Six Manufacturing Trends to Watch in 2019

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by | Jan 24, 2019

From IoT to secure data networks to robots and drones, 2019 manufacturing industry trends are focused on technological growth. Here’s what the industry experts expect to flourish this year.

1. Increased Focus on Cybersecurity

In 2018, achieving compliance with DFARS Cyber/Information Security was a hot topic. Securing infrastructure and data to reduce risk, improve compliance with government contracts, and increase quality and customer satisfaction will continue to be a major investment for manufacturing in 2019. Along with the benefits of smart and connected systems comes the need for greater security and breach control. Deloitte Global estimates the cybersecurity market is poised to expand from $81B in 2016 to approximately $117B by 2021.

2. Workforce Training

Industry experts have described the quickly approaching retirement of baby boomers as the Silver TsunamiReports indicate the manufacturing sector could lose up to 40% of its skilled employees by 2024 (Industry Week, 2018). According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the manufacturing industry employs about 9% of the country’s workforce but has difficulty filling positions with qualified employees. The good news is efforts are underway to address the gap; for example, some states are looking at working with schools to prepare students to enter the manufacturing field. Look for this trend to strengthen in 2019.

In Rhode Island, Polaris MEP and Real Jobs Rhode Island offer Recruitment and Incumbent Worker Training Grants for companies that have immediate needs. Tell us about your specific needs and well be there to help.

3. Blockchain

Blockchain is still a mystery to many, but industry experts predict it will flourish in manufacturing in 2019. CB Information Services describes blockchain as technology that provides a way for “untrusted parties” to agree on a “common digital history.” Blockchain allows for increased transparency in every manufacturing area from suppliers to the shop floor. This in turn increases quality for managing, tracking, and reporting.

4. AI (Artificial Intelligence)

Autonomous production lines – increased production – capable of running multiple shifts are growing in the manufacturing industry. Forbes reports manufacturers estimate 47% of all products will be “smart” by 2020. PwC found that 20% of business executives surveyed (1000+) are focusing on AI in 2019. Priorities include: return on investment, workforce training, data, personalized AI, and aligning AI with IoT and analytics.

5. Robotics and Drones

Robotics Business Review notes investment in robotics systems is expected to total $115.7 in 2019—17% more than 2018. Worldwide Robotics reports robotics are in high demand in industrial applications, “driven by customer demands for product quality, delivery, and mass customization.” Manufacturers recognize that along with robotic systems comes the potential for needing a smaller human workforce. The goal is to develop integrated systems where human capital works with robotics to increase outputs and efficiency.

Drones are also in high demand. International Data Corporation reports “Organizations continue to explore a range of applications and use cases for drones, moving beyond aerial photography to drone-based deliveries, precision agriculture monitoring, and even time-sensitive medical deliveries.” Drone spending is anticipated to reach $12.3B in 2019 (Robotics  Business Review).

6. Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT grew rapidly in 2018 – with over 3 billion connected devices in use. Microsoft predicts there will be 36.13 billion connected IoT devices by 2021. An IQMS survey found 81% of manufacturers report real-time monitoring is currently improving their businesses. IoT—most succinctly defined by IoT For All as “taking all things in the world and connecting them to the Internet” benefits include real-time monitoring, which offers insight into machine performance and yields, product quality and challenges faced by manufacturers.

We’d like to hear from you. Whether you are taking part in some of these trends or need some direction, contact Polaris MEP today.

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