Made in America: How New Manufacturing Technologies are Enabling Advanced Production in the U.S.

December 14, 2020



min read

Made in America: How New Manufacturing Technologies are Enabling Advanced Production in the U.S.

In modern data-driven operations, new technologies are finding their way to the shop floor with increasing frequency. Advances in data storage and computer processing power have resulted in new manufacturing use cases for many essential products. New industrial applications have emerged for cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, big data analytics, cyber-physical systems, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and a host of related technologies.

Innovative, flexible, and often more efficient even at a smaller scale, these technologies have allowed a host of new manufacturing firms and some existing players to start operations in the United States, despite the traditionally high cost of production for products made in America.

The New Manufacturing Technologies

Here are some of the new manufacturing technologies enabling advanced production in the U.S:

1. 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing (AM)

3D manufacturing is the process of generating parts by consecutive melting (or depositioning of layers) of material instead of removing the material like it is with conventional machining. AM allows total freedom in product design and levels of optimization which couldn’t be achieved with traditional manufacturing processes. With advancements in materials engineering, process developments and AI, these technologies will take over more applications in the industrial & manufacturing markets.

Other benefits include rapid printing, which turns product designs into reality for a fraction of the cost of past manufacturing technologies. It has swiftly grown in popularity due to its many applications and benefits, including rapid prototyping, waste reduction, design alternative exploration, repairs, and more flexible innovation. We have already seen commercial applications in the aviation industry, where companies were able to combine multiple parts made with traditional manufacturing methods, into a single, lightweight part made of metal AM, saving millions of dollars per plane.

2. Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is about having processing power and storing data so that it can be accessible to any person anywhere, anytime. This gives you and your team fast, cost-effective, and safe options for locating and controlling your company's information. Additionally, cloud computing gives you alternatives for outsourcing several data storage and data processes as well as software management functions, eventually saving your company both money and time.

Companies are using cloud computing to run parallel computational processes and to achieve faster and more accurate results.

3. Flexible Automation/Robotics

Flexible automation allows a company to utilize the advantages of traditional automation (reduction of tedious & repeatable labor, gain accuracy, quality and improve overall productivity) but in a changing environment. Traditional automation requires fixed environments and long set up times. The advancements in AI, sensors fusion and prediction capabilities enables utilization of hardware, machines & robots in fast changing manufacturing environments.  

The ultimate goal of your company is to maximize efficiency, thus maximizing profits. In order to attain that, automation has to be adopted to all or into some of the manufacturing processes. Automation through AI or robotics is made possible by the communication and interconnectivity that happens across your company once it's optimized with Industry 4.0 technologies.

4.  Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

AI and its subset machine learning refer to machines that use algorithms to process information and arrive at conclusions not automated by human developers. They describe what happened, the reason it happened, predict what is going to happen in the future, prescribe what can and ought to be done to avoid the bad things as well as improve the good things. AI seeks to make everyone and everything more intelligent as well as provide your manufacturing team with more in-depth insight to help heighten operational efficiency and manufacturing processes.

5. Data & Analytics

Since each function of the manufacturing process generates data and is monitored, there are tons of data to sift through. Notwithstanding, big data analytics systems are able to utilize AI technologies and machine learning to quickly process information and give decision-makers the data they need to make enhancements across a complete manufacturing operation. AI analytics and self learning methods enable systems to automatically improve and optimize processes based upon pre-defined goals or award functions. In many cases, refining the huge amount of data, Identifying trends and finding the right correlations and getting the right conclusions can only be done with the big-data analysis tools. This data allows better integration with smart systems and tools and allows the lessons of digital transformation to be brought to the shop floor, vastly increasing productivity and efficiency.

How Are The New Manufacturing Technologies Enabling Advanced Production in The U.S?

The new manufacturing technologies allow companies to create more advanced products in the U.S. They are used to leveraging advanced demand forecasting, operational efficiency, engage in predictive maintenance, break down data silos, offer workers boosts to virtual training and safety, and much more.

Replacing many human tasks with advanced tools of process & manufacturing intelligent automation, will enable your employees to do what we humans do best - create, innovate & resolve issues. The USA can strengthen the lead with product innovations and get more competitive in manufacturing for both local and global markets.

These Industry 4.0 technologies do more than trade information: they eradicate much of human involvement that goes with managing them.  Investing in these cutting-edge technologies has made it possible to add the “Made in America” tagline to products that would have previously been cost-prohibitive.

Alongside enhancing productivity, here are some other benefits you stand to reap from the new manufacturing technologies:

• Increased competitiveness

• Seamless introductions of new products from a digital design to digital manufacturing.

• Seamless traceability and record-keeping

• Increased profitability and revenue

• Manufacturing process optimization

The new digital technologies have opened up opportunities for your company to take steps towards sustainability, flexibility, and productivity. Industry 4.0 is also facilitating new methods for machines and humans to work together, empowering your business to attain greater insights, make better decisions, and minimize the risk of error. By comprehending and harnessing these technologies, you will be able to stay on the front-line of the new digital era.

Why wait? Contact us today at Launchpad and learn more about how innovative manufacturing techniques and technologies can help you reach your goals.

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