WHEN DIGITAL TWINS ARE DEPLOYED TO THEIR FULL POTENTIAL IN COMBINATION WITH AI AND 5G CONNECTIVITY , THEY CAN COMPLETELY TRANSFORM PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT .
The rapid rise in energy prices has sent costs spiralling for British manufacturers – with them already facing shipping delays and the plunge in the pound increasing import costs , the pressures on manufacturers have compounded .
Make UK found that 42 % of UK-based manufacturers have seen their electricity bills shoot up by 100 % in the last year and most manufacturers see this rise as ‘ business threatening ’. The impact of rising costs and fast-paced inflation has also hurt business confidence and production . The CBI / Accenture Industrial Trends Survey showed industrial output in the three months leading to September continued to fall , with a balance of – 4 %, with manufacturers expecting conditions to worsen throughout the year . Until now , the number of new orders had saved manufacturers from difficulty with prices being passed on to customers . But in an era of tightened purse strings , how long can this be sustained ?
Using technology to drive resilience
Make UK also found that over one-in-10 manufacturers are reducing their operating hours or avoiding production during peak periods entirely . The survey highlights that many are considering shutdowns should prices rise by over 50 %. Manufacturers are no stranger to market shocks , but the impact of a period that has lurched from crisis to crisis is a cause for concern . In response , manufacturers are exploring the use of more automation and digital technologies to deliver efficiencies and tackle the energy crisis head-on .
In this article , I ’ ll be discussing technology trends in the manufacturing sector including how technologies like digital twins , AI and even the metaverse , are helping the industry become more resilient .
Digital twins will change how we make things
Digital twin technologies work by creating a virtual replica of a product or entity – be that a supply chain , or a car . Fed with real-time data , they can predict and optimise production processes and improve equipment performance . For example , Mars , the global leader in confectionary , food and pet care products and services , used digital twins in its manufacturing operations to give a bird ’ s-eye view of the production lines and reduce instances of over-filling packages . The twin fed sensor data from manufacturing machinery into a predictive analytics model , which allowed factory line operators to monitor events in real-time and adjust the filling process .
Moreover , when digital twins are deployed to their full potential in combination with AI and 5G connectivity , they can completely transform product development . They facilitate dialogue between designers , clients , marketing , product managers and manufacturers so products can be designed , built and updated much closer to the customer . Design and manufacturing cycles shrink from years to weeks , and by default so do the associated energy costs .
Making more , using less with robotics
There are various benefits to deploying robotics in manufacturing , ranging from improving the speed and accuracy of delivery times to reducing waste and energy use across operations . They also work wonders for improving worker safety . Many businesses already report that automated systems can achieve improved output volumes , with very few accidents or reported damage .
Maddie Walker , Industry X lead at Accenture , UK
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