No longer relegated to the “big guys,” every year the capabilities for automation expand and become more achievable in the average company’s digital journey. It’s inevitable that your industry will change, bringing higher standards for quality, cost, efficiency, and safety. It’s best to have a plan for where you want to fit into the future and how to get there.
As discussed in an Autodesk University blog, automation takes the form of software or hardware – from design automation and simulation software, robotic equipment and CNC machines, to new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and machine learning. Any time people are performing tasks that a system or machine will potentially do better, it makes good business sense to investigate automation to do that job. Following are some automation advances suggested in the AU blog article that your company might use now:
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- Robotic machines are coming down in price, getting easier to program and can cooperate with people on a job. Case studies of robotics on construction sites are becoming more common.
- Generative design can help generate solutions to design challenges, and machine learning helps designers evaluate optional solutions.
- Using simulation tools, designs can be tested and analyzed digitally, without the need for expensive and time-consuming prototypes.
- Big computing power in the cloud has become accessible to just about everyone, so resource-demanding simulations, machine learning and generative design no longer demand big capital investments.
- You can automate repetitive tasks with BIM 360 to improve cloud collaboration.
- BIM professionals and civil engineers can optimize using an automated perspective.
- You can customize and automate tasks in AutoCAD.
- The cloud gives you access to new services like Fusion 360 for manufacturing and Autodesk Construction Cloud for AEC.
As technology changes an industry, businesses need to adapt, and that includes their workforce. When leadership formulates a plan for the company’s technology journey, the people who will be involved need to learn the skills and workflows that will be needed. The blog article uses the term “upskilling” to describe the people portion of digital transformation. Beyond training on automation software and hardware, everyone in the company should receive regular training to stay up to date on the technology advances that will be part of that journey.
Whether your primary industry is AEC or manufacturing, whether you’re involved in design or fabrication, there are new advances in automation that could work for you. But don’t wait too long to consider how automation might fit your business model and the way you deliver value to your customers. In this tech-crazed environment, it doesn’t take long for innovations to cycle through the queue from standard to expected to dated to obsolete.
It could benefit your company greatly to partner with a company that’s familiar with implementing automation to help you narrow down your search, ask the right questions and chart your course.