The evolution of robotics in manufacturing is taking place at an exponential pace. The transformation will be marked by improved sensory capabilities and the ability to make complex decisions swiftly. These advancements will not only make robotic machines faster, it will also result in them being more precise than their human counterparts.
Less and less often, the field of robotics is confined to programmed tasks. The way is being paved for entirely new business processes, for example fast, efficient custom product configurations based on individual customer desires.
Manufacturers are already witnessing the cost effectiveness of automation driven by artificial intelligence (AI). Robotic equipment can excel in tasks that require microscopic dexterity and precision – for example kidney, gallbladder and prostate surgery – surpassing human capabilities. While current robots operate based on the confines of programming, there are visionaries in the industry that foresee a future where these machines will interact with and take instructions from humans. In manufacturing, that will open doors to unprecedented collaboration and flexibility on the factory floor.
Your journey to modeling the future starts here.
Perception and Interaction in Manufacturing
The future of AI in manufacturing is intertwined with the ability of a machine to perceive its surrounding environment and interact seamlessly and safely with humans. Imagine a robot equipped with sensors that enable it to detect the presence of other machines or people nearby, thus enabling it to avoid collisions. This level of perception, akin to self-driving vehicles, holds promise for factories that employ self-driving conveyors and forklifts. Machine vision and motion sensors will empower robotic equipment to halt tasks when they detect the presence of potential obstructions, resulting in a safer and more efficient work environment.
More Collaborative Robots – “Cobots”
Collaborative robots, or “cobots,” represent a growing trend in the manufacturing landscape. Within constraints, these robots can work side by side with humans, enhancing productivity and efficiency. AI plays a crucial role in equipping cobots to compute and execute instructions from humans using a common programmed language. Experts in the industry anticipate that this interaction will evolve into plain speech over time, making collaboration more intuitive, accessible and functional.
Supply Chain Revolution
In the short term, a profound impact from AI can be felt in the supply chain. Machines, powered by algorithms and data sensors, can collect information and detect patterns of demand for products across various parameters – time, geography, macroeconomic cycles, seasonal variations, and more. The ability to project market demand empowers manufacturers when sourcing raw materials, managing labor, optimizing financing, and even predicting when equipment maintenance should be performed.
Making Things More Cost-Effectively
Looking ahead, AI will play a pivotal role in helping manufacturers make higher quality products more cost-effectively. While current applications focus on optimizing the operational aspects of processes, there is still room for further development. The future offers manufacturers the tantalizing possibility of being able to use machine learning to predict changes in human preferences and respond to evolving demands for products.
The future of AI in manufacturing is punctuated with possibilities. Robotics will lead the charge in transforming traditional processes. As AI continues to evolve, manufacturers can anticipate a paradigm shift in the ways they operate, collaborate and respond to market and supply chain dynamics. The journey has just begun, and the potential for innovation and efficiency in manufacturing through AI is practically boundless.
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