What is ‘Smart Manufacturing’?
Our country is known for its culture of innovation. We are a country of innovators. Innovation in the manufacturing sector has given us a competitive edge in the global economy with revolutionary new products invented and made here. In the last few decades exciting new digital technologies have emerged that can connect devices and networks to make communication easier. These technologies don’t just simplify communication between humans, they can also be used to streamline complex manufacturing systems and processes by allowing devices, sensors, and controls to share information with one another. This integrated network of technologies, known as Smart Manufacturing, brings intelligence to the operation of manufacturing systems. As information becomes easier to obtain and share, U.S. manufacturers are able to leverage advances in information and communication technology to solve problems, maximize the talent of their workforce, and strengthen their competitiveness in global business.
Smart Manufacturing Technologies Help Manufacturers Maximize Energy Efficiency and Productivity
The integration of Smart Manufacturing technologies into manufacturing processes can serve multiple functions. They can:
- Provide a framework for control – Energy, productivity, and costs across factories and companies can be monitored and controlled in real-time. With easier access to this information, manufacturers can maximize talent and productivity by strategically deploying their workforce throughout factories.
- Predict failure – Think of the “change oil” light that monitors and illuminates a car’s dashboard before the oil actually needs to be changed – the same kind of alerts can be set up within manufacturing facilities to notify operators when it’s time to change a filter or a valve, preventing larger problems from occurring and reducing system down time.
- Streamline processes – Advanced modeling and simulation, along with new artificial intelligence capabilities can eliminate costly trial-and-error and actively correct problems in manufacturing processes.
All of these benefits of smart manufacturing technologies can help save money, conserve energy and resources, and keep U.S. manufacturing competitive in the global clean energy race. These technologies are within our reach and a public-private partnership to support applied research and development will provide a platform to invent and produce competitive products here in the U.S.