In the last several years, a lot has changed for manufacturers. Shifting economic alignments, changing customer expectations, and new (and cheaper) technology beg a new look at old assumptions and a view to new tipping points of transformation on the horizon.
The new environment - what we call Next Manufacturing - ushers in new decisions on where and how to manufacture products, as well as who will be performing the work. Do you prioritize technology investments in sensors and big data to create a digital backbone, invest in the powers of 3D printing, or focus on automation and agility through robotics? Do you nurture innovation or look to partners to bring in specialized talent?
To explore the implications of the momentous changes underway, PwC has launched an ongoing series of reports tracking the key issues and potential disruptions facing manufacturers - from contract job shops to large diversified multinationals - as they reinvent themselves.
Advanced manufacturing technology, such as robotics and the Internet of Things is ushering in cost savings and new revenue streams. But it’s also fundamentally changing America’s traditional factory workers—and their toolboxes—in fundamental and lasting ways.
Digital technologies are revolutionizing how America’s factory floors run, changing decades-old business models, and adding smarts to products. Many threads bind the digital fabric: the Internet of Things (IoT) and everything it connects including autonomous robotics, mobile, cloud, big data analytics, 3D printing, sensor technology, and virtual and augmented reality, to name a few.
Has 3D printing (3DP) finally come of age? It’s become clear that the technology, also known as additive manufacturing, is crossing from a period of hype and experimentation into one of rapid maturation.
Manufacturers are finding innovative ways to adopt virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) on a number of fronts—from product development, to training, to maintenance and repair, to worker safety. A PwC survey found, about one in three are already being adopted—or will be in the next three years.
Manufacturers, big and small, are finding ways to weave the Internet of Things throughout their operations and supply chains--and to speed up development of new products. On the factory floor, they're harnessing data to predict equipment malfunctions before they happen. And, beyond the plant, they're building intelligence into their products with sensors and communications, enabling new machine-to-human connections.
Robotics technology is on the verge of revolutionizing America’s factory floor. A new generation of more affordable and more capable robots is entering the mainstream with companies of all sizes and stripes increasingly embracing the technology. Meanwhile, a new era of robot-human collaboration ushers in fresh challenges for manufacturers.
3D printing (3DP) is coming of age and beginning to disrupt manufacturing--from design and development to production.
From the printing of jet engine parts to soccer cleats, the technology is being hailed as a revolution in how more and more products will be developed, produced…and even sold.