As 2018 begins, AI and AI robots are still taking up a large part of the interest in the technology world. It’s more than the technology industry looking for innovative developments. Manufacturing centers have started to realize how they too may benefit from AI.

Manufacturers can benefit from automating processes and machine learning. This would provide a huge productivity increase for manufacturers around the world.

Let’s take a look at the ways AI and machine learning can apply in a manufacturing setting. Then we’ll look at the hottest trends in 2018. But, first, we must understand why there is a need for smart machines.

Smart Machines: A Necessity

Smart machines have been upgrading in design since day one. New technology and computers are helping to build machines. These machines are smarter, and can now learn behaviors and reasoning.

Before a manufacturing company can think about having an AI robot, they must have a smart machine. A smart machine’s goal is to provide and collect valuable data needed for AI. The data collected then needs an analysis by a data analytics system.

The data provided by the data analytics system can then translate into instructions made for a smart machine to understand. The data set and instructions are necessary to have.

This helps build a foundation on which the smart machine will function. Without this rule set, the AI robot would be guessing.

Human and Robotic Workers

There’s been industry worry about AI robots replacing human workers. That our world would transform into one run by robotic workers and humans would be out of jobs. While not in the near future, robots could provide a great increase in job productivity.

Robots completing tasks prevents human workers from being stuck in monotonous manual tasks. It gives them the opportunity to focus on innovation. Instead of taking away jobs, there will be a shift in roles. There will be new opportunities and positions created while robots are doing the jobs no one wanted to do.

Innovations in robotics are allowing robots to follow repeatable processes that presented by a human. Using the foundational set of rules, humans will be able to speak to robots to instruct them with commands.

In a world of humans and AI robots working together, and smart machines providing actionable data, innovative manufacturing can take place. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest trends in smart manufacturing today.

Predicting Equipment Maintenance

In an industrial manufacturing setting, all equipment has scheduled maintenance. Machines may be perfect in performance, but the maintenance will still occur on that same schedule.

These maintenance schedules are wasting employee time and do not always provide accurate results.

Smart machines and AI robots are making it possible to check and diagnose industrial equipment problems without the use of a human. With a sensor installed, the device can monitor to identify areas of performance improvement and service. These sensors are accurate and can identify a problem area that a human may have missed.

Cobot Team

Another trend in smart manufacturing today implements the cobot model. The cobot model, designed for humans and AI robots, maximizes productivity and efficiency.

Traditionally, the use of robots is to focus on a single task and perform monotonous, tedious work. Today, robots don’t require a long time to reprogram and can perform more than one task, learning from simple demonstrations.

These robots are easy to train, low in price, don’t need programming staff, and provide flexible automation. With them, humans and robots can work together, on a variety of tasks, and get these tasks accomplished faster.

Quality Control

Another way smart machines are ruling manufacturing in 2018 is by providing quality control services. Companies that have slow feedback loops often struggle with productivity and product output.

A human doesn’t have the ability to provide quality control for all machines at one time. Smart machines can work with all industrial equipment, like the Tapflo, and provide quality control. They can identify defects or failures in the system, reasons why there is low productivity, and speed up slow feedback loops.

The detection of problems and defects is a huge time saver and prevents companies from suffering from expensive delays.

Demand-Drive Production

Lastly, the trend for analyzing consumer data and behavior can help manufacturing companies produce the correct amount of product. If a manufacturing company just guesses on consumer demands, they may overproduce or underproduce. Both situations can lead to lost revenue.

AI robots like Alexa and Google home analyze consumer behavior. They then provide this information to manufacturers. They are able to take this data and apply it to their manufacturing activities, resulting in less stagnant inventory and lost sales.

With more consumer data being collected on a daily basis, companies can make smarter decisions on their product output. The goal is to remove on-demand production and consistently provide the correct amount of production during the year.

No real operation exists today. There are hopes that supply chain companies will be able to automate businesses processes. These could include inventory management, order management, and procurement.

AI Robots Will Change the Future

AI robots and smart machines are changing the future for a variety of industries.

With the automation of tasks, a cohesive relationship can be built between AI robots and humans. While humans become more productive, manufacturing quality control becomes more accurate.

Quality control by machines reduces the risk of human error. It also allows industrial equipment to work harder, faster, and better.

Are you interested in finding a great industrial supply company? Read our article to get tips on how to find the best industrial supply company for your business.

3D rendering of the head of a female robot. The head is breaking apart. Black background.