Technology continues to have a major impact on manufacturing and 2020 will be another year of evolution, innovation and change in the industry. Here are some of the hottest tech trends and topics to keep an eye on in the coming year.
The Rise of Cobots
Few industries have been impacted by robotics and automation as much as manufacturing and investments in robotics will not slow down in 2020. According to the Robotic Industries Association, robot orders were up 5% in the last quarter of 2019 at a value of $1.3 billion.
2020 will see an increase in collaborative robots or “cobots” in which the machine works side-by-side with a skilled human operator. As technology advances, cobots are becoming more attainable for small and medium-sized manufacturers which will make them more prevalent and will make those manufacturers more efficient. This year will also see a rise in plug-and-play robots which will ease the struggle of trying to hire engineers or line operators who are skilled enough to program a cobot.
3D Printing Will Continue to Improve
In 2013, the 3D printing industry was valued at $3 billion. In 2017 it was worth $7 billion. By 2025 it is expected to be a $20 billion industry, with much of that growth coming from the manufacturing sector.
3D printing innovations are often a direct result of the demands of manufacturers. Companies need their 3D technology to do more, as currently there are no “super printers” on the market who can do all things. For example, no such printer exists that can print metal and plastic parts together, mostly due to temperature differentials. In 2020, watch for more technologies to come to market that make 3D printing a much more seamless process, expanding its uses in major sectors like automotive and medical device manufacturing.
Working With Wearables
Wearable technology is about more than just tracking fitness levels. Manufacturers are looking to wearable technology to track worker fatigue on the floor, especially in high-stress environments or extreme temperature environments. The machines manufacturing employees work with alert them when they are overheating or malfunctioning, and many manufacturing leaders want the same for employees. They are turning to wearable technology to alert supervisors when an employee’s safety or health could be at risk on the floor.
There are some serious privacy issues associated with wearable technology, but employers are exploring ways to use them in a way that protects worker privacy while also looking after productivity and safety on the line.
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While no one can be certain exactly how technology will continue to impact the manufacturing industry, one thing is clear. It is difficult to find skilled talent who are able to keep pace with change. That’s where The Reserves Network can help.
If you are looking to access more applicants for your manufacturing business, improve the quality of your hires and remained fully staffed, contact our expert recruiters today.