Adaptive Manufacturing Technology and the Modern Factory

by

November 16, 2021

Today’s Manufacturers Are Predictive, Reactive, and Connected like Never Before. Are You Using Technology to Your Best Benefit?

Robotics and AI-Driven monitoring are a familiar sight in many factories. From RFID Chips, to automated assembly lines, the manufacturing industry has embraced the efficiencies that technology can bring. But now, many factories are linking together the power of this tech to create a truly adaptive manufacturing plant. These modern factories can react intelligently to market and process changes on the fly. How do they do it? Through the marriage of robotic automation with big data, cloud computing, the internet of things, and real-time data management.

Sound exciting? It is. And it is ushering a whole new way of thinking about manufacturing technology at your plant. But first, let’s talk about what Adaptive Manufacturing Technology means to today’s factories.

What Is Adaptive Manufacturing?

What is Adaptive Manufacturing? It’s a big question, with many answers. But let’s start by looking its most narrow definition.

At its root, adaptive manufacturing involves robots that respond to changing situations. For instance, say you’re manufacturing a blade for a jet engine. A standard manufacturing robot would simply stamp out the blade to within the pattern you’ve set. But an adaptive robot would test it for engineering specs and tolerances, too.

Adaptive manufacturing systems can react to order levels, supplier chain problems, customer input, or any other parameter you set. The possibilities are endless.

So what can Adaptive factory tech do for you? Let’s talk about some of the most common use cases.

What Benefits Can Adaptive Manufacturing Technology Bring to Your Operation?

Put simply, adaptive manufacturing tech is broad and varied, including sensors, customized programming, augmented reality glasses, and more. Augmented reality takes these tools, and knits them together to create proactive systems. Let’s take a look at how that plays out in the modern factory.

A Shop Floor that Anticipates Your Needs

Imagine machinery that alerts workers to parts that are starting to wear out, and where to find their replacements. Or what about a system that automatically calculates materials needed based on the orders coming in, and adjusts to demand? Perhaps factory tech could alert you when temperatures are starting to rise on equipment, and automatically perform remediation. This is just a sampling of what adaptive programs could do for your factory.

Robotic technology can do a task, and the critical thinking around it, too. Given the proper protocols, it can do far more than you think.

Supply Chain Integration that Breaks Down Silos

Too often, parts of your organization don’t have the proper channels to communicate with each other. Shipping doesn’t talk to receiving for instance, or sales doesn’t talk to production. With an adaptive factory, cloud-based monitoring systems can give you visibility to your entire pipeline. With this technology, you can coordinate shipping and production schedules with ease. You can also track products as they pass through certain gates in your factory, and on your delivery route.

This is especially helpful for manufacturers using cold-chain manufacturing for food or medicine supplies. The written reports you must generate for regulators are simply part of the process.

Real Time Responsiveness from Suppliers

Got a big order coming through? Wouldn’t it be nice if your suppliers could know as soon as you do? They can, if you’ve connected to them via your supplier portal. With the right information at hand, they can match their production to yours. This tech can improve your time to delivery significantly.

Customers Looped into Your Processes

Customer portals can be a great front door for the adaptive factory. Customers can work with you directly to place orders, negotiate prices or respond to surveys or questions. When the orders come in, the entire system will adjust itself around the request. Your adaptive system can set your schedules, order your parts, and plan shipping routines, completely proactively. An adaptive factory takes the friction out of the process, wherever it can. As a result, customers feel heard and orders get to them faster. That’s what customer service looks like in the future.

Enterprise Management that Moves the Needle

Perhaps the best part of an adaptive factory is the visibility it will give you to your enterprise. With this kind of cohesive picture of your operations, you can understand your business like never before. You’ll see the trends far earlier, and be able to make proactive decisions on hiring, scheduling, and more. An adaptive factory can also make recommendations, or potentially even do some of that work for you. The factory of the future can adjust for worldwide currencies, regional/local regulatory compliance, taxes, and more.

Discover what Adaptive Manufacturing Technology Can Do For You

Integris has the experts to help you harness the promise of adaptive manufacturing technology. We specialize in helping small and medium-sized factories create the best tech infrastructure for them. Check out our affordable, scalable offerings for the manufacturing sector. We have plenty of information that can help you do a deeper dive on the subject of Adaptive Manufacturing Technology, too. Check out our latest blogs about what manufacturing technology will look like in the future. Or, how Augmented Reality will change the way manufacturing is done.

Would you like to see what a comprehensive tech support plan could look like for your factory? Look no further than our IT Essentials Kit. It contains everything you need, from whitepapers, to assessments, and more! And if you’re unsure where your factory stands on matters of cybersecurity, try our new DIY 9-Point Cyber Resilience Checklist, just for manufacturers!

Susan Gosselin is a Solutions Writer for Integris. A career communicator and business journalist, she's written extensively on IT topics and trends for IT service providers like Iconic IT and ProCoders Ukraine, as well as business publications such as Technologyadvice.com, Datamation.com, The Lane Report and many others. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Keep reading

Luck, Security, and St. Patrick’s Day Facts You Need to Know

Luck, Security, and St. Patrick’s Day Facts You Need to Know

St. Patrick's Day is one of the most beloved traditions in America. And it's only getting more popular. In fact, according to a recent report from the National Retail Federation, 54 percent of Americans plan to celebrate the day, and expect to spend $43 each while...

Why We Love Valentine’s Day

Why We Love Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day Is a Day for Couples. But Have You Thought About Using the Day to Show a Little Love to Your Team? Here's Ways to Make the Day Fun at Work—for Everyone. In the middle ages, single women and men would draw names to choose a Valentine. They pinned the...