflows. Though in the stage of infancy, AI can be moulded to suit the needs of the manufacturing industry. The sooner the business learns to adapt to it, the better the chances of AI becoming the Game Changer for the manufacturing sector.