Technology has become such an integral part of our lives that we sometimes don’t even realize how much improvement it has brought on. While we may be quick to adopt new technology for our personal lives, businesses have also been quick to adopt new technology in order to improve the way products are manufactured – and that in turn favors us as a consumer. Because of that connection, whether you work in manufacturing or simply like to know more about how products you use every day are made, it’s important for you to know how technology has changed the way of things.
1. Meeting Labor Needs
Coming up with a new product and going through the designing process is creative and fun work. That said, once it’s up for production, the job becomes much more repetitive and sometimes even dull. There are different types of technology used to combat this issue, but erector robots have been especially successful at it. Not only will they do the same task over and over again, but they can also work in extremely tight spaces which saves on valuable space in the factory. These machines work to weld and bolt together different parts of a product, which in turn frees up the human workers to do other tasks that are more fitting for their skillset. In a way, because the workers will be more satisfied doing the tasks that require more thinking and refined skills, using technology in the production process can actually help with improved retention and decreased turnover.
2. Aesthetic Advancements
It’s not a secret that the way a product looks has a lot to do with how successful it is on the market. However, you might not have guessed that the way it’s packaged is important as well. Using tech to help package a product can improve its marketability and extend its shelf life. For example, using these machines called form fill sealers to vacuum-pack food is especially helpful because it provides the food with a longer shelf life without sacrificing quality. On the other hand, using technology to print directly onto a product’s packaging can also be very helpful in giving customers more information about the product they’re buying. By printing codes or QR codes on the packaging, for example, manufacturers can direct consumers to websites that provide more information about the product – like ingredients, nutritional content, and even customer reviews. Apart from that, things like banding machines help reduce the chances of damage to the product during shipping.
3. Lower Costs
The biggest reason why technology has been so valuable when it comes to manufacturing is that basically, any new technique used will lower the cost of production. For starters, the cost of production is lowered when using adequate tech simply because you don’t need as many people working on a product. Whether you use a laser cutter or 3D printing, there’s no doubt how valuable this can be for bigger companies and what it does for the economy as a whole. In fact, some economists even believe that this is one of the reasons why the recession wasn’t as bad in terms of manufacturing jobs. With technology doing most of the hard and repetitive labor, companies were able to keep their costs low while still expanding their production. More than that, though, because there isn’t as much downtime – machines especially industry-grade ones don’t really need breaks – production is able to move at a much faster pace, which is great for companies that are always in competition with one another.
4. Greater Efficiency
In the past, if a company wanted to change something about their product, it would mean halting production and making changes to the blueprints. However, with technology becoming more and more integrated into the manufacturing process, companies can make product changes on the fly. Of course, efficiency is measured by more than just speed – it’s also about maintaining consistent quality. By using sensors and other forms of technology, manufacturers are now able to detect tiny defects in products that could potentially cause a problem down the line. A great example of this is printed circuit boards (PCBs). It’s a known fact that sometimes, you would want to change something about the PCB or its design after it’s been approved. Using 3D printing and other similar technologies isn’t a huge problem anymore. In fact, with the help of computers and software, manufacturers can now test products before they even go into production. This not only helps speed up the process but also helps to identify any potential problems that might occur during the initial manufacturing stage.
Something that is often overlooked when it comes to technology and manufacturing is the safety of both the employees and the product. Thankfully, with the help of tech, this isn’t as much of a problem as it used to be. For example, using lasers in manufacturing doesn’t just improve accuracy – it also makes the whole process a lot safer. By eliminating the amount of dust in the air – especially when it comes to metal cutting and welding – you greatly reduce the chances of an accident occurring. Not only that, but with things like robots and 3D printing, people don’t need to use heavy machinery or handle dangerous chemicals in order to get their products made. This can help prevent any potential injuries, and it also makes companies more attractive to prospective employees. Of course, safety is also improved by the sheer fact that, while working in this industry is never an easy job, it is made a whole lot easier with the help of new technology – and when the workers are less tired and stressed, the chances of an accident happening are greatly reduced.
When it comes to manufacturing, there’s always the challenge of staying innovative and competitive. To do this, sometimes you need custom products that are only designed for specific clients or uses. However, without a doubt, one of the most significant changes in terms of customization is the ability to personalize products. With the help of technology, companies can now make small changes to a product and have it printed – or even just produce it on-demand. This not only helps with inventory but also means that companies don’t need to spend as much money on research and development. In fact, this type of customization is so popular that it has even given rise to the “maker” movement, where people are able to create their own products using various technologies.
Technology has brought about a whole range of improvements when it comes to manufacturing, and while some are more obvious than others, they all play an important role in the way that products are manufactured. At the end of the day, this industry simply would not be what it is without technological innovations – and it all shows when the end product reaches the customer at a much more affordable price point.