Far from being just another buzzword, digital disruption is a very real concern for every single sector. As we stand on the cusp of Industry 4.0, its consequences have never been more profound.
So, what does digital disruption entail? Gartner defines digital disruption broadly as, “an effect that changes the fundamental expectations and behaviors in a culture, market, industry or process that is caused by, or expressed through, digital capabilities, channels or assets.” In short, it is the fundamental altering of a given sector by virtue of digital techniques and technologies.
Manufacturing has been no stranger to digital innovations, many of which have caused individual digital disruptions as technology has permeated the sector for over 50 years. While the first numerically controlled machines may have lacked interfaces familiar to us now, they still relied on digital technology. As technology has matured, more and more of the manufacturing process has become digitized, and ever-more connected. Each innovation has brought incremental productivity and efficiency improvements to manufacturing, forcing traditionalists to embrace new technologies, techniques and skills.
The scale of change for digital technology is far greater than it used to be. Manufacturing is entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution—a near-simultaneous emergence of several world-shaking technologies at once: the industrial internet of things (IIoT), augmented reality (AR), and cloud technology. Each would cause a digital disruption on its own, so together creates a full-scale revolution.
For example, organizations are using IoT-enabled remote machine monitoring, manufacturers to achieve staggering levels of machine uptime as predictive analytics alert technicians to potential faults, so they can reduce unplanned downtime. Remote monitoring provides accessible, real-time insights to end-user customers that optimizes value and increases satisfaction rates.
Augmented reality provides another means for manufacturers to use technology to surge ahead of competitors through a revolutionized workforce. AR glasses overlay precise 2D and 3D guidance onto the machinery in front of them, so that workers can easily learn complex new processes and procedures while on the floor. AR helps to train workers on new skills and take their performance to the next level without having to slow down production.
There is incremental benefit outside of OEE and productivity gains that organizations can discover by leveraging the IoT and AR technologies. Check out PTC’s Digital Manufacturing Solutions to learn how to stay ahead of the digital disruption in manufacturing and unlock a business transformation.
Analysts predict that in five to ten years the way manufacturing is conducted will be unrecognizable. As manufacturers become more familiar with Industry 4.0 technology, they will begin to wield it in new and innovative ways, creating fundamental structural changes. The biggest changes will be rooted in the seamless connection of every stage of the production process.
Top floor to shop floor connectivity has always been a problem, but the combination of the industrial internet of things, augmented reality, and the cloud will connect every facet, in every direction.
Such a structural change will produce new processes and procedures, along with new business models, and even products. Manufacturing is just beginning to peek over the horizon. All we really know for now is that those that adopt early will be best placed to navigate the revolution.
Learn how to get ahead of digital disruption with what LNS Research reports are Smart Connected Assets, driving the change for manufacturing.
Leah Gourley is a Digital Content Marketing Specialist based out of PTC's Boston office. She enjoys creating and sharing content surrounding the latest technologies that are transforming industries, including augmented reality and the industrial internet of things.