For years there has been a lot of buzz around intelligent computer systems and their capability to replace human-operated jobs. What does this look like in manufacturing and other industrial settings?
We are not talking about robots – like the one’s we see in Hollywood blockbusters – running factories and replacing humans. The fact is, the amount of data that we are processing in manufacturing is higher than ever, with faster production rates than ever – while at the same time, the total number of employees has decreased in manufacturing… this isn’t about loss of jobs. Humans simply can’t keep pace with the data. We need a system to triage the information and respond automatically (or if needed, escalate to humans) when there is a fault. Artificial Intelligence makes this possible.
Artificial Intelligence is already being used by manufacturers who deploy “Smart Manufacturing” technologies including manufacturing operations management software. Systems and solutions utilize Artificial Intelligence to allow software to perform actions that previously required human analysis and calculation. This automation of manufacturing processes can be applied at nearly every stage of the product life cycle: design, production planning, production and distribution.
Decision complexity is a common issued faced by manufacturers throughout production. A system that not only collects incoming production data, but also analyzes that data in real-time alongside context and historical data can automate decision making. Artificial Intelligence can be used to look at manufacturing data from a holistic approach – looking for errors that might not be readily visible during the manufacturing process (i.e. general trends and possible causal/effects correlations). If the system can detect patterns and react accordingly equipment downtime, faults and wasted materials are decreased.
The bottom line? Artificial Intelligence should not be feared by manufacturers, but embraced as a tool to optimize operations and raise profitability.