Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a great benefit to industries across the board, but its role in the manufacturing industry has grown exponentially in the past few years. From predictive machine maintenance to improved supply chain communication, read below for some ways that AI benefits manufacturing businesses.
Supply chain communication
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to manufacturing, and AI can help streamline communication throughout the supply chain. According to LiveMint’s report on supply chain modernization, companies who work with delivery partners can leverage AI to provide timely feedback and dynamic pricing to their customers. This communication doesn’t stop with delivery companies, either. With manufacturing companies often offshoring production to different parts of the globe, time is of the essence when it comes to stocking products and making them ready for delivery. Such communication is crucial in today’s health crisis, where companies with global operations are scrambling to consolidate tasks and remain in business.
Manufacturing businesses work around the clock, which is why reducing machine downtime is of the utmost importance. This is extremely helpful for electronic manufacturers who rely on machines to help build tiny, specified components such as chips and printed circuit boards (PCBs). Metal core PCB guidelines published by Altium outline how multiple layers of materials such as copper, iron, and aluminum need to be surrounded by epoxy resin to ensure structural integrity. From aerospace to military usage, these tiny products must be able to withstand extreme temperatures, moisture, and the like. As such, it’s imperative that the machines making these products are built to last. Predictive maintenance through AI helps keep production delays at a minimum while also ensuring that quality products are continuously being sent out.
In a world that’s increasingly focusing on environmental sustainability and green living, all eyes are on the manufacturing industry and their efforts to decrease waste. In our post on the ‘Benefits of Buying Refurbished Industrial Automation Equipment’ we wrote about the benefits of refurbished parts, but AI can help create this circularity on a larger scale. Czech automotive company ŠKODA has produced zero landfill waste since the start of this year, providing an example of eco-friendly manufacturing that businesses should follow. ŠKODA’s production facilities minimize waste from the outset, from using greener materials to recycling them when possible. AI helps kick start greener operations by guiding businesses to produce just enough material as needed, thereby predicting product demand and stocking their inventories accordingly.
Optimized design processes
AI doesn’t just help speed up the production process: it can help make better designs, too. Machine Design defines generative design as a way for AI to refine initial designs by checking for places where mass can be safely removed. After being fed an initial design and parameters, the AI crunches through various potential uses that the machine may go through. It then tests these solutions through numerous simulations, all leading to a refined design that takes into account factors such as fluid dynamics, thermal properties, and fabrication methods. Experts predict that generative design will change the manufacturing world as we know it, leading to truly innovative solutions.
Dozens of industries lean on manufacturing in one way or another, which is precisely why innovative manufacturing solutions can make a huge global impact. These four uses of AI in manufacturing hint at how this dynamic industry will continue to evolve.