The Latest Trends Dominating Manufacturing

April 29, 2023
Photo by Kateryna Babaieva from Pexels

The manufacturing industry is booming in the United States – the market size is currently a staggering $7 trillion, while over 6,000 new manufacturing businesses launched in March 2023 alone, the U.S. Census Bureau reveals. When it comes to the latest trends in manufacturing, modernization and innovation are playing a key role. By embracing cutting-edge trends, new manufacturing startups are successfully entering the industry in the strongest position possible.

Decentralized manufacturing and 3D printing

Centralized manufacturing – which involves using a number of hubs and warehouses in various locations before transporting products across countries to reach the end consumer – is increasingly a thing of the past. Instead, decentralized manufacturing is much more efficient: it involves manufacturing as close to home as possible with the goal of minimizing warehouse expenses, speeding up delivery, and reaching ESG targets. And, 3D printing, in particular, is playing a key role here. 3D printing successfully creates products via a layering method. Not only is 3D printing cost-effective and highly-efficient as products are cut from raw materials, but they also allow for personalization. Small batches of personalized products can easily be designed, tested, and made in record time, and with no need to consider economies of scale. In fact, fablabs – or “fabrication laboratories” – are an example of decentralized manufacturing and 3D printing put to great use. For example, prefabricated building parts can be quickly produced in a fablab in close proximity to where the parts are needed for construction.

Automated packers

By embracing automation, new manufacturers are setting themselves up for long-term success. The benefits of automation are numerous, and include, better accuracy, improved productivity (robots don’t need breaks), and less expense. For example, autopackers generate customized packaging for a variety of products on-demand. These smart machines can measure and put together packaging for each individual order, as well as tape and label it. In addition to being highly-efficient, autopackers also slash volumetric shipping sizes, which in turn, minimizes delivery costs. Moreover, totally automated factories – also known as dark factories – are also increasingly commonplace. Dark factories can run efficiently to produce, pack, and ship orders without direct human intervention on site.

Digital twins

Digital twin technology is now a big trend in manufacturing. Most simply, digital twin technology can be used to simulate a physical or object or process. So, for example, manufacturers are using this innovative technology to simulate the entire supply chain from beginning to end. As a result, the supply chain can be optimized as needed, and made more efficient. In fact, it’s estimated around 70% of manufacturers are already using digital twins to perform simulations and evaluations. But, that’s not the only use for digital twins in manufacturing – they can also be used to simulate product dimensions, or even machinery in order to assess how it operates under various conditions, for example.

The manufacturing sector has never been stronger. By embracing trends like decentralized manufacturing, 3D printing, automation, and digital twins, new businesses are paving the way to long-term success.

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