How Digital Transformation is reshaping Industrial Machinery Manufacturing
Key trends in the Industrial Machinery industry
In the Industrial Machinery landscape, we can see several transformational trends that mark a significant turning point in machinery evolution.
- Consumer-drivencustomization. There is a marked shift toward personalized products and customized services, and machinery companies are challenged to design and build machines that support expanding product mixes and more rapid and frequent changeovers. Because consumer preference changes are more immediate, there is added pressure to innovate quickly and compress delivery schedules.
- Smart machines. Industrial component suppliers are quickly embracing IoT-enabled technology in their products, and machinery manufacturers are on a steep learning curve to take advantage of petabytes of data that can be generated from today’s machinery. This has rapidly changed the landscape for electrical and controls automation engineers, from huge increases in i/o channels, new communication protocols like 5G, to building intelligent programming that provides more interactive and granular control of all those devices.
- Hyper-automation. At the same time, there are insights to be gained from so much information that can be handled by the automation of production processes. The trend of hyper-automation requires vast amounts of data and cloud-based analytics to accelerate learning about machine behavior and performance to automate machine functions. Hyperautomation is also enabled by low-code tools that can mine data analytics for many business processes – manufacturing optimization, as well as engineering reliability and cost reductions.
- Global competition always has existed, but now the competition comes from more flexible, agile startup companies that start from the basis of machine learning and are not encumbered by existing business processes and legacy customer engagements. In many cases, the aging workforce in many parts of the world has forced employers to replace experience with machine learning, and many machinery companies may not survive the transition.
What are the pressures on Industrial Machinery manufacturers
There are some of the other trends that are impacting specifically the Machinery industry in more detail.
- Massive complexity. Machinery Design trends can be summed up in one word, Complexity. A key part of that is coming from the Industry 4.0 initiative. Essentially, this means that companies need to manufacture with decentralized, autonomous machines that communicate with one another and the products they are manufacturing, so they can optimize production.
- Competitive pressures. Another key trend is that in this increasingly global manufacturing environment, threats from across the world, or even a neighboring country are an everyday occurrence. The European Machinery organization CECIMO points out that in just a few years, 80% of manufacturers will have global operations, vs. just 50% today. And, just looking at the latest numbers you can see the global reach of machine tool producers.
- Customized products. Coupled with these is the mounting end-customer demand for customized products, which drives demand for customized machines. From a singular unique machine selector to the design and manufacture of personalized perfume bottles, this customization adds up to more complexity.
- Regulatory pressures. And finally, regulatory pressures are driving the future of machinery design as well. Whether it is governmental or environmental, or just the aspect of customer opinion on the development of “green” machines, these requirements are not going away, and are having a huge impact on how machines are developed.
The 3 factors of competitive advantage in Industrial Machinery
The true leaders in Industrial Machinery, the disrupters in this industry, are embracing 3 key concepts in order to turn complexity into a competitive advantage.
- The most comprehensive Digital Twin - With the insights and data from a comprehensive Digital Twin, companies can very accurately simulate the performance of their machines allowing them to build more flexible and connected machines to handle a wider range of products, enabling quick responses as consumer preferences change. Any part of the real product or production environment that isn’t represented in the digital twin can’t be simulated, introducing risk into your business.
- Modern, adaptable, personalized solutions – You must be able to provide people across your organization with tools that are easy to use and able to pull information from many places and present that information to them in a way that is consumable for the task they are trying to complete. Making data available isn’t helpful if it’s presented in a confusing or complex way. It must be personalized to the person and their task.
- A flexible open ecosystem – Information technology plays a critical role in the pursuit of complexity as a competitive advantage. And no one tool or vendor can do it all. If the tools you choose don’t work well together, your pursuit will fall well short of your goal.
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